I read this book some years ago but it still is one of my favourites when it comes to books about self management and project management. The book by Frank Arnold covers how successful people managed to reach their goals, how they decided which paths to follow and and how they avoided falling into pitfalls. The book is organised in short chapters, each chapter focusing on one personality, exemplifying one management concept based on the biography of the given personality.The book does not only focus on persons from today but also has a look at people from other epochs, like Michelangelo, who always refused to be called a painter, but strived for working as a sculptor. He knew that his paintings were awesome, but he also knew that nobody could create a David the way he could. The book therefore takes Michelangelo as an example of why it is important to focus on this one single thing in which you excel.
There are also interesting quotes in the book – like at the end of the chapter about Camille Pisarro and Paul Cézanne: The author states the importance of having wise conversational partners and in order to substantiate his point collected some quotes from people who should know how to make the right decisions. The quotes are something like:
Know the skills and capacities you do not have and hire people who have them.
Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks
Real discipline shows when you say no to the wrong chances.
Jim Collins, Author
Of course, Frank Arnold does not reinvent the wheel with his book and if you have already read twenty-something books about self management then you probably won´t find any new answers here. But everyone else could learn quite a lot out of this, especially because it covers a lot of different areas and because it is a fast read.
I have read the german version of the book and it has a little bit different title in english, but it seems to be the same book. You can find What Makes Great Leaders Great on Amazon (I´m not getting paid for this link, I just think that it is helpful).