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MG JP McGee Recommends Five Books All Leaders Should Read

Major General J.P. McGee, Army Talent Management Task Force Director, briefs candidates of Cohort 1 of the Colonel Command Assessment Program on what the expectations are of both the candidates and cadre at Fort Knox, Kentucky, September 10, 2020. The Army is using programs like CCAP to take a multidimensional view of its top performing offices to complement the Centralized Selection List board and add new, relevant information. (U.S. Army Photo by Staff Sgt. Daniel Schroeder, Army Talent Management Task Force)

In the third episode of our second season, From the Green Notebook sits down with the Director of the Army Talent Management Task Force, Major General JP McGee, to discuss the purpose, construct and future of the Commander Assessment Program, as well as the results of the Army’s most recent Battalion Commander’s Assessment Program released January 21, 2021. Most importantly, MG McGee shares his leadership perspective and provides some great advice for leaders.

During the podcast, we asked Major General McGee to recommend some books for leaders he finds useful for self-development. Below, you will find a few of the titles he believes are important to develop your leadership skills and understand the nuances of leadership at the more senior levels.

We Were Soldiers Once…and Young: Ia Drang – The Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam by Joseph L. Galloway (2004) Joe Galloway relays Lieutenant General (R) Hal Moore’s story of his time serving as a battalion commander of 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, fighting against a numerically superior force in Ia Drang, Vietnam. MG McGee recommends this book to understand the overarching principles and qualities the Army expects from battalion commanders.

Range: How Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein (2019) – You may recognize this title from General Joseph Votel’s recently published reading list on FTGN. A #1 New York Times bestseller, Epstein suggests the right leaders for the future are people who are not merely specialized but have a broad range of experiences. MG McGee recommends this bestseller for insight into the way bringing together people with a broad range of perspectives and experiences is tremendously beneficial to solving problems in a complicated and complex world.

Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking by Matthew Syed (2020) – He recommends this book for its emphasis on bringing together teams that are both divergent and diverse in all sorts of different ways. If you want organizations that excel in complicated and complex environments, leaders need to surround themselves with people who provide a broad range of perspectives. Syed provides a compelling argument for diversity as an operational imperative.

Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling (2020) – A New York Times bestseller, MG McGee recommends Factfulness to better understand the reasons for our biases and how our blind spots can prevent us from making logical and rational decisions.

The 10 Laws of Trust: Building the Bonds that Make a Business Great by Joel Peterson (2016) – Highlighting the element of trust that needs to exist within any organization, MG McGee recommends this book to serve as a step by step guide, providing a series of actions leaders can take to ensure they build trust with their subordinates, peers, and superiors, a critical aspect of effective leadership.

If you’re looking for more professional reading options, sign up for Joe’s Monthly Reading List Email. Every month he sends out a newsletter to more than 3k subscribers with a list of 3-5 books that he’s reading. The email includes brief descriptions of the books and why he’s recommending them. The FTGN team also selects a winner from the list and sends them a book of their choice. So if you love books, check it out!

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