Learning About Leaders

I am not a great follower of politics nor of modern history (modern meaning anything after the Roman Empire, ;-) I'm an ancient history freak). I've been fascinated by Barack Obama, not just from the plain emotional freedom from the Bush years he represents, but also his steady rise as a leader in my mind. By that I mean the way in which he made myself and many, many other people believe that he is a leader for me. What makes great leaders? What makes people rally and believe in an individual, faults and all? This doesn't just happen in politics, though that is a great stage. There are leaders in every walk of life. Humans are social creatures and wherever people come together, there is potential for great leadership. I see it in the Open Source world that consumes most of my waking hours, I see it within my company and the business world, local communities, groups of friends, and families.

It seems to be something I ponder a lot these days so I'd like to learn more about what this means and who these people are. Does anyone have suggestions for good books or movies that don't just tell a story about a leader but actually have insight into how they tick? What struggles did they have with their role? How did they become a leader; by goal or chance? I'm also interested in science/anthropological books about leadership as well. If you have suggestions, please let me know in the comments.


I'll definitely suggest you to take a look at "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu; I believe you'll enjoy reading it since its application go beyond military fields.

And, I'll also suggest you to NEVER! NEVER! read a book or an essay about the leadership mechanisms applied in the UN (United Nations); just because the VETO right doesn't have its synonym in the FOSS community world ;-)

You're a Permanent Member in the Drupal Association wright Addy? So, tell me; do have a VETO like right?! (P.S: hope not :D)


Hm, well I personally can't veto anything. A PM can call a General Assembly to review a board vote if they have enough support. It is our job to review the board's decisions and make sure they align with the greater community's needs. We are also involved in all of the board meetings and are part of the discussion before they vote. I'm honestly not familiar with the formal workings of the UN or their veto powers, so can't really speak to your concern.

Quite democratic at Drupal! Which is good to hear ;-)

And for the UN stuff; well, that was just for fun Addi :D

Hi Addi,
Great work done on this front.. Using drupal is a boon for newbies!!

i always remember a saying that goes, "a good leader is a good follower." no one can actually say he is a good leader if he does not know how to follow. the usual good leader always starts from nothing.

Great leadership is all too rare on this planet. It is not surprising that there are not many good books on leadership.

One of my favorite authors on this topic is Steven Covey. He has not only studied many of the great leaders in the world, he breaks there success down into 7 easy to remember habits. If you can embrace all 7 of these (I am still working on this), you will be well on you way to being a great leader.