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Today's Challenge: One Book?

In case you’re new to this site, every Friday, I attempt to respond to a question or issue raised by a leader somewhere in the world. Today, I’ll respond to the question I’ve probably been asked more than any other over the last three decades. Today’s Challenge: If you could recommend just one book, what would you suggest?

First, I must confess, I don’t really like the question. It is a question fraught with challenge, ambiguity and assumption. Here’s why I say that, there is not one factor that determines the greatness of a book – there are at least two:

The content of the book – including the insights and the caliber of the writing;

The context in which you find yourself while reading the book.

So when I get the “one book” question, my response is often, “What topic or field of knowledge are you most interested in?” I would recommend one type of book if you’re interested in communications and another if you’re looking for spiritual direction.
It also matters where you are on the journey. If you’re a beginner in a field or have only a casual interest vs. a seasoned leader, different books would be appropriate – context matters.
So, you may be wondering, “Is he going to answer the question or not?” No, I’m not. For the reasons cited above, it would be impossible for me to give a good answer. I would rather share with you some of the books that have impacted me on my journey. Maybe, you’ll find a title or two to assist you. I’ll list these alphabetically. For additional titles, here’s the link to my top 20: Recommended Reading List.

You Are the Message by Roger Ailes

Leadership and Self-deception by The Arbinger Institute

Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud

The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker

Resonate by Nancey Duarte

Jump Start Your Brain by Doug Hall

The Power of Full Engagement by Loehr and Schwartz

Today Matters by John Maxwell

The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg

Margin by Richard Swenson

What books have had the greatest impact on your life and leadership?
If you have a question or issue you’d like me to address in a future installment of Today’s Challenge, send it to me. You can send it to this email: mark@greatleadersserve.org or direct message me on Twitter @LeadersServe.
The origin of questions/topics will remain anonymous.
I do have a lengthy backlog of topics, but I always welcome your questions. I’ll work to respond to all of them at some point in the future.
Thanks for joining the conversation![GLS_Shield]
 

Leave a comment



Terry Babij

8 years ago

Great question Mark! Starting with a great book will spark the want for more. The book that rang true or me and provided that uh-ha moment was The Customer Comes Second, by Hal Rosenbluth. Written in the early 90’s talking about Servant Leadership and the importance of employee engagement.
BTW heard you and Mitch Joel talk last weekend, my intro to your work. Thank you for sharing.

mark

8 years ago

Thanks, Terry! I’m trying to remember if I read Hal’s book or not. My memory is not as strong as it once was. I’ll need to revisit it to refresh my memory. Thanks for the recommendation! Mark

D. W. Bryant

8 years ago

Servant Leadership by Robert K. Greenleaf

mark

8 years ago

Great recommendation! Thank you. Mark

tokelo

8 years ago

3 Books That Have and Still Impacting Me:
The Me I Want To Be – John Ortberg
Principle Of The Path – Andy Stanley
Visioneering – Andy Stanley

mark

8 years ago

Thanks for taking time to comment! I’ve read two of these – I need to add the other one to my reading list. Thank you! Mark

Mbugua

8 years ago

That’s true! l agree 100%.

mark

8 years ago

Thanks for taking time to comment on this post! Mark

Nate Wright

8 years ago

I’d go with “Anything You Want” by Derek Sivers (former owner of CD Baby). Life-changing stuff hidden in a business guide.

mark

8 years ago

Thanks, Nate! I’ve not heard of this book. Thanks for the recommendation. Mark

Jay Petel

8 years ago

I have been telling people that everyone should read Steven Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” Many times I’ve been reading someone else’s book and say to myself, this is habit # from Steven Covey. It is an excellent foundation to .start with before reading any of the many other excellent books out there.
I too heard you on Six Pixels of Separation and found my way here. Thanks.

mark

8 years ago

Thanks, Jay. I also found Seven Habits to be an amazing book! It is a great one. Thanks for your comment!

Brian Pauley

8 years ago

Hi Mark-
I, too, read Leadership and Self-Deception this year. The follow-up book, Anatomy of Peace, was even better. It really helped me understand what “in the box” meant. I highly recommend it.
-Brian

mark

8 years ago

Thanks, Brian. I haven’t read the sequel yet – I will now.

Joanne Viola

7 years ago

A Tale Of Three Kings – Gene Edwards

mark

7 years ago

I love that book. Thanks for recommending it! Mark

Mike

7 years ago

Good to Great – Jim Collins
The Advantage – Patrick Lencioni
The Master Plan of Discipleship & Evangelism – Robert Coleman

mark

7 years ago

Thanks, Mike. I’ve read two of the three books you suggested – great reads! I appreciate you joining the conversation. Mark

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6 years ago

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