Friday Is for Freebies: Three Top Business Books

In Monday’s post, I wrote about three business books I regularly recommend to pastors. Today, I’m giving away a set of those three books.

the-effective-executiveFirst is The Effective Executive by Peter DruckerThe measure of the executive, Drucker reminds readers, is the ability to “get the right things done.” This usually involves doing what other people have overlooked as well as avoiding what is unproductive. Intelligence, imagination, and knowledge may all be wasted in an executive job without the acquired habits of mind that mold them into results.

Drucker identifies five practices essential to business effectiveness that can, and must, be learned:

  • Managing time
  • Choosing what to contribute to the organization
  • Knowing where and how to mobilize strength for best effect
  • Setting the right priorities
  • Knitting all of them together with effective decision-making

Ranging widely through the annals of business and government, Drucker demonstrates the distinctive skill of the executive and offers fresh insights into old and seemingly obvious business situations.

good-to-greatAlso included is Jim Collins’ book Good to Great. Using tough benchmarks, Collins and his research team identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years. How great? After the leap, the good-to-great companies generated cumulative stock returns that beat the general stock market by an average of seven times in fifteen years, better than twice the results delivered by a composite index of the world’s greatest companies, including Coca-Cola, Intel, General Electric, and Merck.

The research team contrasted the good-to-great companies with a carefully selected set of comparison companies that failed to make the leap from good to great. What was different? Why did one set of companies become truly great performers while the other set remained only good? Over five years, the team analyzed the histories of all twenty-eight companies in the study. After sifting through mountains of data and thousands of pages of interviews, Collins and his crew discovered the key determinants of greatness — why some companies make the leap and others don’t.

leading-changeThe final book included is Leading Change by John P. Kotter. Kotter’s now-legendary eight-step process for managing change with positive results has become the foundation for leaders and organizations across the globe. By outlining the process every organization must go through to achieve its goals, and by identifying where and how even top performers derail during the change process, Kotter provides a practical resource for leaders and managers charged with making change initiatives work. Leading Change is widely recognized as his seminal work and is an important precursor to his newer ideas on acceleration published in Harvard Business Review.

To be eligible to win, answer the following question:

In your opinion, who is the best leader alive today??

The deadline to enter is midnight CDT this Saturday.  We will draw one winner from the entries on Monday morning.

By entering, you acknowledge and accept the terms of the promotion.


  1. says

    Opinions are just that; opinions. For one to have an opinion it is best to have had insight into something. For that reason I believe that one of the best leaders alive today is Rev. Randy Valimont, pastor of First Assembly of God in Griffin, Georgia. Not only is he a fabulous pastor and preacher, but he is an awesome leader and trainer. He is an investor; he invests in people. It is for this reason that I would say without hesitation that he is a great leader.

  2. Brent Hoefling says

    Wow, what a question, open to interpretation on many levels. I will say that the first person that I thought of that is the best leader alive today would be Ravi Zacharias.

  3. Brandon Jordan says

    The best leader alive today is Dan Cathy in terms of business. He has taken over a company and led it by principle and continuing to make it great.

  4. Charles Rambeau, Jr. says

    Since Jesus Christ is still alive, I would say Him. However, I think you are looking for a real live human person that is still here on earth. I would say Franklin Graham because of his work with Samaritan’s Purse.

  5. Johnny Beaver says

    I have served in the Bledsoe Baptist Association for four years now and I believe one of the best leaders alive is Mike Pennington, our Director of Missions. Mike’s heart has always been for the churches in his association and has led this association to be one of the most giving associations I’ve ever been a part of. He returns his phone calls and answers his texts. He empowers me as a bivocational pastor like I’ve never been.

  6. Larry McKeon says

    At this point in time I would have to say the most intriguing leader is Pope Francis of the Catholic Church. Its still very early, but he appears to have a renewed sense of humility within the Church and is reaching out to all Christians and Non-Christians. I’m anxious to see how is Pontificate is received by those who have left the Catholic Church in the past.

