More and more I’m finding that I’m reading history, I’m reading biography, I’m reading autobiography for a sense of people who’ve been able to provide leadership. I don’t read leadership books anymore.
And maybe that’s because I’ve got to the point now where those books stack up too far off the floor. I get one sent to me a day. But somehow I have found that the historians have real sources so you know the probability that it’s accurate is pretty high. And it’s a sweep over time. It’s not what happened over the last quarter and all the financial guys say, "This is great, they must have great leaders!"
Over a long period of time something worked out great, those stories are the most informative and much more informative than just somebody’s opinion, which is what most of these books are. Or a look at somebody that’s running a company right now, but the look at is because the financials look good over the last year. Which, frankly we’ve already learned that that doesn’t mean anything five years out. Five years out the whole company might be a mess and there might be lots of evidence that this guy who people attributed as a great leader just was terrible.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
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