Leadership Lessons from Over 50 Thought Leaders

People + Books = 1 Changed Life


Charlie “Tremendous” Jones was one of my great influencers.  He repeatedly said that, “You will be the same person you are today in five years but for two things:  the people you meet and the books you read.” Every year, I am privileged to have the opportunity to read so many incredible books and meet fascinating people from all walks of life.

Last year, I launched this blog with the idea of sharing insights, ideas, and inspiration from many sources. On the one hand, I’m disappointed that I was only able to share a fraction of all of the people who influenced me. On the other, I’m glad that I started doing it because now, as I look back on it, I’m the one who benefited the most. Charlie was right. All of the books I read and all of the people I met did indeed change me.

Here are a few of the people who shared their experience and wisdom. If I can learn a fraction of what they know, I will be better equipped to lead in the coming year.

Before you start the new year, take the time to meet some of these people and take their leadership lessons with you. Instead of “interview in progress” you will find a “great life in progress.”

Leadership, News & Politics


Dan Rather (his life in the news)

Condoleezza Rice (former Secretary of State)

Barbara Simons (on the dangers of new ballot machines)

Senator Bill Bradley (on how we can all do better)


Business Leadership, Strategy & Execution


John Baldoni (purpose, leadership)

Jill Geisler (Make Work Happy)

Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos on culture)

Cynthia Montgomery (strategist)

Jim Huling (on the 4 disciplines of execution)

Geoffrey Moore (how to cross the chasm and rethink the future)

Faisal Hoque (BTM CEO on the power of convergence)

Chris Grivas (which creative style are you?)

Shep Hyken (7 strategies of amazing customer service)

Daniel Burrus (futurist on 7 triggers to transform your business)

Brandy Mychals (how to read a client from across a room)

Dr. Tina Seelig (enhance your creative genius)

Ari Weinzweig (one of American’s most admired small business owners on leadership)

Michael Hyatt (how to get noticed in a noisy world)

Joel Manby (Herschend CEO on leading a company with love)


Leadership lessons from the Sports World


Jennifer Pharr Davis (achieving your goals)

R. A. Dickey (overcoming obstacles)

John Smoltz (the power of failure)

Chris Ballard (baseball lessons in a small town)

Bill Bradley (lessons from the Knicks)

Chrissie Wellington (world’s leading triathlete)


Wisdom from best-selling fiction authors


Diana Gabaldon

John Green

Neil Abramson

Robert Goolrick

Maile Meloy

Tom Perotta

Erin Morgenstern

Ann Patchett

Alex George

Walter Mosley

Karin Slaughter

Lee Woodruff

Jo Nesbo

Michael Connelly

Michael Kortya

Nelson DeMille

Brad Meltzer

Personal Development


Jeff DeGraff (building a better you innovation expert)

Tim Sanders (gaining confidence)

Clay Christensen (how will you measure your life?)

Joel Osteen (how to make every day a Friday)

Mike Glenn (what’s your yes?)

Lee Greenwood (country singer shares his experience)

Lee Woodruff (building resilience)

Jonah Lehrer (creativity)

Ron Edmondson (building an online presence)

Laura Schroff (letting one moment change your life)

Louis Upkins (treating your family like customers)

Immaculee Ilibagiza (forgiveness)

Buzz Bissinger (fatherhood)

Ree Drummond (cookbook)

Beau Davidson (patriotism)

Dan Ariely (honesty)

Dr. Amen (diet and brain health)


Leadership Lessons from History


John Carter Cash (lessons from the man in black, Johnny Cash)

Robert Massie (lessons from Catherine the Great)

Stephen Mansfield (Lincoln’s Battle With God)

Andy Andrews (on why truth matters)




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