  7. says

    I am racking my brain to think of a great Level 5 leader. In politics, I believe there is a void of leadership. In business and finances, I am a fan of Dave Ramsey’s influence. Ultimately, I would say that Andy Stanley’s books have influenced a lot if the leaders who have influenced me.

  8. Jon Nichols says

    Stephen Colbert. His influence among millinenals is hardly surpassed. He is without a doubt one of the greatest leaders alive. And as a comedian that is impressive.

  9. says

    I’m at a leadership conference listening to Dr. Mohler right now. So I guess me traveling from 3 hours away just to hear him speak on leadership says a lot about my vote. But I would also have to vote for pastor Joel Carwile as well.

  10. says

    Tough to argue with Nick Saban at the moment.

    Beyond his on-field success, he continues to make improvements to his program and process along the way. Most other championship coaches *attempt* to keep improving, but no one has been able to keep “sharpening his saw” like Saban. It’s fascinating to hear him use non-sports illustrations and analogies from time to time. He knows success breeds success, no matter the realm. I read Gladwell’s “Outliers” after hearing him mention the book.

    It’s amazing to witness the balance he displays between control over the program and letting players be who they are, allowing them to fail, and treating each of them according to their personalities while remaining consistent. It’s also neat to see the impact he’s has upon other programs on campus. Prior to 2007, UA had only won titles in football and gymnastics. Since his arrival, they’ve added titles not only in those two sports, but also men’s & women’s golf and softball.

    Know college football is a rather small stage compared to some other global stages, but he’s improved noticeably at every position he’s held in college and continues that upward trajectory.

  11. Brodie Smith says

    You’ve never heard of Robert Turner, but we in collegiate ministry across Pennsylvania and South Jersey (that’s a region, not a state) are blessed to have him as our state director. 100% cerebral, but also 100% from the heart. This guy knows what he’s doing, gets it done and facilitates our success on the campus level.

  12. says

    Tough Question… I guess I would go with Andy Stanley myself. I know I have been impacted personally by his leadership and my church as well. Maybe not the best answer but the first that came to mind!

  13. Lawrence Labbé says

    Not easy to answer…
    Rick Warren would be one of my first choices…
    He is a great exemple of someone using his huge influence for the cause of the poors, the orphans and those who don’t have a voice in this world.

  14. Jonathan Winnegrad says

    Mike Duke of Walmart. The effectiveness and efficiency along with improved quality of life for millions is undeniable.

  15. says

    It’s hard to be discerning about the leadership of someone I’ve never met personally; so among those that I know would be John, a leader in our organization who leads primarily through relational, rather than positional authority, and who leads in his home as well as in his sphere of organizational responsibility.

  16. Chip Holmes says

    I would like to give a vote here for Garvon Golden. He is the leader of the Dakota Baptist Convention. Working with limited staff and resources, he continues to lead our sparse churches to reach our far-flung communities with the good news of Jesus. God bless him in his work!

    • Gavin Croft says

      I have met Garvon a few times and he has been a great mentor to my father-in-law. He is a tremendous leader and I echo your sentiments.

  17. says

    My dad, Michael Shaw. I’ve watched him pastor in small church plants, mid-sized churches and lead provincial youth and church planting networks with excellence, passion, humility and anointing. He makes a conscious choice to wear his heart on his sleeve and live by uncompromising biblical principles even when there have been times where he could have gained short term victory through political manipulation. He has lead his family with a life built on prayer and integrity. As a kid I would remember waking up to hearing my dad pray very early in the morning. He teaches bible studies to new converts multiple times a week as well as handles a twice weekly preaching schedule and oversees the planting of churches in the province of Ontario for our denomination. He loves his wife, his children, his brothers in ministry, his church and his community. Both my sister and I are now involved in ministry not only because of God’s unique call, but also because a passion for Christ and the world He so desperately wants to redeem was placed in us by our dad and mom.

