The Five (5) Great Books That Lets You Understand Leadership
The subject of leadership is a vast area which requires an even broader vision to understand it. One way to create that broader insight is to read some great books.
Such books are those which go beyond providing domain expertise. It opens up your intellect to the wide horizons of knowledge & creates thinking processes by which you can link it with your domain area.
There may be many great books on leadership. But according to my understanding there are five (5) books which provide your intellect with wider horizons to understand the area of leadership.
Though some of those books may not directly talk about leadership but their essence would provide the readers with the foresight needed to understand, learn & practice leadership.
1. The instructions of Ptah-Hotep
This is the oldest wisdom book to survive & is written by the Egyptian Vizier around 2000 B.C. This book talks about ethics, state, administration & leadership training. The first leadership book in the world. We can call it also as the first management book to be written. Ptah-Hotep is considered the first author in the world. A great gem on leadership wisdom which should not be miseed at any cost. This is a small book but has a far insight than many thick books.
2. Histories by Herodotus
The book details the clash of different kingdoms in ancient Greece specially with the Persians & the role of leadership. It records the historical events from the Greeks POV. This books talks about past history as well and gives insight into the culture as well. Herodotus also discusses the geography of that time and gives us an idea of the world in geographical context. This book led to the birth of History as a distinct genre of study.
This book is written by the philosopher Plato and deals with the trial of Socrates. The book details the arguments, speech & oratory by Socrates in his defence against the charges levelled by the establishment of the day. The complete reading of the book gives a bird eye view of the philosophical understanding of politics, justice, state, leadership & its varied dimensions. A must read book to understand how the leadership falters and manipulates to govern the system.
4. Plutarch’s Lives
This book by Plutarch is biographical. It deals with the famous Greek & Roman personalities and dwells upon their ethics, vices & leadership styles. Overall it presents an informed picture of the leadership ecosystem of those eras in all its hues. Those who want to understand leadership through frailties, this book is a must read. A treasure house for biography lovers as well.
5. The Muqaddimah
This book by Arab Historian Ibn Khaldun is regarded as the book that led to the birth of sociology & the emergence of scientific history in the modern world. The Muqaddimah broadens your intellectual vision & exhorts you to question the unscientific fallacies in understanding history & society. This book led to the birth of modern social sciences as we know today. A must read book to prepare your mind for scientific perspective when dealing with sociological, political and historical matters.
The Insightful Reading
I hope these books help us in understanding leadership. The books are not exhaustive in nature but definitely the best in their genre. A reading of these books would prepare the minds for greater insight into the affairs of the subject matter of leadership.
You can pick up your favourite book.