Reading for Leading, Part II: Books for Aviation Leaders

Author By Jim Lara

I am a self-professed lifelong learner. And one of the many ways that I work on self-grow this to read, read and read some more. While I don’t have much free time, I do like to spend my evenings reading as it helps me to gain new perspectives on a variety of topics, including business, communication, leadership, the economy and life.

Last year, Gray Stone Advisors had more than 150 social media “shares” of our post entitled: “Reading for Leading:Essential Books for Aviation Leaders,” so I’ve compiled a list of six recently purchased titles that I’ve downloaded to my Kindle for summer reading at our home in here in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Below is a list of my current “evening reads,”complete with an summary for each and a corresponding link to learn more. And not to worry: these are not “affiliate” links, so the online retail giant will not be reimbursing us if you choose to purchase a copy!

Dealing with China,” by Hank Paulson
As head of Goldman Sachs, Paulson played a pivotal role in opening up China to private enterprise. Then, as U.S. Treasury Secretary, he created what was termed the “Strategic Economic Dialogue” with what is now the world’s second-largest economy. He negotiated with China on needed economic reforms while safeguarding the teetering U.S. financial system. Throughout his career, Paulson has worked with scores of top Chinese leaders, including Xi Jinping, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and one of the country’s most powerful leaders to emerge in decades. In Dealing with China, Paulson draws on his unprecedented access to modern China’s political and business elite, including its three most recent heads of state.


The Real Life MBA” by Jack & Suzy Welch
Going beyond theories, concepts and ideologies, business power couple Jack and Suzy Welch tackle the “real stuff” of work today. When you get down to it, they argue, winning in business is all about mastering the gritty, inescapable, make-or-break, real-life dilemmas that define the new economy, the old economy and everything in between.
Work is a grind. We just got whacked. My boss is driving me nuts. I’m stuck in career purgatory. My team has lost its mojo. IT is holding us hostage. Our strategy is outdated the day we launch it. We don’t know what our Chinese partners are talking about. We’re just not growing.

These are some of the day-to-day issues the Welches take on. Coupled with Jack’s years of iconic leadership and Suzy’s insights as former editor of the Harvard Business Review, their new database of knowledge infuses The Real Life MBA with fresh, relevant stories and equally powerful solutions that every manager at any level can use right now.


Change The Culture: Change the Game” by Roger Connors and Tom Smith
Two-time New York Times bestselling authors Roger Connors and Tom Smith show how leaders can achieve record-breaking results by quickly and effectively shaping their organizational culture to capitalize on their greatest asset—their people.

Change the Culture, Change the Game joins their classic book, The Oz Principle, and their recent bestseller, How Did That Happen?, to complete the most comprehensive series ever written on workplace accountability. Based on an earlier book, Journey to the Emerald City, this fully revised installment captures what the authors have learned while working with hundreds of thousands of people on toward the goal of using organizational culture as a strategic advantage.


Rather Outspoken” by Dan Rather
This memoir by the famed journalist Dan Rather is told in a straightforward and conversational voice, and covers all the important moments of his career, including a frank accounting of his dismissal from CBS, the Abu Ghraib story, the George W. Bush Air National Guard controversy, new insights on the JFK assassination, the origin of “Hurricane Dan” as well as inside stories about all the U.S. Presidents he covered and all the top personalities Dan has either interviewed or worked with throughout his distinguished career.

The book also includes Dan’s thoughts on the state of journalism today and what he sees for its future, as well as never-before-revealed personal observations and commentary.


Great By Choice” by Jim Collins
Ten years after the worldwide bestseller, Good to Great, Jim Collins returns with another groundbreaking work, this time to ask: why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, while others do not? Basing their book on nine years of research, buttressing it by rigorous analysis and infusing it with engaging stories, Collins and his colleague Morten Hansen enumerate the principles for building a truly great enterprise in unpredictable, tumultuous and fast-moving times. This book is classic Collins: contrarian, data-driven and uplifting.


 “The Last Lion” by William Manchester—3 Volumes
When Winston Churchill was born in Blenheim Palace in 1874, Imperial Britain stood at the splendid pinnacle of her power. Yet, within a few years, the Empire would hover on the brink of catastrophe. Against this backdrop, a remarkable man began to build his legacy. From master biographer William Manchester, The Last Lion: Visions of Glory reveals the first 58 years of the life of an adventurer, aristocrat, soldier and statesman, whose courageous leadership guided the destiny of his darkly troubled times—and who is remembered as one of the greatest figures of the twentieth century.


Well there you have it: the six titles that I’m reading this summer here in the Smokies during our warm, outdoor-friendly evenings. You might also want to see what Bill Gates is reading this summer,as well as the list of titles recommended by JP Morgan Chase & Co.

So, tell me. What’s in your book bag, on your night stand, on an audio CD in your car or downloaded to your tablet? I’m always adding to my personal queue, so I’m interested in your recommendations. If you’d like to share, please list the title, author’s name and a short synopsis below in the Comments section.