  18. Brian B. says

    The person I’m going to mention is probably unknown to most who read this blog, but I have a tremendous amount of respect for the current president of my undergraduate university, Randy Lowry. He is such a visionary and has overseen so much growth at Lipscomb University in Nashville. He followed a very charismatic, visionary leader and has thrived in so many ways.

  19. Guy says

    Mitch Daniels – former Governor of Indiana. May not agree with his politics all the way but an effective leader for sure.

  20. Faron Sarver says

    There are so many that I don’t know that are great. They are working in different ministries around the world. But I have always liked James Dobson. O course there are so many more.

  21. Josh Moore says

    The greatest leader is my mom. She is a third grade teacher. Anyone who can keep 25 third graders in line and up to state standards is a great leader.

  22. Dariu Dumitru says

    With the business focus of the blog, Richard Branson definitely comes to mind. How may companies did this man with “learning disabilities” create and grow and inspire? How many people does he influence? It’s genuinely amazing.

  23. says

    Rick Warren comes quickly to mind. He is God focused, Spirit led, and others centered. He is transparent and willing to practically tackle new problems. He shares resources and personally invests in others.

  24. Will Herndon says

    if leadership is INFLUENCE, INVESTMENT IN THE NEXT GENERATION and VISION I’d have to go for the pastor of FBC Woodstock and former president of the SBC Johnny Hunt.
    I want ’em books!

  25. Joe says

    I’ve always been inspired by Andy Stanley’s story. How God led him to start a church with so many “unknowns” facing him and his team. Yet, the church he leads is thriving because of his willingness to exercise his God given gifts and surround himself with other leaders who do the same.

  26. Todd Conkright says

    There are many examples in both business and the church. “Best” is certainly open to interpretation, but I look for someone who is not only successful in their profession, but who is known for their integrity, wisdom, and kindness. Tim Sanders is a strong thought-leader, as are Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner. I also appreciate Mark Batterson and Bill Hybels from a church leadership perspective.

  27. Joel says

    Being from Atlanta I know that my view is skewed, but the impact Andy Stanley has on the growing church culture is hard to ignore. I have read a few of his books, but believe it or not I have never heard him speak in person! I attribute that to growing up as a minister’s kid and always being involved in events at my home (and non-Baptist) church. It is on my list of things to do.

  28. Tim Forsythe says

    I have 2 criteria for a great leader, first, the ability to influence other leaders. And second, the ability to reproduce leaders. After many years of watching I believe Dr. Mohler to be the best at both!

  29. says

    I’ll add my opinion to many other great ones, Bill Hybels. Not just because of his work at Willow but specifically because of the impact globally and domestically through the Leadership Summit. He has helped lead the worlds greatest leaders to have a massive global platform to inspire the next generation of leaders AND encourage and refresh countless leaders who are leading and doing amazing things where they currently are. So my vote would definitely be for Bill Hybels because he is leading the best leaders to lead and develop even greater leaders .

  30. says

    Let me offer two names: Jeff Iorg, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary as a younger leader who is profoundly shaping theological ed in the west; Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council as a shaper of policy debates.

  31. Steven S. says

    Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr.


    My theological answer is any man who faithfully even painfully follows the leading and counsel of God. It is they who be called great in the Kingdom of God, who are those who serve, love, and obey him without reservation. Deu. 30:19b-20.

  32. says

    In your opinion, who is the best leader alive today??
    It is always and will only be our Lord Jesus Christ. He is alive today! He is the best king, the best friend, the best scholar, the best lover of our souls, the best in every category that is wondrous and good. We must never forget that in all things, He must have the preeminence. He alone is and always will be the best leader alive today!
    Light years away from Christ is even the best of Christian leaders, but if I were to try to select next I would have to say he or she is unknown. They may be in a prison in China, in Saudi Arabia, loving God’s people through prayer, through example, laying down their life, like our Savior, for the sheep. I do not know that we will know in this life the greatest of these. The Voice of the Martyrs from time to time tells us a name of this one or that one.
    On a yet lower level, I am still in a quandry. What of those international Christian leaders whose names we do not know. They have influenced thousands upon thousands for Christ, yet we do not know their names. We have heard of many in the English speaking world and we thank God for them, but there are so many that we do not know.
    I am so grateful for godly leaders like Tim Keller, John Piper, John MacArthur, Tony Evans, Wayne Grudem, Don Carson, Al Mohler, yes, and Thom Rainer, each of which has been used of God to mold my life and so many others for the better, so that we are seeking to follow Christ ever more closely. But there are so many others who serve in relative obscurity. They disciple and serve with Christ led abandon like Katie Davis, Ann Graham Lotz, and more!
    The one who would be greatest of all, like our Savior, must be servant of all! May Jesus Christ be praised for all the wondrous gifts and graces He has given to His children, included, but not limited to many amazing leaders!

