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Great Leaders - Inspirational Lessons in Leadership

Who are the great leaders in history and what have they got to teach us today about the nature and practice of leadership? John Adair explores a wide range of inspiring leaders, from Lao Tzu and Machiavelli, to Thatcher and Mandela.


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In this stimulating and rewarding book John Adair poses the questions, who are the great leaders in history and what have they got to teach us today about the nature and practice of leadership?

In asking to what degree true leadership can be identified and developed, he explores the make-up and achievements of historic leaders. He explores the cardinal qualities of inspiring, communicating and decision making but he also touches on the value of humour, intuition and imagination.

This thought-provoking book is a unique approach to leadership by a writer internationally acknowledged as a major influence on leadership studies. There are points to ponder throughout the book, helping to draw out the lessons and concepts for the reader. 

It features among others: Alexander the Great, Amundsen, Attila, Attlee, Bevan, Boudicca, Mike Brearley, Caesar, Churchill, de Gaulle, Einstein, Eisenhower, Elizabeth I, Gandhi, Sir Edmund Hillary, Ho Chih Min, Hsun-Tzu, Jefferson, Jesus, Jonnah, Kennedy, Lao Tzu, Lincoln, Machiavelli, Mandela, Montgomery, Mosley, Napoleon, Nehru, Nixon, Pericles, Plato, Reagan, F D Roosevelt, St Paul, Scott, Shackleton, Socrates, Washington, Wellington and Xenophon. 



Part One

  • Leadership through knowledge
  • Leadership skills
  • The servant leader
  • The ability to give direction
  • Making the right decisions
  • The art of inspiring while informing

Part Two

  • The roots of British tradition
  • The gentleman leader
  • Nelson
  • Polar explorers
  • Leadership in a changing world

Part Three

  • Charisma
  • Women as leaders
  • Styles of leadership
  • Leaders for tomorrow

Select bibliography



‘Any of us who aspire to, and recognize the need for some form of leadership can only improve our performance by studying the past. John Adair’s latest book is a valuable addition to the thinking that has gone into the subject… I believe that it is a ‘must read’ book .. He is without doubt one of the foremost thinkers on the subject in the world.’

Sir John Harvey-Jones, leading industrialist and ex-CEO of ICI

‘I discovered once again how rare it is to come upon a book about leaders with depth, conceptual bite and historical context. It was a relief and a joy.’

Warren Bennis, major US management guru and writer


John Adair

John Adair is internationally acknowledged as having had a significant influence on management and leadership development in both the business and military spheres. He has seen military service, lectured at Sandhurst, worked extensively as a consultant, held professorships in Leadership Studies and authored critically acclaimed management and leadership books which have sold in their hundreds of thousands. He has lectured at conferences all over the world.

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eBook ISBN-13: 9781854189189
Pages: 0
GBP 8.99
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Paperback ISBN-13: 9781854189172
Pages: 376
Size: 156x234mm
GBP 18.99 Buy at Amazon UK

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