What makes a leader? Ideas. Courage. Contact with great thinkers. What makes a Christian leader? Great ideas, courage, and contact with great thinkers shaped by the gospel. So, I offer to you a list of my top ten books for leaders, and none of the titles of these books have the word "leader" or "leadership" in it. Some of these are overtly Christian classics; others are not. These books have the ability to swell the chest, flood the mind, and reshape how we see the world around us – and a gospel-reshaping of these great works can inspire a leader to new levels.
From the classical world, though one could choose all sorts of great works, I recommend a soaking in Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, to see how the great philosopher constructed a set of ethics that shaped the Western world. Homer told the story of Odysseus and Virgil in The Aeneid. Homer's story came into the Roman world and gave to all of us the power of a journey into ideas and ideals, sanctifying place and history. Dante took Homer and Virgil to the next level in his Divine Comedy, and if you follow him all the way down into the inferno, up through purgatory and then climb into the swirling glorious presence of God you will find new dimensions to life's journey.
I've heard the case made that St. Augustine's Confessions reshaped the entire Western world, not least in his probing of his own soul and conscience, but I'm confident that the great North African can lead each of us to the potent truth of original sin and the need to read our lives before God. Not long ago I began to re-read John Milton, Paradise Lost, and was mesmerized not only by his language and meter, but by the brilliance of his vision for the cosmic battle of human life.
No one on this side of the ...