Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Books That Have Made an Impact On My Life

While I was in Romania last week, I was asked the question “What books have had the most impact on your life?”  I get asked this question on a regular basis.  For this article I thought I would list the top ten leadership books that, up to this point, have added the most value to my life in the area of leadership.

1.  The Bible: This one is obvious.  More than any other book, the Bible has changed me and continues to change me.  The Bible is the Word of God and no other book has the potential to change us like the Bible.  It is, by far, the greatest leadership book in the world.  Most everything I have learned about leadership, I have learned from the Bible.

2.  Spiritual Leadership (J. Oswald Chambers): Spiritual Leadership is the best book I've read on Christian leadership.  No other book, other than the Bible, has influenced my life the way this one has.  This book does not borrow principles of leadership from the world and try to force them to fit the Bible, but rather derives principles of leadership for every area of life and work from the Scriptures.

3.  Developing the Leader Within You (John C. Maxwell): I list this book, not because it is the best book I’ve read on leadership, but because it was the first book I read in the area of leadership.  This book awakened me to the subject of leadership and introduced me to John Maxwell.

4.  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen R. Covey) This book is simply one of the best leadership development books of all time.  Covey shares 7 habits to improve every relationship in your work and private life.  My productivity increased tremendously when I began to apply the lessons learned from this book.

5.  The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (John C. Maxwell): This book is among the best books ever written on leadership.  The content here is good and it's practical.  I teach this book on a regular basis.  I believe it is the foundational book for anyone desiring to raise their leadership lid.  I keep this book and a typed list of the 21 laws taught in this book on my desk at all times.

6.  Good to Great (Jim Collins): This book is fascinating.  Also considered one of the best leadership books of all time.  Jim Collins highlighted eleven companies and how they made the leap from good to great.

7.  The Leadership Challenge (James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner): John Maxwell considers this to be the best leadership book of all time.  Kouzes and Posner show how leadership can be learned and mastered by all of us.  I could hardly put this book down once I started reading.

8.  Today Matters (John Maxwell): John teaches you how to seize the day with 12 daily practices to help you control your daily agenda, make time for people you love, and find success in your career.  A very practical book.

9.  The Bible on Leadership (Lorin Woolfe): I am actually reading this book now for the first time.  It certainly will not be the last.  This book is full of leadership wisdom.  I have marked this book up to capture many quotes, thoughts, and stories.  This is a must read book for anyone who desires to grow in leadership.

10.  The Total Money Makeover (Dave Ramsey): While not a book on leadership, this book has made a huge impact on my life.  Following Ramsey’s baby step approach to being debt free allowed my wife and I to experience the liberty of having no debt (with the exception of our house).  Becoming more disciplined in our finances challenged us to become more disciplined in other areas of our lives as well. Leaders are looked up to. Leaders should set the example in the area of money management.  It adds credibility to their leadership.  If you are heavy in debt this book is a must.

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