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Leadership Books for Fall 2009

It's hard to keep up with the latest leadership books. Of the many that cross my desk, here are two that have caught my attention this fall.

Seven Lessons for Leading in Crisis, by Bill George (Aug. 2009)

This short book from Harvard B-school prof and former Medtronic CEO Bill George functions like a pocket-sized handbook version of his popular book, True North. If you know a leader dealing with a crisis — and who isn't right now? — this might be a good book to slip in their briefcase. Its seven principles — face reality, ask for help, find the root cause, focus on the long term, take advantage of change, lead with integrity and go on the offense — provide immediate direction and focus.

What sets George's book apart from the usual lists of leadership must-dos are the stories he tells about individual leaders facing crises, such as Piper Jaffrey CEO Tad Jaffrey, who solved a critical corporate problem with wisdom he learned in Alcoholics Anonymous. And George is, as always, startlingly honest about himself, talking frankly about his own dark fears and personal support systems. His surprising advice on how to build your resilience? Keep in shape, meditate, and don't take yourself too seriously.

Lead Your Boss: The Subtle Art of Managing Up, by John Baldoni (Oct. 2009)

The funny thing about the popularity of leadership studies is that most of us aren't leaders — if you look at our titles, that is. Rather than being CEOs or presidents, most of us have bosses. Exerting power in this realm is the subject of Harvard Business blogger John Baldoni's new book, which contains concrete advice for those who find themselves working in the middle. Whether that means honing your diplomacy skills, eliciting great ideas, or taking that essential leap of faith, Baldoni makes the case that excelling from the middle does require leadership.

And, in case that doesn't satisfy your need for leadership wisdom, here are some other notable new leadership titles:

Crossing the Divide: Intergroup Leadership in a World of Difference, Edited by Todd Pittinsky (Aug. 2009)

Leading with Cultural Intelligence: The New Secret to Success, by David Livermore (Oct. 2009)

Love Leadership: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World, by John Hope Bryant (Aug. 2009)

The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership, by Bill Walsh with Steve Jamison and Craig Walsh (Aug. 2009)

The Management Myth: Why the "Experts" Keep Getting It Wrong, by Matthew Stewart (Aug. 2009)

Leading the Charge: Leadership Lessons from the Battlefield to the Boardroom, by General Tony Zinni and Tony Koltz (Aug. 2009)

What leadership books are you reading? More importantly, how do you find out about these books in the first place? Let us know.

By Andrea Useem  |  September 23, 2009; 2:11 PM ET  | Category:  Books
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