Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke


7 Books I Like and Why

Volume: August 2013


By Doug Van Dyke, Leadership Simplified, www.leadershipsimplified.com


Most business books are nothing more than a “memo-done-good.” In other words, the author creates 10 pages or less of solid content and decides to stretch it into a book. This drives me crazy (and wastes my time). As such, I am very particular when it comes to selecting a business book to read. So I share with you seven books that make the grade in my view. In no particular order I present to you seven books I like, and why.


Good to Great – Never mind that two of the eleven companies that Jim Collins features in his book have tanked. Suspend your disbelief and enjoy the wisdom and best practices that the leaders of great companies have to share with us. Learn about the momentum theory of the flywheel, and the three qualities that all excellent companies possess. Once you have finished reading the book, pick up the audio version. When you have windshield time, turn it on and give it a listen. Even greater thoughts will pop into your head!  


In Search of Excellence - If you enjoyed Good to Great, then get downright old-school and read Thomas Peters and Robert Waterman’s In Search of Excellence. The book highlights the best and creative practices of a bevy of superb companies – many of whom are still darn good today. If you are not inspired to motivate your team after reading this book then, well, you need to check your pulse.  


Now, Discover Your Strengths – in many ways, this book is a modern day Myers-Briggs. The authors (Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton) and the Gallop organization take big data to the extreme in this opus. The best takeaway from this dandy read will be the increased focus that you place on your strengths (that’s right, not your weaknesses). If you are interested in improving in any aspect of your life, this will be a good use of your time.


Leadership Simplified – Okay, okay, so I wrote the darn thing. It is still a great resource for new or experienced leaders. New leaders can read through the book sequentially – its five sections cover what all new leaders need to know and employ. Seasoned leaders can use Leadership Simplified like a handbook, flipping to an appropriate section when the need arises. If this book is not sitting on the corner of your desk, I have just one question: Why not?


One Minute Manager – Ken Blanchard’s classic helps managers understand their duty and responsibility to coach team members – and, how to do it quickly. If you walk away with nothing more that how to deliver a one-minute praising or a one-minute reprimand it will have been worth the one hour that it took you to read this succinct jewel.


Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey penned a must-read with Seven Habits. Whether you embrace the crafting of a personal mission statement or simply use this book to sharpen your saw, Covey’s work has influenced the mindset and vernacular of a generation of effective professionals.


Primal Leadership – The precursor to this book was an article written by Daniel Goleman entitled Leadership That Gets Results. While I prefer the article, Goleman teamed up with Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee to create this solid read. Many of you know Daniel as the Emotional Intelligence guy. His insight and knowledge transcend many areas and makes him, as well as his co-collaborators valued contributors to the genre of leadership.


So there you have it ladies and gentlemen. Seven solid reads for your choosing. Agree with my list, disagree, no matter. What is your favorite business book and, of course, why?



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