Leaders are Learners and Learners are Readers/Listeners/Bloggers/Thinkers

November 28, 2009 — 3 Comments

The most important aspect to growing as a leader is to learn from those who have been there before you. But there’s more to it than that. Because it’s been done before and someone is successful, you can bet there are others trying to reproduce what was successful in the past. Thus you’re not the first to market and therefore not an industry leader. So how do you learn from the leaders of yesterday and come up with new an innovative products, services, ideas, etc?

I am selective in who I follow. Simply because I do not have time to let average Joes influence my life. I need leaders who are secure in themselves and are proven experts at what they do to pour into and help me grow. The most important thing I try to stress with the people I pour in to is to THINK for yourself. There is nothing more frustrating and limiting than people who repeat what was already said without given it any thought to what it means in their life. They tell a boring story. If you want to be a leader in tomorrow’s world, your story needs to be compelling, interesting and unique. If you just repeat what you read, you’re not doing any of these things.

Below is the list of Blogs, Podcasts, Twitter, and books I have read this year. Also you’ll find my 2010 reading list started. I am always looking for new interesting leaders to follow, please send me your suggestions so I can continue to grow and learn.

Sorry for the long post. I read a lot of inforamtion. I have grown because of it. If you’re not reading, take anything from the below lists and explore it. You’ll be amazed at how it changes your life.

Who do you follow and allow to pour into your life? Why?

Twitter Leaders (in no order):

Max Lucado


Great writer and is an outstanding communicator/leader/family man

Pastor Robey Barnes



Awesome young pastor (lead pastor at my church) with a true heart for God. I challenge you to listen to his teaching on the West Pines webpage. He’s one to watch.

Pastor Garland Robinson


Garland is a great leader who pours his heart into others through incredible leadership and encouragement. Our son went on 2 missions trips to Peru with Garland. He’s a real man in the real world. Garland also has a blog, but he doesn’t update often.

Harvard Business Review


HBR – enough said

Giant Impact


These guys provide great leadership quotes

Jack Welch


There’s isn’t a leadership and business guru like Jack. He always has impactful tweets

John Piper


A true biblical theologian with tremendous biblical knowledge and understanding. He will challenge your thinking.

Michael Hyatt


Michael is a wired CEO of a large publishing company. He’s fantastic to follow because he embraces the social networking revolution and gives away as much as he can. If you plan to ever write a book, I suggest you follow this guy!

National Academies Press


The National Academies publishes the latest from various academic thinkers and groups. They play a large role in public policy making and many of their recommendations for policy become law or Presidential Orders (these guys played a large role in Pres. Obama’s Stem Cell Policy)

Blog Leaders (in no order):

Michael Hyatt


Michael is the only Twitter Leader that I also follow his Blog. The posts are always bang-on. They’re always relevant and I typically learn something of each one. He also is helping men grow into whole persons, not just successful in business or writing.

Seth Godin


Seth is “the” marketing guru and probably most popular blogger in the world. But more importantly, he’s a thought leader. Seth is why I started this blog. His work as helped shape our business and the way we approach our marketing approach.

Sheri Mackey


While of course this is my wife and she has not officially started her blog yet, you’ll find that her insight and leadership in global business is unmatched anywhere. I am not overstating her ability and knowledge – she’s a winner and one to follow.

Michael Hyter


Mike is a great friend and an outstanding leader. Not only is he a diversity leader and expert, but he lives it out in his daily life. Mike is working on a new book and is President and CEO of Novations.

Melissa Mashburn


I read Melissa’s blog and recommend it for guys simply because it helps me understand my wife better. Melissa is an outstanding leader who loves her family and friends. She’s a tremendous networker and has interesting posts.

Pastor Mark Driscol


Pastor Mark is one of the countries next generation of Christian leaders. As the older pastors retire and fade from view, I am sure that Pastor Mark will emerge as one of the few top notice replacements. He’s outspoken, confrontational, and driven. The results at Mars Hill in Seattle says it all. I also follow Pastor Mark on Twitter, but not closely. He uses a Facebook fan page instead of twitter.

Tom Peters


I fell in love with Tom many years ago and have been a loyal follower ever since. He is cutting edge in his observations and drives the academics crazy – what more could you ask for?

Jeff Smith


Jeff is a man after God’s heart. He’s screwed up just like me and through his blog is telling a story to help others grow. He recently started, but has great ideas and hopefully will continue to share them with us.

Podcast Leaders (in no order):

Mark Driscol


Pastor Mark is the only blog leader that I also subscribe to his podcast. If you listen once, you’ll understand. His teaching is not for the faint of heart. He “brings it” every week. I am challenged and left thinking after most sermons he teaches.

Wall Street Journal on Small Business



The Wall Street Journal is the world’s leader in global business and leadership. There’s no better source to learn from for business

Book Leaders (my 2009 book reading list):

Fifty Reasons Why Christ Came to Die

John Piper

Very brief, but deep thinking here.

The King’s Stilts

Dr. Suess

Pastor Robey Barnes gave Sheri and I this book – I’m still trying to understand why.


Permission Marketing

Seth Godin

Seth will make you think about the world in a new way.

Animal Spirits

Akerlof & Shiller

Academic look at the financial meltdown of 2008 and the real cause of bubbles. A must read to understanding how it happens.

Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl

N.D. Wilson

This is a great book pointing out God’s splendor in everything.


Jack and Suzy Welch

An enjoyable read and helps you think through the roadblocks ahead and how a real world leader made it through.


Max Lucado

Max gives a roadmap to living a fearless life and making the most out of everything

The Externally Focused Church

Rusaw and Swanson

A Great resource to get your church focusing on the community instead of itself.

How Successful People Think;

Putting Your Dream to the Test;

Failing Forward

John C. Maxwell

Maxwell’s books are great examples of how to lead in the real world. I recommend just about anything he puts out, but beware a lot of the newest titles are repeats from his older books. Either buy the older full version, or the new smaller broken down versions.

If you made it this far, congratulations! You get to read the most IMPORTANT books I use and read. The Bible. I read from 3 versions. The New Living Translation (NLT); The King James; and The New International Version (NIV). I find by having all 3 available that I get a better understanding of the message God is communication to me.

In 2010, I plan to read:

  • the entire Bible – God
  • Mentor like Jesus – Regi Cambell
  • Desiring God – John Piper
  • The Little Engine that Could – Not sure, but Mary C. Jacobs’ version will be the one I read
  • Fool’s Gold – Gillian Tett
  • The Art of the Idea – John Hunt

What have I missed? Send me your suggestions!



3 responses to Leaders are Learners and Learners are Readers/Listeners/Bloggers/Thinkers


    Steve, this is so great to read. Thank you for sharing this with all of your 'fans'. Providing vision as a leader is a critical feature, but it's important to see the role is 'servant leadership'. When people know you really care about them, it breeds loyalty which is creates long term and sustainable performance….I'm honored to be included on your list. Bless you manMike


    How about Stephen Covey.I'm just reading the 7 habits. He has a lot of great info. I just worked on my personal mission statement the other night, I refered to your manifesto numerous times. Thanks for the insperation.Jeff Rhinehart


    Great point Sean! I left Covey off the list because I haven't read any of his work in the past year.Mike:The honor is mine my friend.Thanks for commenting guys!Steve

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s