Bob Koehler is a motivational speaker who hails from my small hometown of Fonthill, Ontario. He’s shared the stage with the likes of Anthony Robbins and Jann Arden. There’s a quote that he references in every talk he gives and it’s resonated with me from the moment I first heard it: “Great leaders are great readers”.
I’ve never forgotten this line and I’ve made a lifelong commitment to always be reading and learning.
The summer is a particularly good time to catch up on some books, which typically get stacked on the night table throughout the year. I’m a non-fiction junkie and although I love business books, I’m starting to get bored of the “5 things every leader should know” genre.
This year I’ve become a lot more interested in biographies of business leaders. Learning about their history and the context that led to certain decisions is eye-opening. You gain a much richer understanding of the people and companies you hear about all the time. It’s also handy to be “in-the-know” whenever someone references them in a meeting or keynote.
Here’s my list for the summer. I keep it to three books because I know that I’m not able to get through more than that with my schedule.
1. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance.
2. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight
3. The Power of the Other: The startling effect other people have on you, from the boardroom to the bedroom and beyond – and what to do about it by Dr. Henry Cloud.
Okay, I deviated from biographies to read the latest from one of my favourite authors in Dr. Henry Cloud but I just couldn’t resist because I always find his perspective refreshing yet challenging.
If you have recommendations or books that you’re reading, feel free to share them in the comment section or send me an email and I’ll keep a master list on my website.
Here’s to all the great leaders who are also great readers! Enjoy a summer of learning.