Reading List: Spark

UPDATED: December 17, 2016
PUBLISHED: December 17, 2016

Does the Marine Corps do a better job of teaching leadership than elite business schools? Yes, say two former Marines and an Air Force pilot. The Marine approach is scalable to the corporate and small-business realms. As FedEx founder Fred Smith writes in the foreword, “Leadership isn’t about authority. It’s about building credible influence with others.” Smith, a former Marine, spent two tours in Vietnam as a platoon leader and later as a commander.

The book tries too hard to brand its principles: “A spark is all about change.” It’s people who “don’t accept what’s given to them.” It’s a moment of realization, or it’s a “catalyst for personal and organizational change.” You get the idea: familiar concepts cast in perky neo-jargon. Otherwise, the authors offer fresh perspectives on seven key leadership qualities: character, credibility, accountability, intention, service, confidence and consistency.

Related: 9 Things Every Aspiring Leader Should Know

By Angie Morgan, Courtney Lynch and Sean Lynch
January; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; $27


This article originally appeared in the January 2017 issue of SUCCESS magazine.


Chauncey Mabe is a freelance writer, book critic, and blogger in Miami, Fla. For 23 years he served as Book Editor and Senior Entertainment Writer at the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. He was Book Blogger for the Florida Center for the Literary Arts, the parent organization of Miami Book Fair International, from 2009 to 2012. He also blogs for the Betsy Hotel South Beach hotel, which sponsors literary events year round. His reviews and feature stories have appeared in publications such as the Toronto Globe & Mail, the Serving House Journal, Inspicio, the Palm Beach Arts Paper, the Baltimore Sun, the Juneau Empire, and the Chicago Tribune.