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January 23, 2006

News & Opinion: Leadership Books Reviewed in WSJ

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 8:18 PM – Filed under: Leadership & Strategy, The Company


On Friday, Daniel Akst wrote a business book review for the Wall Street Journal. It was titled "O Captain, My Captain" and looked at three titles: The Servant Leader, The 360° Leader, and Executive Intelligence.

It is rare that WSJ will review business books. For being the leading business publication in America, it is something that only happens about once a month. It makes no sense to me.

What makes it worse is they generally want to torpedo the books. This is again something I don't understand. Why not look for business ideas and thoughts that you can support? Is it that rare? Why not just tell your readers about new books and let them make their own judgement?

In this case, one out of three make the cut. Akst likes The Servant Leader saying, "Although it rambles in places, it contains an excellent synopsis of just what a leader is supposed to do". John Maxwell's latest book gets "[after 40 books], is there really that much for any one person to say on the subject?" and Justin Menkes is told that there is no evidence that executive intelligence exists or played a role in any of the examples he mentions.

At first glance, it will look like we are just disagreeing with the reviewer. Jack selected The 360° Leader in January as one of his books of the month. I liked Executive Intelligence having interviewed Justin in November (read the HBR article if you don't have time for the book).

I want to get at a deeper point. At 800ceoread, we at read and review business books to find the good. There is almost always something I can pull out of a book to share with you. Sometimes, it reinforces commonly held beliefs of how business should be done. Sometimes, it flies in the face of it. Either way, it all helps us down the path of understanding how we can be better business people.

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.