Wednesday, December 20, 2023

FALL BACK TO READING SERIES – Featuring Kevin Eikenberry

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 Kevin Eikenberry.

Kevin Eikenberry is the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group. He has spent 30 years helping organizations and leaders from over 50 countries become more effective, and Global Gurus has listed him on the list of most influential thinkers on leadership for the last two years. His books include: Remarkable Leadership, From Bud to Boss, and The Long-Distance Leader, The Long-Distance Teammate, and his newest, The Long-Distance Team.

QUESTION: Which three business books have made the biggest impact on your career?
KEVIN EIKENBERRY: This is a great question, and when you read 70+ business books a year (and I have most years in the last 35), it is useful to step back and think about this. I have learned so much from so many, and in so many different parts of my own learning journey. Let me answer with three books, in three different areas of focus. I’m picking books I read further back because they have had a longer time to provide guidance, and impact. And I have read each of these more than once.

(1) Flawless Consulting by Peter Block. This book helped me understand what it means to consult successfully (I’m confident I haven’t been flawless), and pointed me towards a myriad of skills I have worked to build ever since my first reading.

(2) In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters and Bob Waterman. In many ways, this book created the genre of business books as a major category. It helped me understand the importance of how to do research and create models, methodologies that have helped me throughout my career – but also the content itself helped me shape my perspectives.

(3) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. A classic in every sense of the word. I continue to work to build and strengthen these habits everyday.

QUESTION: Who is your favorite author, and why?
KEVIN EIKENBERRY: Such hard questions, Debbie! All the authors mentioned in my other answers are on my list of favorite authors, so I will add two not yet mentioned – and both are fiction authors (though you will soon learn I don’t read much fiction anymore): James Michener - I have read most of his epic historical fiction, starting in the 8th grade; and Og Mandino, whose short parable books are among the most memorable and powerful that I have ever read.

QUESTION: What book did you read in high school or college that, to this day, you still remember vividly, and why?
KEVIN EIKENBERRY: Again, narrowing it down to one is difficult, so I will go with the first one I thought of. I was in high school the first time I read See You at the Top by Zig Ziglar. I still have my notes – as my first reading was from a book in the library. I have since (long) learned that some books aren’t best for me to get from the library, but to own so I can mark up, write in, and use - not just read. Zig helped frame my mindset with that book (and so many others), and ultimately getting to know him a bit was a highlight of my professional life.   

QUESTION: Do you intersperse fiction with your business reading? If yes, what was the last work of fiction that you read, and what caught your attention about it?
KEVIN EIKENBERRY: I do not read much fiction, but I am not proud of that fact! Reading about 50 books/year to prepare for my conversations on The Remarkable Leadership Podcast (link below) is one reason, but that's mostly an excuse. Whenever I do read fiction, I gain value from the perspective about human nature and historical contexts, as well as the enjoyment of it.

QUESTION: If you created a nonprofit organization to promote reading to children and young adults, what would you name it, and why?
KEVIN EIKENBERRY: I’ve never thought about this – but promoting reading and literacy is certainly a worthy goal. Since the phrase Reading is FUNdamental is taken, I would want something that spoke to both the value and enjoyment of reading. Either reason for reading is enough, but when you put the lifetime benefits alongside the sheer enjoyment, it is a power life habit. Maybe something like: Read for Fun, Read for Life.


SHARE THIS: When you put the lifetime benefits of reading alongside the sheer enjoyment, it is a power life habit. ~@KevinEikenberry #DebbieLaskeysBlog #Reading

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

Image Credit: Gaetano Cessati via Unsplash.

Read Kevin's previous appearance here on my Blog:
Effective Leaders Don't Need to be the Smartest Person in the Room (June 2021)

Connect with Kevin at these links:
X (formerly Twitter): @KevinEikenberry

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