Leadership books you may have missed in 2014

Leadership books you might have missed in 2014

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a sucker for a good list, and the New Year’s period always provides some worthy list fodder such as Top 5 Movies of 2014, Top social media fails of 2014 and other such nonsense. So I thought I’d have a go at a list of my own – the books you might have missed in 2014. Here goes…

gates business adventures

Educators looking for a great read in 2014 weren’t to be let down, with a great range of reading released from some outstanding authors. However some of the best reading came from the management and leadership fields and might have been missed. Here are some books worth checking out that you might have missed in 2014.

Trajectory : 7 Career strategies to take you from where you are to where you want to be– David L. Van Rooy

You may very well have missed this. I caught Van Rooy’s article on the winning German World Cup Squad and tracked down this book online. As yet I have not seen it in any Aussie bookshops – even the best ones so you definitely may have missed it. Trajectory is best described by its subheading. Clear advice, strategies and tips for aspiring leaders divided into 7 common sense strategies. This book is great for teachers looking to move into leadership or principal positions, helping the leader reflect on their own practice and make clear plans for advancement. I particularly liked the chapter entitled Think Big, Act Small, Move Quick which not only provides good career advice for aspirants, but provides a great planning framework for leaders and schools – one which I myself drew on during our Strategic Review and planning period in 2014. Well worth a read for aspirant teachers as a companion piece to Cal Newport’s So Good they Can’t ignore you.

Leaders Eat Last – Simon Sinek

I’m doing this book an injustice by including it in a list and not providing a full review. Every leader should read this book. Powerful and humbling, this book celebrates the strength of human leadership in all its forms. Drawing on an impressive combination of psychological and organisational research and real life examples – many drawn from the military, Sinek powerfully creates a compelling picture of powerful and hurtful leadership. A must read for leaders in education who too often fail to show genuine care, empathy and concern for their staff. Or to put it glibly, they’re the first to the pizza on Parent Teacher interview night. Check out Sinek’s Ted Talks then read the book. File next to Bob Sutton and Patrick Lencioni on the bookshelf.

Rookie SmartsLiz Wiseman

If you’ve been waiting for the follow up to Multipliers and The Multiplier Effect then it has finally arrived. This book was not what I thought it was going to be. I had assumed it would be a field guide for aspirant leaders or rookies on how to make it in the big city, but how wrong I was. Wiseman instead advocates for rookies and shows some compelling data that shows it is often rookies – unencumbered by the baggage of experience and bureaucracy – that perform at much higher levels than their more experienced colleagues. Wiseman then shows how all of us can adopt different aspects of the rookie mindset to increase and better our performance. Great read if you are stuck in a rut, or are supporting someone who is. Slot in with Wiseman’s other works and also Seth Godin’s Tribes.

Scaling Up ExcellenceBob Sutton and Huggy Rao

New Bob Sutton! New Bob Sutton! New Bob Sutton! I have to admit to some disappointment upon reading this book, which is more of a reflection on how much of a mark I am for his previous works Good Boss, Bad Boss and The No Asshole Rule. In truth this is an excellent business and management book, which takes you through the processes of taking a good organisation and making it outstanding – Scaling Up in their vernacular. Perhaps it misses some of the folksiness and personality existent in his previous works, but still well worth a look. File under Jim Collins’ Good to Great and Lafley and Martin’s Playing to Win.

Business Adventures – John Brooks

Okay, so not technically a read from 2014, but probably the book that made the biggest splash in 2014. When Bill Gates mentioned on his blog that his favourite business book was called Business Adventures – a collection of New Yorker essays – lent to him by Warren Buffet in the early nineties the internet and booksellers in downtown New York went nuts. The book itself had been out of print for years, and copies were selling on Amazon.com for hundreds of dollars. Gates still had not returned the loaned copy to Buffet either (Don’t you just hate friends that don’t return books!). But this is the era of the E-book and soon copies were available to download. By September the book had gone into reprint (London based publishers John Murray Learning thanked their lucky stars they still had the rights) and now every bookstore and newsstand has dozens of copies on hand.

But is it any good? Well it’s actually my summer holiday read, so I haven’t finished it yet, but I can tell you that it’s a collection of stories about businesses in the US throughout the 20th century up until the end of the sixties. It is highly readable, very similar to Michael Lewis’ recent work. I’ve just finished the chapter on the famous Edsel Ford which is a fascinating account of a project which remains a mysterious failure to this day. Is it worthwhile for educators? Of course. Any account of organisations and leadership can provide lessons to us in the education field.


So there it is – the books you might have missed in 2014. Do you have any suggestions? Make sure you send them through on Twitter or in the comments below.

Hope 2015 is a great year for you!

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