  33. Dustin says

    I think Dr. David Dockery from Union University deserves a mention. What he did with the school has been pretty amazing.

  34. Brock says

    Wow, I could really use these books…

    Best leader alive? Many great names have already been suggested, but the conversation might include Nelson Mandela

  35. Robert Ivey says

    WOW some many different levels to answer this on:
    Military: Most any solider from especially Officers
    Sports: Mike Krzyewski, Payton Manning (can not argue with what they are each producing on the field from not just themselves but the players who follow them – with a shout-out to Bobby Bowden, who “Dag gum’it” is retired “Dag gum’it”).
    Politics: George W. Bush (personal opinion but current cannot compare to him, because of his character and conviction which showed).
    Business: Dan Cathy (great company) Steve Wynn (yes it is casinos and gambling but this man knows what he is talking about as a business leader, sharp).
    Church: Jonathan Falwell (young leader doing a really great job at Thomas Rhodes)
    But overall it may be Willie Robertson (Yeah seriously Willie Robertson of Duck/Buck Commander-to get what he is getting out of Red-necks in Louisianan, even Thom Rainer and Lifeway is not just buying but selling it).

  36. Zackary Langley says

    As a man, a soldier in the military, and a student of pastoral ministry, I look to many men and women as leaders in my life. I think leadership is best in whatever context it plays out in your life, since you can feel the effects of it much better than a leader who does not have direct influence over you (not that they cannot still influence you, however).

    To that end, the best leaders in my life remain pastors, professors, friends who impart wisdom and direction in my life, and those who are setting examples for all of us. But the best one, still alive, is undoubtedly Jesus Christ. He’s been leading for over 2000 years, and people are still following Him. 😉

  37. Bill H says

    One of the best leaders I am aware of today is Rev. Matt Harrison of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. He leads by humility, has brought unity to the denomination, and is a great example of a pastor to the rest of the pastors in the denomination.

  38. Leon says

    A couple of men readily come to mind… Billy Graham and Rick Warren. But I am going to say Perry Noble… pastor of NewSpring Church in Anderson, SC. According to “Outreach” magazine, his church is the 2nd fastest growing church and the 4th largest church in the USA. If I am not mistaken his church has doubled in size in the last 12 months and they expect to be able to reach 100,000 people by 2020.

    Pray for Pastor P and his staff. Thom, my wife and I have you on our prayers list. Thanks for all you are doing for the K of G.

    If I don’t win I suspect I am going to order two of the books, since I already have “Good to Great.”

  39. Erik Knorr says

    In your opinion, who is the best leader alive today??

    I must say that right now I don’t have a good answer for that. There are some “good” leaders but not sure
    who the best would be. I will go with Danny and Doug today.

  40. Bruce Irving says

    In the world of politics we have no leaders only losers. In my world I like molher, platt, piper to name a few.

  41. Mike R. says

    In the business world, probably Jeff Bezos. Anyone that can start a company in a garage and bring it to the level of not only product diversity, but market dominance and an organizational marvel has to know how to motivate the people that work for him and create a create a culture of efficiency.

