Read to Lead, the partnership between CSUN Athletics and the Delmar T. Oviatt Library, brings together many of CSUN’s campus leaders to discuss books that have influenced their own leadership skills.
Mark Stover, dean of the Oviatt Library, and Brandon Martin, director of CSUN Athletics, are two of the 17 leaders set to take part in these presentations — the first of which takes place at 9 a.m. Nov. 18 in the library’s Ferman Presentation Room. President Dianne F. Harrison will be one of the presenters, all of whom chose a book that they will discuss in this open forum.
The Nov. 18 program is the first of the bi-monthly events, which also will take place in January, March and May. Here is a selection of quotes from the guest speakers about the books they will discuss:
“Some of the classics provide enduring lessons about leadership. In one of my favorite books, To Kill A Mockingbird, the character Atticus Finch demonstrates that one must follow one’s moral compass and do what is right, regardless of the popular or cultural beliefs. Atticus brought about important change by forcing others to actually think about their behaviors and actions. He demonstrated incredible integrity and respect for all.”
President Dianne F. Harrison on To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
“I was inspired by this book because each day, I have to make a choice to get better. It changed my outlook on leadership, on life and added perspective.”
Director of Athletics Brandon Martin on Mindset by Carol Dweck
“I look at Lyndon Johnson and say there are healthy ways to demonstrate power, leadership and authority. There also are unhealthy ways. This book is an inspirational story for me, but it’s also a cautionary tale.”
Dean of Oviatt Library Mark Stover on The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert Caro
“The books I’ve read have helped me with my own leadership [and] understanding that there are a lot of mechanisms that you have to tap in to. But the main mechanism is people. The main mechanism is communicating, and there’s always an underlying conversation about sincerity, and how respect and sincerity go hand in hand. Coach Pitino always said, you can grind your guys hard if they believe in you. The only way they can believe in you is if they feel a sincere passion coming from you.”
CSUN men’s basketball coach Reggie Theus on The One-Day Contract by Rick Pitino
“Drucker is masterful in teaching with clarity that in order for you to be effective, you have to get the right things done. … The book was an eyeopener in that Drucker teaches effectiveness can and must be learned.”
Associate Vice President of Financial Services Deborah Wallace on The Effective Executive by Peter F. Drucker
“This story about young college-age runners represents pursuing whatever your perfect mile is. … Seize the opportunity to do something that is going to stretch you and encourage you to try something that others haven’t accomplished. … You’ll have to work hard and do your very best. As a result, I think bigger and tell our students they also have the capacity to think big — and they can control their destiny.”
Steven Loy, kinesiology professor and founder of 100 Citizens Program, on The Perfect Mile by Neal Bascomb
“Purple Cow is a great merger of the practical and theoretical. It influenced me as a leader with the idea of thinking differently, the need to stand out and the need to think critically, not following the herd.”
Associate Vice President, Marketing and Communications Jeff Noblitt on Purple Cow by Seth Godin
“There isn’t one way to lead. One just needs to be self-reflective, which means remembering to not let your ego get in the way. One can find leadership lessons from past historical figures, as they offer windows into different perspectives that still resonate in today’s world. … We have a tendency to forget what has happened before, when we need to learn from it.”
Associate Vice President of Undergraduate Studies Elizabeth Adams on The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell.
“Colin Powell shared three important messages in one of his ‘stories’ in the book: He communicated the need to get up and walk around and meet folks; that every role in the organization is critical to its success; and the importance of being kind and treating others well.”
Chief of Staff, Office of the President Jill Smith on It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership by Colin Powell
“Reading this book forces the reader to ask the important questions that every leader needs to reflect upon: ‘Who do I want to become?’ and ‘How will I achieve what I want to do?’”
CSUN baseball coach Greg Moore on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Steven Covey
“This book appealed to me because it looked at the paradox of the big picture, big vision and the small details in making sure it happens.”
Executive Director of USU Debra Hammond on The Corporate Mystic: A Guidebook for Visionaries with Their Feet on the Ground by Gay Hendricks
“This book reminds you that anything is possible as long as you have a clear vision and goals. Setbacks are part of the process for achieving goals. How you deal with those setbacks determines your success.
Something that seems impossible can be achieved if you break it into small pieces. This is important to remember when you’re working in a large bureaucracy.”
CSUN Director of Environmental Health and Safety Ron Norton on No Picnic on Mt. Kenya by Felice Benuzzi. Photo by Lee Choo.
“This poem is full of paradoxes — being true to yourself, but also listening to those who doubt you; letting all things matter to you, but none too much; walking with kings, but not losing the common touch.”
CSUN women’s golf coach Gina Umeck on If by Rudyard Kipling
“Despite having been written during the Great Depression, this book includes timeless lessons and tips. It shows that humans will be humans, despite everything around us changing. To succeed, you have to know how to talk to people, and this book helped me learn how to do that. This books is so good, because you can apply its lessons in any situation, whether that’s at work, in class or an academic club.”
Chair of Associated Students Athletics Octavio Cortes on How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie