Reading Lists: The Greats on Leadership

UPDATED: May 11, 2016
PUBLISHED: May 7, 2016

It’s nice to toss around impressive names—Shakespeare, Plato, Jung, Machiavelli or Lao Tzu—but could these dusty old paragons really be of use to a manager today? For anyone willing to put in the time and effort, the answer is a definite yes. Jocelyn Davis cleverly fuses the thoughts of classic writers and philosophers into the foundation of what is essentially a brainy how-to book.

Related: 9 Things Great Leaders Do Differently

Davis examines 24 leadership topics, each given its own chapter. She plumbs Shakespeare’s Henry V for insight on crisis management, Melville’s Billy Budd for accountability and Machiavelli’s The Prince on change. Davis provides a book of substance that is a joy to read. In doing so, she demonstrates the relevance of the humanities even in a fast-changing 21st-century world.

The Greats on Leadership
By Jocelyn Davis
May; Nicholas Brealey; $30


This article originally appeared in the June 2016 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.