Today’s advice comes from Timothy R. Clark, Ph.D., an international management consultant, former two-time CEO, Fulbright Scholar at Oxford University and author, via Desert News:“To tell you the truth, I don’t read many books on leadership. Most of them aren’t worth a pinch of snuff. My advice: Consume biographies. They are the best manuals on the subject. A good biography is a leadership tutorial because it presents issues in human context. It helps us understand principles and practices in real situations and under various conditions. Here’s a few examples from my own study, biographies that delivered crucial lessons at crucial times.”
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
“What I learned from this account was a focused and disciplined approach to goal-setting.”
Washington: The Indispensable Man by James Thomas Flexner
“I learned that Washington inspired an allegiance from his troops that literally held the continental army together… his greatest strength was his ability to wear power lightly, to resist the temptation to amass it for personal gain.”
Iaccoca: An Autobiography
“As much as it teaches us what to do and be, this biography charitably teaches us the opposite as well.”
Spencer W. Kimball by Edward L. Kimball and Andrew E. Kimball, Jr.
“I learned from this great spiritual leader the importance of earnest effort and complete honesty with self.”
The Life of Samuel Johnson by Thomas Babington Macaulay
“I learned that leadership often has more to do with emotional than raw intelligence… If you want to be a philosopher, you can be petulant. But if you want to be a leader, treat people with respect and give up your bad habits.”
General of the Army: George C. Marshall, Soldier and Statesman by Ed Cray
“Gen. Marshall is an American historical figure who deserves more study. Through a combination of skill, dedication and character, he built trust in every direction.”
Churchill: A Biography by Roy Jenkins
“Certainly Churchill’s life is full of lessons, but among them is the the importance of language. Churchill was an uncommonly gifted writer and orator. He was willing to pay the price of preparation in order to communicate clearly and compellingly.”
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