In elementary school there were two things that encouraged me to read outside of school.
First, there was "Reading Rainbow." This show rocked. I don't know if it was the theme song or me thinking that LaVar Burton was somehow cool that made me want to read.
Next was a program called "Book It!" The premise was for each book you read you received a gold star on the "Book It!" button you were given. Once you reached 5 stars you took your button to Pizza Hut for a free personal pan pizza. This program had everything that was crack for kids: a cool button, gold stars, competition, free pizza...and the internal feeling of being slightly as cool as LaVar Burton!
I dominated at "Book It!" Sadly it did not enhance a love for reading. It did however prove that my love for a pizza labeled "personal" would drive me to read countless books about The Boxcar Children.
While I still do not love to read, the adage is true that, "Leaders are readers." It is one of the ways I expose myself to new ideas and challenging thoughts. In all of the leadership books I have read there are 3 that have stood above the rest in the scope of their impact in my life. Aside from the Bible, these 3 books have shaped the leader I am today...
Rich Dad, Poor Dad
This book reshaped how I view money. The premise is that poor people work for money while wealthy people do not work for money, they make money work for them. While the brash labeling of some as "poor" is striking, see beyond it. The author explains how the wealthy view investing, the difference between an asset and a liability, and how we should view work as the ultimate learning ground. My top takeaway from this book is that for most people, their profession is their income. For rich people, assets are their income. Gold.
A favorite quote from Rich Dad, Poor Dad
"If you're the kind of person who has no guts, you just give up every time life pushes you. If you're that kind of person, you'll live all your life playing it safe, doing the right things, saving yourself for something that never happens. Then, you die a boring old man."
If you are a business owner, leader or pastor this book is a must. Dave Ramsey gives you his operational playbook. You are challenged with building a great culture, operating with common sense financial practices and how to operate a sales team. Something as mundane as job descriptions even comes alive. Entreleadership is a textbook on the "how" of a great organization.
My favorite quote from Entreleadership
"The problem with your company is not the economy, it is not the lack of opportunity, it is not your team. The problem is you. That is the bad news. The good news is, if you’re the problem, you’re also the solution."
The 4 Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive
My favorite leadership book is called The 4 Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive. More than any other this book has shaped how I think, feel and carry myself as a leader. It shaped a core belief of mine that the most effective pastors actually think like CEOs. What are the "4 obsessions?" Build and maintain a cohesive leadership team; Create organizational clarity; Over-communicate organizational clarity; Reinforce organizational clarity through human systems.
My favorite quote from The 4 Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive
"There is no substitute for discipline. No amount of intellectual prowess or personal charisma can make up for an inability to identify a few simple things and stick with them over time."
Outside of the Bible, these are the 3 books that have shaped me the most. Hopefully they will help you too. In the meantime, I hear Netflix has started streaming "Reading Rainbow." Happy reading!