The Contrarian’s Guide

Recently I finished reading, The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership, by Steven B. Sample and Warren Bennis. It is by far the best book on leadership I’ve read yet. Extremely thought-provoking and challenging. Many of the concepts will keep you thinking long after you’ve put it down. I liked it best for its insights into what and how leaders read. That chapter itself is worth the price of the book. Here are some quotes that particularly stood out to me:

“All leaders, whether contrarian or otherwise, are heavily influenced by what they read. Indeed, in many cases leaders are directed and inspired as much by their readings as they are by their closest advisers. Thus the choices a leader makes as to what to read can be crucial in the long run.”

“The great majority of effective leaders have an excellent command of language, either spoken or written or both. Words are the primary stock-in-trade of leadership, and all leaders use them to attract, hold, inspire and galvanize their followers. To be sure, the written word can sometimes be very effective in motivating people. But the spoken word is by far the most powerful form of communication between a leader and his followers.”

‘Throughout history, war has provided the most dramatic and compelling opportunity for the exercise of leadership. Moreover, war is the dominant metaphor for most areas of human endeavor in which leadership is the key to success, including business, sports, and politics…To say that war has provided the principal images and models for leadership throughout history would be an understatement.”

“…I’ve been a careful observer of ambitious men all my life. And here, for what it’s worth, is what I’ve learned: many men want to be president, but very few want to do president.”

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Jeremy Jernigan

Speaker | Author | Founder of Communion Wine Co.