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Founder of MMR Group Inc., the largest privately-owned merit shop and electrical and instrumentation contractor in the United States.

5 Books I Recommend to My Executive Staff

Last month’s Baton Rouge Business Report featured comments from CEOs of the area’s Top 100 companies. I was honored to be among those included, representing my company, MMR Group. The publication was released on July 19, and addressed topics such as methods for recruitment and sustaining success among other things. I was of course happy to share our company’s personal stories and tips on those subjects; I highly recommend that you take a look at the great answers from others as well. For this blog, however, I wanted to share some of the books I highlighted regarding what our leaders at MMR are reading and how we’re growing as a company and prioritizing constant professional development as a result

Each of these books include real life examples of great leaders with strengths in the following areas:

 

Leadership:

Book: The Endurance

Author: Caroline Alexander

In August 1914, days before the outbreak of the First World War, the renowned explorer Ernest Shackleton and a crew of twenty-seven set sail for the South Atlantic in pursuit of the last unclaimed prize in the history of exploration: the first crossing on foot of the Antarctic continent. Weaving a treacherous path through the freezing Weddell Sea, they had come within eighty-five miles of their destination when their ship, Endurance, was trapped fast in the ice pack. Soon the ship was crushed like matchwood, leaving the crew stranded on the floes. Their ordeal would last for twenty months, and they would make two near-fatal attempts to escape by open boat before their final rescue. This story is one of history’s greatest epics of survival, a miracle achieved largely through Shackleton’s inspiring leadership.

 

Character & Integrity:

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Book: The Long Gray Line: The American Journey of West Point’s Class of 1966

Author: Rick Atkinson

The Long Gray Line is the twenty-five- year saga of the West Point class of 1966. A powerful story through the lives of three classmates and the women they loved―from the boisterous cadet years, to the fires of Vietnam, to the hard peace and internal struggles that followed the war. The class of 1966 straddled a fault line in American history, and this book speaks for a generation of American men and women about innocence, patriotism, and the price we pay for our dreams.

 

Strategy:

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Book: Liars Poker

Author: Michael Lewis

The time was the 1980s. The place was Wall Street. The game was called Liar’s Poker. Liar’s Poker is the culmination of those heady, frenzied years—a behind-the- scenes look at a unique and turbulent time in American business. From the frat-boy camaraderie of the forty-first- floor

trading room to the killer instinct that made ambitious young men gamble everything on a high-stakes game of bluffing and deception, here is Michael Lewis’s knowing and hilarious insider’s account of an unprecedented era of greed, gluttony, and outrageous fortune.

 

Determination & Endurance

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Book: Seven Summits

Author: Dick Bass and Frank Wells

Frank Wells and Dick Bass had a dream to climb the highest mountain on each of the world’s seven continents, a feat that had never been accomplished. What made it all the more extraordinary was that Frank and Dick were businessmen, not mountaineers. Both had had so little climbing experience that they could hardly be ranked as amateurs, and as if that weren’t enough, Frank and Dick were in their fifties. This book brings you into the heart of courage and ambition, determination and endurance, and into an indomitable will to succeed that led two men from their comfortable lives at home in America to the harsh but beckoning wilds of Seven Summits.

 

Dealing with Difficulties

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Book: Running Critical: The Silent War, Rickover, and General Dynamics

Author: Patrick Tyler

An account of the motivations, strategies and tactics in a multibillion-dollar defense procurement that ran aground. Admiral Hyman Rickover, father of the nuclear navy, David Lewis, chairman of General Dynamics, and P. Takis Veliotis, general manager of the Electric Boat Division, were at the center of the industrial effort to catch up with Soviet advances in submarine deployment. Following a series of escalating crises, all three fell humiliatingly from grace. Rickover and Lewis forced into retirement and Veliotis into exile to escape criminal prosecution. The narrative revolves around tape-recordings Veliotis made of his phone conversations with Rickover and Lewis, conversations that began with tentative thrusts and parries and led to the open attacks and counterattacks that brought all three down.