The Contrarian's Guide to Leadership by Steve B. Sample

“Sometimes a response is not really necessary, and sometimes no response at all is the best response.”

Clearly, there is no clear unifying definition of leadership. If you ask a thousand people for the qualities of an effective leader, you will probably get a thousand different responses. However the responses that stick out are the responses given by extremely successful leader. Steve Sample is a successful leader.

Though prosperous in the corporate world, Sample’s greatest success exists academic world where he has led the University of Southern California in becoming the premier school in the nation.

To Sample, there are a lot of misconceptions about leadership and he is unusually blunt about responsibilities. He does not try to hide the fact that effective leadership is challenging and unpleasant. Though at times I felt his commentary on things like journalists and the judicial process to be out of place and irrelevant, I found his views to be well-grounded in experience and research. I particularly enjoyed the first chapter on "Thinking Gray, and Free."

The book is only a couple hundred pages, but it is kind of slow read as Sample deliberately establishes his ideas.