Though everyone has a role in society, an especially important and honored role is that of leader. The strength of a society can depend on it.
- Ron Chernow, Washington: A Life (Penguin Press, 2010).
- T. Ferris, Great Leaders: Historic Portraits from the Great Historians (1889).
- Nancy Goldstone, The Lady Queen: The Notorious Reign of Joanna I, Queen of Naples, Jerusalem and Sicily (Walker & Company, 2009).
- Marie Arana, Bolívar: American Liberator (Simon & Schuster, 2013). “ . . . he assumed the magnificent title of ‘Liberator and Dictator.’”
- Daniel Kurtz-Phelan, The China Mission: George Marshall’s Unfinished War, 1945-1947 (W.W. Norton & Company, 2018): this book “tells the story of Marshall’s unsuccessful mission to China. Thoroughly researched and compellingly written, it is at once a revealing study of character and leadership, a vivid reconstruction of a critical episode in the history of the early Cold War and an insightful meditation on the limits of American power even at its peak.”
- Doris Kearns Goodwin, Leadership: In Turbulent Times (Simon & Schuster, 2018): a leadership study on four United States presidents.
- Andrew Roberts, Churchill: Walking With Destiny (Viking, 2018): a mammoth one-volume biography
- William Manchester and Paul Reid, The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill (a biographical trilogy): Visions of Glory, 1874-1932 (Little, Brown and Company, 1984); Alone, 1932-1940 (Bantam, 1988); Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965 (Little, Brown and Company, 2012).
- Robert Middlekauff, Washington’s Revolution: The Making of America’s First Leader (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015): “Washington was energetic, commanding and relentless; once he set his mind to anything, he saw it through. At the same time, he was capable of great self-restraint, rarely giving way to impulses that might prove reckless. Washington’s complementary character traits did not fire off and on, like strobe lights, but worked together to achieve what Middlekauff calls ‘a prevailing steadiness.’”
- Erik Larson, The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz (Crown, 2020): “How Churchill Brought Britain Back From the Brink”
From the dark side:
- Eric A. Posner, The Demagogue’s Playbook: The Battle for American History from the Founders to Trump (All Points, 2020): “Is Donald Trump a Danger to Democracy?”
Documentary and Educational Films
- The Island President: chronicling the brief presidency of Mohamed Nasheed, of the Maldives, who tried valiantly to save his tiny island-nation from the ravages of global warming, which threatens to submerge the islands
Film and Stage
- Henry V: Shakespeare’s historical-dramatic exploration of the “nature of leadership and its relationship to morality”. The two greatest film versions star Lawrence Olivier and Kenneth Branagh
- Mutiny on the Bounty: a commander without judgment or emotional stability
- Danton, a “powerful story about the ethical boundaries of power and leadership”
- Moonlighting: leadership gone awry
Music: Composers, artists, and major works
Jazz drummer Art Blakey mentored a wealth of young musicians who went on to become jazz greats in their own right. In music, he was a true leader by example, and in his distribution of solo riffs to his players.
- Live in Belgium (1958)
- “First Flight to Tokyo: The Lost 1961 Recordings”
- Live at Ronnie Scott’s
- Live in ‘65 (1965)
- Live in San Remo (1963)
- Live in Paris (1965)
- Live in Tokyo (1961)
- The Art of Jazz, with Terrence Blanchard and Freddie Hubbard (1989)
- “Caravan” album
- “Free For All” album (1964)
- “The Complete Blue Note Recordings” boxed set
- “Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers” album
- “Indestructible” album (1964)
- “The Witch Doctor” album (1961)
- “Gypsy Folk Tales” album (1977)
- “Rutgers University, NJ, April 15, 1969” album
- “A Day with Art Blakey 1961” album
- “Just Coolin’” album
- “A Night in Tunisia” album
- “3 Blind Mice” album
- “Backgammon” album
- “Live in Stockholm 1959” album
- “At Free Trade Hall 1961” album
- “Blue Night” album
- Kalliwoda, String Quartets: composed in the brilliant (as opposed to classical) string quartet style, the first violinist is the star and clear leader.
- Kuhlau, Flute Quintets, Op. 51 (1822)
- Kuhlau, Flute Sonatas, Op. 69, Op. 79, Op. 83, Op. 85.
- Ortiz, Recercadas del Trattado de Glosas (1553)
- Boris Lyatoshynsky, “Grazhyna”, Op. 58 (1955), is a symphonic poem based on the epic poem “Grażyna” by Adam Mickiewicz, about a chieftainess who leads her people into war against the Tuetonic Order.
- Miles Davis Quintet, “Live in Europe 1967” double album: Belgium, Antwerp and Copenhagen; Sweden; Germany
- Brave New World Trio (David Murray, Brad Jones & Hamid Drake), “Seriana Promethea” (2022) (58’): Murray leads the way on saxophone. “David Murray is a fiery legendary saxophonist who worked with countless bands of varying sizes. Here, he’s seen at the front of the Brave New World Trio, whose elan takes the form of a powerhouse concoction of familiar and fresh sounds. Flanked by bassist Brad Jones and drummer Hamid Drake, Murray wrote seven of the eight pieces on the record.”
- Etaf Rum, A Woman Is No Man: A Novel (Harper/HarperCollins Publishers, 2019): “There’s a burden that comes with being among the first of your kind; the potential for misinterpretation is too great to leave much to chance.” (Sometimes leadership consists of being the first to do something.”