Saturday, May 12, 2007

Taking Suggestions

I am reading Lee Iaccoca's new book Where Have All the Leaders Gone? It's not a difficult read, in fact it's practically a pamphlet. Of course, were it not for a pamphlet we may have the Queen on our currency today. I've been having a hard time fitting reading into my kid-infested life lately and I really miss it. So I've set a goal. Inspired by Joy's goal to read a biography of every American president in order, I've decided to spend the next 12 months reading books penned by the world's greatest leaders (but in no particular order and they don't have to have been president...really, it's nothing like what Joy's been doing except that I'm picking a theme.)

There was a time when I read about 100 books a year but that is an era I now think of as my bygone Subway Days. Sadly, I think it's ambitious of me to select even 24 books for a one year period right now, but that's just what I'll do anyway. So then. Which books? I need suggestions. Serious ones smarty pants(es). My only rules are that the books must be written by (as least ostensibly) the leader him or herself - no biographies, please. And I while I will read the works of people who, on principle, I think I generally disagree with, I will not read anything by any pundits. I want real leaders. From all walks of life - Gandhi, Betty Friedan, Warren Buffet and Abraham Lincoln - for example. Oh, and I don't want people who've proven themselves to be leaders, but for evil. In other words, no Mein Kampf. I'll save that for when I've chosen a theme of Crazy People That Got Published. That, of course, will have to wait until I'm back up to speed on my reading.

Got any suggestions?


Anonymous said...

Great book. I'm currently reading it also. As for a suggestion; have you read Sidney Poitier's "The Measure of a Man"?

Farrago_NW said...

Bob Dylan's "Chronicles, vol 1" is my suggestion. It's no crazy "rock-n-roll day in the life" thing. Instead, he successfully portrays the influences in his life, both nature and nurture, that caused/allowed him to create his own art. You get a great picture of him as a regular person, rather than as the Voice of a Generation. But, much more significantly for me, it made me more aware of my own influences and my influence on others. And, best of all, it's really beautifully written.

In a Rolling Stone interview he said something to the effect of, "I've never paid any attention to reviews of my music, because reviewers aren't really a part of my world as a musical artist. But some of the reviews of my book actually made me cry, because these were writers, writing about my writing."

Brooklyn Volunteer said...

"Indira" by Katherine Frank. She did not contribute to it because she was asassinated but it has many of her letters. She was an amazing leader.
Other good bios (but not leadears) are Garcia Marquez, Orhan Pamuk and Mary Cassat(honors motherhood in her paintings).
Joy's idea is great. Woodrow Wilson is my fave.

Farrago_NW said...

Thought of another one: Wole Soyinka's "You Must Set Forth At Dawn."

Farrago_NW said...

Oh, thought of another one -- though it's a stretch to call it an autobiography: Rilke's "Letters to a Young Poet."