The Advancing Leadership Blog

August 2015 #Shelfie

Kelowna TEC Chair David MacLean is our next contributor to the #shelfie series and shares reading recommendations from his bookshelf that inspire him as a business leader and mentor. Share your own #shelfie with us on Twitter @TECCanada

How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

I read this book 20 years ago when I did the course and am rereading it again.  It is amazing how these simple principles for dealing effectively with people are as true today as they were decades ago when Carnegie wrote this seminal material.  Don’t criticise, condemn or complain.  Give honest and sincere appreciation.  Arouse in other people an eager want.  Become genuinely interested in other people.  Smile.  Remember names… It’s not rocket science, but it’s pure gold for creating great relationships with people in your personal and professional life.


Leadership Is An Art – Max Depree

This is probably my favourite book on leadership.  Max Depree is a believer in the principle of “Servant Leadership” popularized by Robert Greenleaf. He writes that the first responsibility of a leader is to define reality and the last is to say thank you. Along the way, the artful leader must: Stimulate effectiveness by enabling others to reach both their personal potential and their institutional potential; Take a role in developing, expressing, and defending civility and values; Nurture new leaders and ensure the continuation of the corporate culture.


Humilitus – John Dickson

This book was a bit of a dry read for me, but I loved the research-based analysis of the power of humility in a leader.  I have long believed that one of the most critical character qualities a leader must possess is humility.  An arrogant leader believes they have all the answers and needs not the input of others.  They make the work all about them, and not about their people.  Humble leaders are always learning, invite the input of others, and ensure the team gets the glory – not themselves.  Dickson presents a strong case for the power of humble leaders.


Leading With a Limp – Dan Allender

This is a faith-based book that presents the power of a reluctant leader.  I have always believed we should not follow anyone who doesn’t limp.  What I mean by that is that leaders who limp have paid a price for their leadership; they have fallen down and gotten back up; they know what it means to fail.  They are also reluctant leaders who do not strive for leadership because they know leadership is costly.  Therefore, when they take on leadership they know they are meant to be spent for the benefit of others – they do not use their leadership to promote themselves.  Allender does a great job in helping the reader understand this concept and how to turn struggles into strengths.


What Color Is Your Parachute? – Richard Nelson Bolles

This book has sold close to 10 million copies globally.  This is THE standard for understanding the uniqueness of who you are: what your talents and abilities are and where best you can use them.  I have read this book multiple times throughout my career as a means to help me further clarify what I have to bring to the marketplace and how I can best work in my sweet spot to create the greatest value and the greatest benefit to whomever I am working with.  It’s not a book you simply read. You have to work through it- it is packed with exercises of all sorts to further understand what you bring when you bring your best.

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