Book Review: Leaders – Myth and Reality

I selected this book because of the title and the author's background; hearing what military leaders have to say about leadership always interests me. In this case the retired general enlisted the help of two others – Jeff Eggers and Jason Mangrove. Nevertheless, this article discusses what makes the book worthy of your time and attention. Aside from wisdom for your leadership journey, it will challenge you to think outside the boundaries.

What You Uncover

  • Takes a different approach

What makes this book unique? The writers take a different stance on leadership by generating a discussion on six types of leaders: founders, geniuses, zealots, heroes, power brokers, and reformers. In contrast, most books focus on traditional leaders found in corporations, non-profits, and government.

  • Redefines leadership

The authors challenge readers to rethink leadership. This way of thinking is refreshing because the traditional way of examining leadership is limiting. Moreover, it tends to zero in on the leader in exclusion of the people surrounding him or her.

  • Case studies

Even more refreshing is the selection of leaders for each category. For example, Martin Luther and Martin Luther King, Jr. were chosen for the reformers. Walt Disney and Cocoa made the cut for founders. An analysis of the leader's reaction to adversity is given along with comparisons and differences.

With Martin Luther, for example, an investigation of his handling of the crisis after breaking from the Catholic church is viewed. In contrast, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s decision making was scrutinized concerning the civil rights movement.

  • Discussion of 3 myths

Aside from the case studies, you'll hear a discussion on the three myths (results myth, formulaic myth, and the attribution myth). The former asserts that the leader's outcomes outweigh what they say or how they appear. On the other hand, the formulaic myth boils good leadership down to a list of desired traits. Lastly, the attribution myth puts a heavier emphasis on influence forsaking other factors.

  • Format

Leaders – Myth and Reality is only 411 pages including an epilogue. At the end of each chapter are resources for learning more about the subject. Equally important, a discussion summarizing different aspects of the leaders lives are given.

In short, the book is user-friendly. You have the option of reading it from beginning to end, or take your pick. I jumped around after reading the first chapter. Although all the featured leaders intrigued me, some did so more than others.