The Books that Shape Us

Last week (on August 26) Women's Equality Day—a day commemorating the contributions of the women's suffrage movement—got a lot of news coverage. In our modern age with numerous nationally recognized female political figures, we may find it difficult to remember that less than 100 years ago, women could not even vote in the U.S. And yet, while we have made progress in attaining measures of equality in some areas such as the right to vote, at the same time women lag behind in many other areas.

Take, for example, the recent list that was propagated all over the Internet, entitled "Top Books Every Young Influencer/Leader Should Read?". The question was posed by marketing consultants Daniel Decker and Jason Young, who sent it largely via Twitter to their followers and to other key influencers they knew, resulting in more than 200 responses from people who picked their top 5 choices.

As I scanned the list, I saw the typical business-management-leadership books that tend to top these kinds of surveys, such as Jim Collins' Good to Great, as well as the names of prominent Christian leaders and thinkers such as Bill Hybels, John Maxwell, and C.S. Lewis. Newer books such as Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers made the list, as well as those considered time-management classics (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey.) I internally nodded at the choices, tweeted the list to others, and moved on with my day.

My more astute sisters in Christ, however, picked up on the fact that of the top 33 books that made the list, none were written by women.

While women authors write about leadership and management, they certainly don't as extensively as men do—particularly not Christian women authors.

But I also think a big reason the list skewed largely male in terms of authorship is because the survey respondents were also likely male. I am guessing that if the same question were posed to a group of female Christian leaders, the responses would be different.

So, I want to put the same exact question out to you, the readers of the Gifted for Leadership blog: What are the books that have had significant impact on you and your leadership style? You can also think of question in this way: "Which books have had the most impact and influence in my own life as a female Christian leader?"

These books do not have to be leadership books per se; they do not have to be just non-fiction, or by Christian authors or even by female authors.

Please let your friends know about this survey, and let's see if we can get at least 200 responses ourselves. I'm fascinated to see what will emerge.

We look forward to your responses!

August 31, 2010 at 2:52 PM

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