CityLife Arts

Why it is important to read good books in order to lead right

By CityLife Arts Writer

We cannot underestimate how critical strong leadership is in all aspects of our lives. It enables us to run our lives, homes, communities, workplaces and nations. Given its importance, it is pertinent to ask: What is the source of good leadership?

Albert Einstein once said, ‘The only source of knowledge is experience.’ Many philosophers have observed this and, if we accept experience as the only source of knowledge, can we extend this conclusion to leadership? Or is the basis of good leadership intuition or instinct? Or is it perhaps a combination of these?

If leadership is derived from knowledge and knowledge is derived from experience, the ‘experience’ in this book is from 50 books that Tshilidzi Marwala has read, and so the source of knowledge informing leadership is the collective experience of the more than 50 accomplished authors who wrote those books including, among others, Chinua Achebe, Thomas Sankara, NoViolet Bulawayo, Nelson Mandela, Mandla Mathebula, Eugène Marais, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Daniel Kahneman, Karl Marx, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Nassim Taleb and Aristotle.

In Leadership Lessons from Books I Have ReadTshilidzi Marwala adopts the thesis that the source of good leadership is knowledge, and the source of knowledge is experience, which can take many forms – reading widely, listening, and engaging in discussion and debate with other knowledge seekers.

Professor Marwala has sought to understand what good leadership should mean by drawing on the collective experience of authors who have written on many topics.  Says former President Thabo Mbeki about this new book.

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