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True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,321 Ratings  ·  93 Reviews
"True North" shows how anyone who follows their internal compass can become an authentic leader. This leadership tour de force is based on research and first-person interviews with 125 of today's top leaders--with some surprising results. In this important book, acclaimed former Medtronic CEO Bill George and coauthor Peter Sims share the wisdom of these outstanding leaders ...more
Hardcover, 251 pages
Published March 9th 2007 by Jossey-Bass (first published January 5th 2007)
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Community Reviews

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Jan 02, 2012 David rated it it was ok
OK, my second of three self-help books for the months of October/November.

I came to this book with the utmost level of skepticism and came away with slightly less skepticism. I've seen several cases of people taking "leadership courses" only to become distant and insecurely authoritarian with the team that they must manage. If I were to write a leadership book, it would take a sentence: Don't be an asshole, listen more than talk, admit to being wrong, and lead by example.

Bill George has a sligh
Dec 14, 2011 Dave rated it it was ok
This book gets good reviews, but I think it's mostly due to the fact that other business books are so BAD. Most are self-congratulatory and promote bad behavior -- you get the immediate impression that the sole purpose of the book is to establish the author's cult of personality.

In case you're wondering, this is how you write a book on leadership:

1. Compile a list of 5-10 "make-or-break" traits of a winning person or company
2. Write a chapter for each trait, containing generic information everyo
Nov 03, 2008 Jessica rated it liked it
Recommended to Jessica by: read for NCLA Leadership Institute
I generally do not care for books like this one, BUT, this was not as bad a read as I thought it might be. I marked a few passages that struck a cord with me. It was certainly biased toward for-profit arenas and was difficult to liken some statements to the library world, but I did get some wisdom that transferred.

<> "Courage is an especially important quality for leaders as they navigate through unpredictable terrain." p.xxxiii
<> "People today demand personal relationships with thei
Feb 04, 2011 Jaclyn rated it liked it
This book, of course, is another foray into leadership strategy. I have to admit that I went into the book with a bad attitude because I am not a huge fan of the professor who assigned it. That said, it actually was a pretty good book. The author's rhetoric is a bit cliche, but the book won me over with all the personal stories of ordinary men and women doing extraordinary things. My personal favorite was Andrea Jung, the first female CEO of Avon - her passion for empowering women from all walks ...more
Thomas C.
Sep 17, 2009 Thomas C. rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those searching for leadership help
Recommended to Thomas by: teh author at Maximum Impact Conference
Because of the number of books I have read on leadership, I expect that some of the content of almost every leadership book will be duplicative of some other book I have read. My standard is whether or not the book contains something new and valuable for me in my quest to be a better leader. This book has it. I was impressed with two areas of in depth material, that regarding the need for leaders to be in a give and take mentoring relationship, and the description of the types of leadership styl ...more
Ranilia Lestari
Yes, leaders need to be authentic. I love the true north compass, where we should put our self-awareness ahead before we define our values/principles, what motivate us, who are our support groups, and how to integrate our life. Served with exemplars and steps how to become authentic leader, this book is worth to read for everyone, i believe everyone is a leader!
Julie Connor
Apr 15, 2014 Julie Connor rated it it was amazing
Bill George connects business theory and his passion for understanding the human condition to craft this masterful work for business leader. Bill George's perspective about authentic leadership development is brilliantly articulated in True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership. George conducted more than 100 interviews with senior leaders in the development of his book and offers advice for young leaders as they learn more about themselves, align their vision and mission with their core val ...more
Jim Razinha
Apr 23, 2016 Jim Razinha rated it liked it
If anecdotes speak to you, then this might be the book for you, because it is almost entirely such. There are some very good points in here: success is cyclical, but trends up if successful in your success (my words); key to leadership is self awareness - emotional intelligence, ethical boundaries; extrinsic and intrinsic motivation and balancing them; support team includes mentors who can provide contrast; integrating your life into your business life (this has always been part of my career dev ...more
Nov 28, 2011 Gary rated it really liked it
A valuable book on effective leadership traits. Depending upon your level, you may find it revealing many new concepts or simply providing a good refresher on many you felt you already knew. Regardless of whether it is revealing, reinforcing, or both, there are good lessons here for all.
Kate M. Colby
Jan 14, 2015 Kate M. Colby rated it it was ok
The tenants of leadership described are simply old advice in slightly new packaging. The book leans way too heavily on interviews and stories from business leaders, who may have some diversity in age and experience, but mostly come from some position of privilege.
Nov 08, 2015 Claire rated it liked it
Lots of anecdotes about what it means to be an authentic leader that resonated with me. Reason for the 3 star was that I listened to the Audible version and the narrator did my head in, was like listening to a monotone computer voice for 7 hours!
Scott North
Feb 28, 2015 Scott North rated it it was amazing
Just finished reading "True North" by Bill George and this is a fantastic book. The epilogue itself is worth the read, where it details this list.

- Working together toward shared goals with a group of people you care about.
- Being passionate about helping other people or righting societal wrongs.
- Toiling long hours to get it right.
- Debating and arguing to understand each other's points of view
- Failing and then regrouping to learn from your mistakes.
- Growing together as leaders.
- Making
Jan 04, 2015 Scott rated it it was amazing
This book came highly recommended to me by a trusted leadership instructor and it did not disappoint. I do wish they would have surveyed fewer private sector leaders; though, there were plenty of perspectives from leaders of non-profits, which was refreshing. There is so much to take away from this book. It provides several tools for building self-awareness and the importance of allowing your authentic leadership style to flow from it, and way in which your frame your life's story. A great read ...more
Aug 13, 2015 Lyndell rated it it was amazing
Bill George, a former CEO of a Fortune 500 medical devices company and a Harvard Business School professor partners with entrepreneur, Peter Sims in writing this stimulating book. They previously co-wrote another book with a similar theme entitled “Authentic Leadership”. The authors interviewed 125 top tier leaders in a wide range of fields in formulating their central tenet that “authentic leadership” is the key to leadership success. They define “authentic leaders” as “genuine people who are t ...more
Frank Calberg
Sep 09, 2015 Frank Calberg rated it it was amazing
At location 560 of the book, I learned that before people take on leadership roles, they should first ask themselves 2 fundamental questions:
Question 1: “What motivates me to lead?”
Question 2: “What is the purpose of my leadership?”

At location 650, I learned that the role of leaders is not to get other people to follow them but to empower others to lead.

At location 2300, the 5 dimensions of authentic leadership are listed:
1. Pursuing purpose with passion.
2. Practicing solid values.
3. Leading w
Jul 01, 2013 Rachel rated it liked it
Shelves: work-related
True North was recommended to me by a colleague. She mentioned it in connection with the idea of forming a personal board of directors. Unfortunately, that topic received little treatment in the book.

I liked the way the content was organized, and I appreciated the many anecdotes from captains of industry. I would have been more interested if a larger sample of nonprofit leaders were included.

The examples were outdated and therefore less relevant for today's reader. The book was written after 9
Mar 08, 2015 Goran rated it it was amazing
Very practical guide to discover your true leadership style and potential. Book explains what leadership is, how to develop leaderships skills and it is a comprehensive guide to developing your own style. While making this book author interviewed many world class leaders and provided their point of view, their path and way of leading. It is eye opening that there is no recipe for becoming a leader, everyone can do it. All of the leaders described in this book had different childhood and business ...more
Bob Wallner
Mar 27, 2016 Bob Wallner rated it liked it
True North is about leading with your passions and morals. I didn't dislike this book, but unfortunately I did not take away much for new information.

The author is a former senior executive and provides some very good personal background to his leadership style and his shortcomings. He also provides some insight on how his personal struggles affected his decision-making and leading capabilities.

Although the stories were not boring, at times I felt like I had heard them before from other authors.
Donald Shank
Mar 04, 2016 Donald Shank rated it really liked it
True North should be required reading for every business major. In direct contrast to the sociopathic nature of corporate structure, Bill George lays out the social and moral imperitive of being ethically grounded in all your business dealings. It seems like common sense but in the world of the marketpalce it's a pretty radical (and overdue) approach.
Apr 20, 2016 Dawn rated it liked it
It is anecdotally driven which proved to be its strength and weakness for me. The cross-section of leaders covered a lot of ground. It is a great blend of business leadership and self-discovery. Personally, I'm not driven to be a leader in the business world but the book still provided some helpful areas to examine.
Brian Morris
Jan 17, 2015 Brian Morris rated it it was ok
I received this book at work as part of a leadership program. It was simply too soft and fluffy for me. The author's constant use of the word "authentic" was especially tiring. On the plus side, some of the interviews with successful leaders were interesting.
Lisa Dion
Jun 12, 2014 Lisa Dion rated it really liked it
Interesting how George spends so much time emphasizing the importance of WHY a leader leads. It really is the most important element of the book, and speaks volumes to what makes some leaders great. I really liked this! It resonated well with me.
Emmanuel Arriaga
Aug 26, 2014 Emmanuel Arriaga rated it it was amazing
This was a great book, it really outlined the process to building your own authentic leadership style. It had a great number of examples comparing leaders from many different companies and industries. Highly recommend this for anyone interested in or already in leadership positions.
Dave Keil
Aug 09, 2014 Dave Keil rated it really liked it
Good book on leadership focused on living your work life centered on your principles and values. I enjoyed the personal stories - several from folks I know or have met the Twin Cities - particularly hearing how leaders led through difficult times, or when their morals were challenged. Good reminder for those mid-career and would be an excellent read for someone a few few years out of school.
Jan 05, 2015 Jim marked it as to-read
I'm not sure how a fictional Wolfe story A Man In Full relates to a non-fictional leadership book, but i have to admit goodreads has made some good suggestions. I question this correlation.
Felipe Magofke
Apr 05, 2016 Felipe Magofke rated it it was amazing
Great book! A guideline process to check your own leadership, as well as, stories of leadership which would motivate to take actions around self-awareness, value and principles!
Some take aways:
Good leaders don't find ways to get others to follow, they empower others to act
Good leaders have failed -- and know how to deal with failure
May 13, 2015 Zora rated it really liked it
Lots of people say that I am too ideal especially when it comes to work, but why not be a little ideal? In this book all the successful leaders are kind of ideal.
Katherine Collins
Jun 02, 2014 Katherine Collins rated it really liked it
Shelves: business-ish
In this book, Bill George provides a roadmap for personal leadership that is worth all of the checklists and four-quadrant charts you’ve ever seen all put together. He starts with a deceptively simple question, “What is your own true north?” If that is well-defined, lots of other so-called problems turn out to not be problems at all. This work, along with Servant Leadership, is one of the best management books out there.
Devin Partlow
Apr 02, 2014 Devin Partlow rated it liked it
It all good stuff but by the time this book was publish it had been said before. I felt like I was reading a summary of the newer leadership topics and findingz rather than anything novel.
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“The role of leaders is not to get other people to follow them but to empower others to lead.” 6 likes
“Leadership is a journey, not a destination. It is a marathon, not a sprint. It is a process, not an outcome. (quoting John Donahoe)” 5 likes
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