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Jim Collins: My Reading List for Military Inspired Leadership Tips

Six insightful depictions of leadership during wartime.
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The Killer Angels

"Everybody should read this phenomenal novel. Here is Joshua Chamberlain, a professor of rhetoric-turned-Union Army colonel, standing there on the edge of Little Round Top at Gettysburg, unable to retreat, almost out of ammunition, in danger of being outflanked, and where does his fear go? Into the mission and taking care of the people around him. That's what great leaders do--channel fear, because fear is a form of motivation and ambition, too."--Michael Shaara

1776 by David McCullough

"George Washington was a leader with extraordinary Return on Luck. He basically failed his way to success. I define a great leader as one who has superior results, makes a distinctive impact, and has an enduring legacy. Washington's legacy was not just leading the Continental Army and serving as the first President. It was also his decision to step down after two terms. Yes, he was personally ambitious and proud, but in the end, it wasn't about him. It was about the country."

American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964 and Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War

"These books, together, are a spectacular combination. MacArthur lacked humility, but he was a strategic genius, no question about it. Goodbye, Darkness is Manchester's autobiography. As a Marine in the Pacific War, he was severely wounded on Okinawa, and as a middle-aged man suffered from nightmares. Eventually, Manchester goes back to Okinawa. He writes that, in the end, you fight for each other."--both by William Manchester

Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne From Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest

"Major Dick Winters was the hero of Band of Brothers, which is a great book and a great television mini-series. If you read his autobiography, you realize he's just an average guy who was thrust into this situation and rose to greatness. After the war, he goes back to being an average guy. He's the classic case of the great leader who was a tool in a toolbox. But a spectacular tool he was."--by Stephen E. Ambrose, and Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters by Dick Winters and Cole C. Kingseed

From the October issue of Inc. magazine

BO BURLINGHAM | Staff Writer

Burlingham joined Inc. in 1983. An editor at large, he is the author of Small Giants. Burlingham is also the co-author with Norm Brodsky of The Knack; and the co-author with Jack Stack of The Great Game of Business.




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