Leaders and successful people read and they read often. That’s why, from time to time, I like to share some of my top books of all time. Because I want to encourage you to read. It will make you a better leader.
In previous leadership training sessions (which I’ve linked below in the Resources section), I shared my top 10 leadership books of all time.
A few years ago, I was challenged to read less books on leadership and more biographies. This challenge called me to see that there is something beneficial about not just hearing about leadership principles but seeing them lived out in a person’s life.
Today, I’m sharing my top 5 non-fiction “story” books. When I say non-fiction “story” books, I’m referring to autobiographies, biographies, memoirs, etc. Books about true stories and events. Here are the first two of my favorite non-fiction “story” books:
Book #1: Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose
- This book is written from interviews of survivors of the war and soldier’s journals and letters, later made into a miniseries by Steven Spielberg. The story follows Dick Winters who was promoted up the ranks, and won the hearts of his men by a “follow me” leadership style.
- It is a sobering picture of the brutality of war. The book also shows what camaraderie, bravery, and leadership look like under stress.
Book #2: The Life of Abraham Lincoln by Henry Ketcham
- Abraham Lincoln consistently ranks as one of the top rated presidents of all time. This book is a biography studying his life and leadership, which all leaders could benefit from.
- Lincoln’s leadership in crisis is well-documented, but his life was not without failure, mistakes and adversity. This makes him an excellent example of how to lead through those times of trial.
- A great quote: “The times are too grave and perilous for ambitious schemes and rivalries.” To all who were associated with him (Lincoln) in the government, he said, “Let us forget ourselves and join hands, like brothers, to save the republic. If we succeed, there will be glory enough for all.”
What was the last non-fiction story book you read? What do you remember about it? What leadership lessons can you learn from it?
Take some time to think through these questions. If you’re a journaler, take a moment to jot down some thoughts. However works best for you, find a way to record the leadership lessons you’ve learned from someone else’s real life. It is impactful in many ways, and you may be reminded of something you haven’t thought of in awhile.