As a leader, from a young sergeant squad leader to a division-level commanding general, I made every leadership mistake in the book. Recognizing these mistakes, I could appreciate the construct of listening, learning, and then leading. Being an effective leader is a matter of following simple principles but challenging. In addition to the lessons and examples in these books, there are common themes leaders should follow to succeed. I found these themes in many books, but I offer the four books below as an example of what leaders must do to be effective. I am well aware that, at times, my leadership approach was criticized. My leadership approach was simple: know your job and do your job. Always give 100% and never quit. Do not do anything illegal, immoral, and negligently unsafe. Always keep faith with your subordinates, and never betray them to the politics of your bosses.

The common themes among the books “What It Takes to Be Number One,” “Leaders Eat Last,” “The Dichotomy of Leadership,” and “The Wisdom of the Bullfrog” revolve around leadership, personal growth, and the complexities of being a successful leader.

  1. Leadership: All the books emphasize the importance of effective leadership. They explore various aspects of leadership, such as leading by example, creating a positive work culture, and making tough decisions.


  1. Personal Growth: The books highlight the significance of personal growth for leaders. They discuss the importance of continuous learning, self-reflection, and overcoming challenges to become better leaders.


  1. Team Dynamics: A recurring theme is the significance of building and nurturing strong teams. The books emphasize the need for trust, collaboration, and supporting team members to achieve collective goals.


  1. Ethical Leadership: Another common theme is the importance of ethical leadership. The books stress the need for leaders to act with integrity, prioritize the well-being of their team, and make ethical decisions in challenging situations.


  1. Balancing Priorities: The books explore the dichotomy of leadership, wherein leaders must balance competing priorities. They discuss the need to make tough decisions, manage risk, and balance taking charge and empowering others.


  1. Resilience and Adaptability: The books emphasize the need for leaders to be resilient and adaptable. They discuss strategies for overcoming failures, bouncing back from setbacks, and embracing change to navigate uncertain environments.