Small Books on Big Ideas
August 06, 2009
Life is short, people are busy. We don’t get time to read as many books as we would like to. Yet we could probably miss a TV show now and again. Here are a couple of really short reads (1 hour or less) on the big ideas in leadership.
Leadership: A Practical Guide to Leadership Principles and Strategies - by Dan MacDonald and Carmen DeLisle.
This super small book is a no frills summary of the transition from manager to leader. It covers:
An understanding of the difference great leadership makes
5 Pillars of leadership:
Attributes and skills of a great leader
8 things great leaders do:
Build a great team
Offer recognition and praise
Develop a not-to-do list
The next book is: Lead Well and Prosper - by Nick McCormick
Slightly longer and my recommendation from the two. ”Lead Well and Prosper” gives some background to each idea and provides practical implementation guidance.
The book outlines 15 simple, but powerful concepts:
1. Adopt a serving attitude
2. Teach others what you know
3. Provide honest and timely feedback
4. Share information
6. Treat people like human beings
7. Set goals, plan, and execute
9. Do the right thing
10. Embrace the uncomfortable
11. Clean up your own house first
13. Do what you say you'll do
14. Always follow up
15. Plan your week
Each is accompanied with an anecdote, an explanation, a list of Do’s and Don’ts, and some Action steps.
$8-$15 for a tiny book?
I am pretty cheap and initially thought these books were not great value for money (pages per dollar). I might have been tempted to find a comfy chair in a book shop and read them, then put them back (I said I was cheap!) Yet, they are worth a lot more than the books you have bought, but have not read, or have not finished. In terms of valuable information obtained per minutes of time invested in reading (probably a much better measure for a book) they rate as high as any others I have read.
The power of concise
While initially skeptical that these short books could be of any real use, I now think the short read time is the best aspect of these books. While none of the recommendations they contain are particularly new; distilling a good set of advice into an easily consumable package is where the benefit really is. In just one hour I was reminded of three things I have not been doing enough of lately and changed my week.