ATG Book of the WeeK: The Leader’s Bookshelf

by | Aug 7, 2020 | 0 comments

Title: The Leader’s Bookshelf
Author: James Stavridis
Hardcover: ISBN- 978-1682471791, $29.95
Imprint: Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2017

“For the last several years Adm. James Stavridis and his co-author, R. Manning Ancell, have surveyed over two hundred active and retired four-star military officers about their reading habits and favorite books, asking each for a list of titles that strongly influenced their leadership skills and provided them with special insights that helped propel them to success in spite of the many demanding challenges they faced. The Leader’s Bookshelf synthesizes their responses to identify the top fifty books that can help virtually anyone become a better leader.

Each of the works–novels, memoirs, biographies, autobiographies, management publications–are summarized and the key leadership lessons extracted and presented. Whether individuals work their way through the entire list and read each book cover to cover, or read the summaries provided to determine which appeal to them most, The Leader’s Bookshelf will provide a roadmap to better leadership.

Highlighting the value of reading in both a philosophical and a practical sense, The Leader’s Bookshelf provides sound advice on how to build an extensive library, lists other books worth reading to improve leadership skills, and analyzes how leaders use what they read to achieve their goals. An efficient way to sample some of literature’s greatest works and to determine which ones can help individuals climb the ladder of success, The Leader’s Bookshelf is for anyone who wants to improve his or her ability to lead–whether in family life, professional endeavors, or within society and civic organizations.


“The helpful hints coupled with the insights on the books makes this a useful book for any leader in any career. I recommend this book to all readers.” – Army University Press

The Leaders Bookshelf is therefore something of a continuation of Stavridis’ (and Ancell’s) quest for critical thinkers and new knowledge. But it is more so, for it provides useful signposts and direction – as much for reading the past, as understanding the present, and scoping our futures.” – The NAVY Magazine of the Navy League of Australia

“I’ve been trading book recommendations with Admiral Jim Stavridis since we worked together in the Pentagon over a decade ago. He explains better than anyone the power of books to help create leaders, and this is the best possible selection of books to light a path through the most challenging of situations.” — GEN. JAMES MATTIS, USMC (RET.), former Commander of U.S. Central Command; Supreme Allied Commander at NATO for Transformation

“Leadership in the world of business depends on life experiences, strength of personality, and innate qualities–but you can never stop learning. Admiral Stavridis has captured an extraordinary list of leadership books, and provides very real insight into each of them. Taken together, they can help leaders in any enterprise improve their game.” — DAN SCHULMAN, CEO, Paypal; chairman of Symantec

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