Monday, November 27, 2023

FALL BACK TO READING SERIES – Featuring Michael McKinney

This year, as the seasons change and we enjoy fall, I’ve launched my FALL BACK TO READING SERIES. The series will feature two dozen leadership and marketing experts, who will share their inspiration in both fiction and nonfiction, and hopefully, provide the impetus to read more. To quote New York Times Bestselling author Kristin Harmel, “If you give a person a book, you give him the world.” For today’s post, I’d like to introduce Michael McKinney.

Michael McKinney is the president of LeadershipNow, a company dedicated to building leaders at all levels through writing and consulting. He is also the author of the award-winning LeadingBlog designed to provide commentary on current leadership thinking and insights.

QUESTION: Which business books have made the biggest impact on your career?
MICHAEL McKINNEY: There are two that I read in college that put me on the leadership and personal development trajectory.

The first was Warren Bennis’ book, The Unconscious Conspiracy: Why Leaders Can’t Lead. In it, he wrote, “The crisis calls for leadership, but the leaders aren’t leading.” Contemplating that statement, I started LeadershipNow in 1980.

The other is The Age of Discontinuity by Peter Drucker. I came across it nearly a decade after it was first published. It is essentially a book about change and the need for us to change with it. “We need to do different things and do them differently.”

QUESTION: Who is your favorite author, and why?
MICHAEL McKINNEY: My favorite author for business is Peter Drucker. I was introduced to him by my Dad. Drucker’s insights are timeless and not confined to business and management but to life as well. In reading Drucker, you get a lesson on critical thinking and finding the right perspective. Reading Drucker changes the way you think.

QUESTION: What book did you read in high school or college that, to this day, you still remember vividly, and why?
MICHAEL McKINNEY: I’ve always done a lot of reading. The novels by Louis L’Amour are some of the most memorable. I began with Reilly’s Luck and Sitka and ended up reading them all. Some more than once. His novels are more than the story. They are full of wisdom and insights into human nature.

My Dad knew Louis, and when I was in college, I accompanied him to lunch with Louis at the Polo Lounge in the Beverly Hills Hotel in his corner booth. Louis wrote, “Reading without thinking is as nothing, for a book is less important for what it says than for what it makes you think.” His books make you think.

QUESTION: Do you intersperse fiction with your business reading? If yes, what was the last work of fiction that you read?
MICHAEL McKINNEY: I try to have a fiction book going along with everything else I read. I give my mind a chance to work on the non-fiction I read. These days, I mostly choose thrillers and espionage novels or go back and reread one of the classics. The best authors have done their research and provide some insights into international politics. I just finished Brad Thor’s Dead Fall.

QUESTION: If you created a nonprofit organization to promote reading to children and young adults, what would you name it, and why?
MICHAEL McKINNEY: I would call it “Reading for Life” based on the idea that reading is critical to living life and it is for the duration of your life—essential and life-long.

I am an eclectic reader and have encouraged my son and others – especially the young – to do the same. Reading is best taught by example, and encouraging parents to read to their children and to be seen reading is the best way to pass the joy of reading to the next generation. The benefits of reading go far beyond the act of reading alone.

SHARE THIS: The benefits of reading go far beyond the act of reading alone. ~@LeadershipNow #Reading #DebbieLaskeysBlog

My gratitude to Michael for participating in this year’s fall back to reading series and for sharing his inspiring recommendations!

Image Credit: Joshua Woroniecki via Unsplash.

Connect with Michael at these links:
X (formerly Twitter):

Check out Michael's previous appearance here on this Blog:

The Alignment Between Leaders, Leadership, and Culture (July 2021)

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