  42. RevTim says

    Wow!! What a Freebie & what a question!!
    Since I won this last week, I probably have zero chance to win this week, but I really want to read these books!
    Here’s my opinion…
    1. Jesus Christ! Of course. Spiritual Level
    2. John Maxwell. Unbelievable output of quality Leadership material. Author Level
    3. Andy Stanley. His book “Visioneering”, changed my life about 10 years ago. Thank you! Author Level
    4. On the personal level, Dr. Ryan Ralston has influenced, encouraged & challenged me so many times. He is a wonderful preacher, leader, business-mind, and visionary! Also, the best of friends and a mentor to me. Thanks Dr!
    Dr. Rainer, Thanks so much for the book & Bible given to me last week! I greatly appreciate it!

  43. says

    A fantastic leader that I know is Dave Ramsey. He has an incredible following and seems to devote his time to not only improving his product/brand, but he also endeavors to connect with his followers.

  44. says

    Dave Ramsey because he is leading a cultural change of being freed from debt and truly changing the paradigm within our Christian culture and beyond about the bondage of financial irresponsibility.

  45. says

    Rick Warren
    Of course the number one leader of all time, alive today, and forevermore is Jesus Christ. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Speaking of mere men, there are several great leaders in there respective fields; Billy Graham has influenced the world for Christ, Nick Saban – college football, Marissa Mayer, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, Bill Gates – computers, commerce, looking ahead, giving back. I would have to say the greatest leader of our day is Rick Warren. Rick Warren is not everyones favorite, but he is serving the Lord and people through his ministry and life.

  46. George Philips says

    I think George W. Bush would get my vote. Despite his critics I believe without a doubt that he did his best as he prayerfully considered decisions he made regarding the countries direction with Iraq as well as the over all direction of the country.

  47. says

    Mike Matheny at this moment…leading the Cardinals…18 of which claim faith in Christ…He is a strong believer who takes his job seriously but also (as he said on the radio in STL) sees an opportunity to invest in the men he is called to lead!!

  48. Donny Rector says

    I am going to say David Platt. Through his leadership at his church and his continuing ministry he inspires me and others to really be a disciple of Christ and to live it out, not just talk about it. I think one of his greatest gifts is his ability to let the message come through him and not be about himself. It may sound like an insult, but I really admire his ability to be anonymous and let the Spirit flow through him and not bring attention to himself.

  49. Guruprasad T S Rao says

    I would agree with Larry – my vote goes for Pope Francis – his job is probably the toughest in the world – to reconcile extreme views across the Christian World – even as he struggles to drive sense into some of the doubtlessly senseless political heads of states across our planet.

    ps: I would dare not affix him as the ‘last pope’ – profuse apologies in mind and spirit to St. Malachy.

  50. Steve Walser says

    I would have to say Saeed Abenini. His dedication to the Lord, despite the horrible imprisonment and persecution he is receiving shows his great faith and love for God. He is an amazing leader delivering the gospel with out fear.

  51. says

    In the area of the church probably the best living leader would be John Maxwell. There There are many great leaders today but but John’s influence has extended for a number of years.

  52. Mike Madaris says

    Hmmm…so many good ones come to mind, many of whom are mentioned in this thread already.
    I’d add to the list a guy whose name I don’t know: CEO of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. As a patient/survivor of serious cancer, I am continually impressed with servant-minded culture that permeates the place. I know others have different experiences, but in my 25+ visits there in the last 5 yrs, I have __never_ felt like a mere number: surgeon, nurse, phlebotomist, cleaning lady, etc. All make me feel like I am why they woke up this morning. Somebody there is leading the culture there in a remarkable.

  53. Prentiss Yeates says

    Leadership , regardless of time or era , provides countless duplication of the quality necessary to lead. Reverand Billy Graham and his wife Ruth picked up the torch and blazed the trail for every pastor and church to not confine the Gospel to only their own members but to world wide.

  54. Cathy Hawkins says

    Dr. Tiffany Franks, President of Averett University, in Danville, Virginia. She embodies servant leadership, projecting positive expectations and the development of people to their full potential.

  55. Scott Harmon says

    Tom Filinger has been a mentor to me. He is passionate about helping Pastor to lead effectively to make disciples who make disciples.

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