My Favorite 5! Leadership Book Reviews

Written By: Chad Toms, VP of National Sales, Sales

If you’ve ever met me, you know that I love to read.  This year, I have already read at least 12 books! I really enjoy books that display real-life examples of leadership.  The stories share special opportunities for growth through challenging times, all while facing adversity.  Leadership comes in many examples; a new leader stepping in, or stepping up, but always inspiring and teaching along the way.  My favorite books are true life stories where a leader starts a new company, takes over an existing company, or eve someone who is the coach of a sports team!  These are the leadership icons that get me fired up.

My #1 favorite is American Icon (Alan Mulally And The Fight To Save Ford Motor Company) by Bryce Hoffman.  I read this a few years ago and I don’t think that I ever put it down!  I’ve always been a huge fan of American History; it was one of my favorite subjects in school.  I remember reading about the Dodges, the Fords, the Rockefellers, the Carnegies and on and on.  Having lived through the economic collapse of 2008 to 2010, I lived through my own personal history lesson.  I watched the auto companies fight, scratch and claw to survive.  The entire economy was on life support.

Every day was a test to see who would be standing at the end of the day.  I remember watching the CEOs on C-Span getting grilled for their choices and ultimate failures.  During those sessions, I remember how Alan Mulally carried himself and I thought, wow, this guy gets it.  I was impressed by his approach and ability to communicate.  At that moment, I recognized that he was different than most and I realized that he was an asset to his company.  They were lucky to have him at the helm.  In 2012, I listened to an interview on WJR, an author, Bryce Hoffman.  He talked about how Alan Mulally was recruited to Ford by Bill Ford, Jr.  Bryce spoke of how Bill understood his own limitations and he knew that he needed a savior from the outside.  Bryce then mentioned an excerpt being printed in the paper.  As soon as I got to the office, I rushed to my computer and quickly read the excerpt and I was hooked!  It is a story of how Alan Mulally was able to guide a 100+ year old family-owned company through the most challenging time in their history.  He rode out the economic firestorm, stockpiled cash, made difficult decisions, invested in future products and then he led his employees!

After reading the book, I realized that my personality and leadership style was similar to Alan’s.  It validated my own leadership potential and my belief in myself.  I later met Bryce Hoffman and he personally autographed 36 copies of American Icon for me.  It was such a rush to have him come to Reliance One that day to personally meet our team.  I gave those copies away to every leader that I could think of … leaders from Reliance One, leaders at my clients, and my personal friends & family.  I hope that every one of those purchases helped leaders lead just like Alan did.

To this day, I am not sure if Bryce liked me because I bought 36 copies of his books or because I loved his book so much!  We keep in touch to this day.  He just had my personal copy of Icon signed by Alan Mulally.  Wow, what a rush.  I just cracked open Bryce’s 2nd book, Red Teaming.  A life story about how Bryce was the first civilian to go to Red Teaming School for the US Army.  It is another game-changer book and it will be sure to impact so many people.

Reliance One Inc. is a minority-owned, MMSDC-certified staffing corporation headquartered in Michigan with offices in Lisle, Illinois and Irving, Texas. Reliance One is focused on matching the ideal professional to a client’s specific needs for both long-term, short-term, or project based positions (including temporary, temporary to direct, or direct). Our sales and recruiting teams can be reached at 248-922-4500 or


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