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: 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]


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