Why I Don't Read Leadership Books Anymore

 I don’t read leadership books anymore.

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.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
Keep reading Show less

Meet the Bajau sea nomads — they can reportedly hold their breath for 13 minutes

The Bajau people's nomadic lifestyle has given them remarkable adaptions, enabling them to stay underwater for unbelievable periods of time. Their lifestyle, however, is quickly disappearing.

Wikimedia Commons
Culture & Religion
  • The Bajau people travel in small flotillas throughout the Phillipines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, hunting fish underwater for food.
  • Over the years, practicing this lifestyle has given the Bajau unique adaptations to swimming underwater. Many find it straightforward to dive up to 13 minutes 200 feet below the surface of the ocean.
  • Unfortunately, many disparate factors are erasing the traditional Bajau way of life.
Keep reading Show less

Life is hard: Jordan Peterson and the nature of suffering

The Canadian professor's old-school message is why many started listening to him.

Jordan Peterson addresses students at The Cambridge Union on November 02, 2018 in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire. (Photo by Chris Williamson/Getty Images)
Personal Growth
  • The simplicity of Peterson's message on suffering echoes Buddha and Rabbi Hillel.
  • By bearing your suffering, you learn how to become a better person.
  • Our suffering is often the result of our own actions, so learn to pinpoint the reasons behind it.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists create a "lifelike" material that has metabolism and can self-reproduce

An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.

Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
Surprising Science
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
Keep reading Show less