Leadership Stories, Fiction and Nonfiction

Last Night at the Lobster
by Stewart O’Nan (2007)

O’Nan writes a short novel here about a Red Lobster manager who is forced to close his restaurant and accept a reassignment to a nearby Olive Garden. You could teach an entire leadership course based on this 160-page novel, and you will probably be compelled to finish the book in one sitting.

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How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learned to Live Like Everyone Else
by Michael Gates Gill (2007)

The true story of how a laid-off corporate executive creates a completely different—and completely fulfilling—new life behind the counter at Starbucks.

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The Pentagon: A History
by Steve Vogel (2007)

It defies logic that a book about the construction of a federal office building could read like a gripping fiction novel. And yet, Vogel’s book will pull you in and speed you along with the eccentric and compelling characters who raced against the clock to build the Pentagon.

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The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring
by Richard Preston (2007)

A delightful nonfiction book about a motley crew of scientists, oddballs, and tree lovers who attempt to locate and then climb the tallest redwood trees in the world. Each page entertains and catapults you to the high canopy.

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Simple Courage: A True Story of Peril on the Sea
by Frank Delaney (2006)

Delaney’s book tells the story of a Danish ship captain, Kurt Carlsen, who wouldn’t abandon his sinking freighter after it was hit by two rogue waves and started literally coming apart at the seams in the winter of 1951. This book makes you feel like you are on the doomed ship with Carlsen and therefore is not recommended for reading if you happen to be on a cruise.

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The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit
by Sloan Wilson (1955)

A classic fiction novel where you will quickly find yourself rooting for the main character and sincerely hoping that his life will somehow work itself out. Don’t let the age of this book scare you off—this book will grab you.

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The Gay Place
by Billy Lee Brammer (1961)

A classic set of three interrelated fiction stories describing Hill Country politics in the mid-1900s. The characters pull you in and the laughs pull you along. Any resemblance to politicians in the Texas Hill Country area is purely coincidental.

Purchase: Indiebound | Amazon