Doug Conant: Why These Are My Favorite Leadership Books

ConantThinking about giving books as holiday gifts?

Here is a brief excerpt from an article by Doug Conant for LinkedIn during which he discusses seven of his favorite books about leadership. To read the complete article and check out others, please click here.

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Over the years, I’ve read hundreds of leadership books in the broad category of wisdom literature, many of which would nest under the study of leadership. I do have some favorites. While many authors have influenced my perspective, in the spirit of saying “when the student is ready, the master appears,” the books listed below “appeared” to me at a time when they were uniquely helpful to my development. These are [three of] seven of my 25 definitive ‘Foundational Favorites’ listed in no particular order.

To be clear, these are books that have been uniquely useful to me in my leadership journey. To learn more about my thoughts and experiences with all 25 of my favorite leadership books, visit the Resources page on the ConantLeadership website.

1 & 2: Living the 7 Habits and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Of the thousands of leadership perspectives that I have studied over the past 40 years, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and one of the sequels, Living the 7 Habits, by Stephen Covey have had the most profound influence on my approach to leadership. The timeless principles captured in his work have helped me successfully navigate the stormy seas of organization transformation as President of the Nabisco Foods Company, CEO of Campbell Soup Company, and today as Chairman of Avon Products. I highly recommend them.

3: A Simpler Way by Margaret J. Wheatley & Myron Kellner-Rogers

A very provocative read that challenges many of the leadership paradigms of the 20th century. The primary goal of this book is to examine how we can make life less arduous and more delightful. Margaret Wheatley and Myron Kellner-Rogers challenge us to think differently about how to organize human activities. To me, the essence of the idea is that life tends to self-organize. Networks, patterns, and structures naturally emerge without external imposition or direction. The hypothesis is that “organization” wants to happen naturally in a way where things can get done and people can be at their best. I guarantee this book will challenge your thinking. I also guarantee that it will enlighten your thinking, as well.

For more information on all 25 of my favorite leadership books visit the ConantLeadership

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