How do you read? Is it merely for pleasure...do you let the words just soak into you and enjoy the pleasure of the writing...do you bask in the action that takes place between the good guys and bad guys...do you read to learn and gain new knowledge...do you read because you think your should?
I often find myself reading through what I call "leadership lenses." And I have found that fiction provides a great opportunity to learn about leadership and its many facets in life. We are shaping a new leadership course here at Concordia University Texas and I recommended that we look at including a work of fiction because it allows students to talk about leadership from the human experience - and isn't that what leadership is really about?
Here are a few of my favorite examples:
Lord of the Flies by William Golding: Sure we all read this in junior high or high school but reading it through leadership lenses provides a whole new picture of groupthink, use of power, and the difference between management and leadership (think Piggy and Ralph). It is a quick read - and full of good action.
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card: I am not a science fiction fan, but I could not put this book down once I began reading it last summer. It's leadership themes include leadership development, leading peers, and whether leadership characteristics are innate or not.
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier: A young adult classic, this novel talks about standing up for what is right, leadership courage, and speaking up to authority. Another great story with leadership implications (and a quick read).
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand: Not such a quick read (694 pages in the paperback edition) but a fascinating story of power, focus, vision, and organizations. Many people do not agree with Miss Rand's philosophy, but the story is incredible and has many discussion points on leadership.
So start reading - only this time read through leadership lenses. And if you have any suggestions to add to this list, let me know so i can add them to my own summer reading list.