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True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  1,723 Ratings  ·  107 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 an ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published June 10th 2010 by Jossey-Bass (first published January 5th 2007)
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David Sasaki
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 20, 2008 Jessica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 19, 2011 Jaclyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 09, 2009 Thomas C. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 29, 2016 Ranilia Lestari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Nov 28, 2011 Gary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Jul 18, 2015 Claire rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Ler obviedades eventualmente é bom. Por isso, muitos livros de negócio, por mais simples que sejam, têm seu valor. Há tanto no que prestar atenção que, muitas vezes, a gente se esquece.
Robert R Woolridge
Lots of stories from various business types. The underlying theme is to be your true self, but also don't forget about others in their quest for leadership. I did enjoy the story of Starbucks Howard Schultz & Investor Charles Schwab. Worth the quick read if ya get some time.
Frank Calberg
Sep 09, 2013 Frank Calberg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 24, 2013 Lyndell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nga Dao Quynh
This is the book recommended to me by one of my best friends, who in turn received recommendation from one prominent figure with impressive leadership style he met. I started this out of curiosity, and a lot of doubts in whether it can actually be relatable. However, it turns out to be one of the most inspiring, influential (and yet easy to read) books.

Out of many thought-provoking points brought up, the one that came out most sticky to mind is "self-awareness", and thanks God for plenty discus
Jim Razinha
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
Julie Connor
Apr 15, 2014 Julie Connor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 12, 2013 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Bob Wallner
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.
Scott North
Feb 27, 2015 Scott North rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 21, 2014 Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Bonnie Atkinson
Jun 09, 2011 Bonnie Atkinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very, very readable, uncluttered with self-important terminology. Important points for anyone who views him or herself as a leader and has a desire to live true to the best within. A wakeup call if one may be losing track of what may be the most important things. Definitely a must-read if you're into ethics and life with integrity. Nice anecdotes. Best if you're into the self-help, emotional intelligence sort of genre of business lit. It caught me at a very nice time in my life and was very vali ...more
Feb 24, 2015 Goran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 04, 2016 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this book as part of an event hosted by the American Heart Association, where Bill George was the keynote speaker. This book provides an excellent and comprehensive overview of leadership. I enjoyed how leadership experiences were taught through stories of real life successful leaders. Each chapter is supported with exercises which are mainly introspective questions with the intent of understanding more about yourself and finding your 'true north'.
Renato Silva
Aug 21, 2014 Renato Silva rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excelente livro sobre liderança. Bill George expressa seu modelo de desenvolvimento de liderança "True North" com um método prático que proporciona bastante reflexão. A paixão em suas estórias colhidas de entrevistas com líderes e executivos de todas as idades e experiências é fascinante. O livro consegue expressar paixão sobre o tema e é um guia para aqueles que se dedicam ao seu modelo. Boa e fácil leitura!
Rozanne Nachreiner
George offers good reminders about:
Purpose, values, passion, relationships and self-discipline (discipline or regret - your choice)

The book offers sound, if basic, guidance on growing your leadership ability. I did find the 5 key development needs to be information - The Imposter, The Rationalizer, The Glory Seeker, The Loner, The Shooting Star.

Still a good read, although newer books offer more insight and relevance.
Katherine Collins
May 05, 2014 Katherine Collins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 05, 2011 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is chock full of good advise on how to build your self-awareness to become a better leader. His concept of life crucibles was very enlightening for me. The author help me connect the dots in my professional career. Each chapter has helpful leadership exercises to encourage the reader to personalize the content of each concept.

Personal/ professional development is a life-long journey and this book is a great companion for anyone who really desires to grow.
Razvan Deaconescu
Excellent continuation to "Authentic Leadership", "True North" show the importance of life experience on your leadership style. Bill George lists stories to numerous leaders in companies and NGOs and how their experience drove them to acquire authentic leadership.

I was very fond of the questionnaires at the end of each chapter, pushing you to take a look into your inner self and your life experience.

I recommend this book for the self discovery process it takes you through.
May 12, 2009 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
O, there IS a reason why this is a best-seller still!

Gladly, I have had men and mentors (and life-situations) that have taught me much of what is in this book.

Having a deliberate idea of what it means to be a great leader from the inside-out is SO helpful!

A great book for leaders but an Exceptional! book for anyone training/mentoring younger leaders and/or any young leader (less than 30).
Aug 31, 2012 Elena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Brilliant book on Leadership. It goes back to leadership basics, using plenty of real-life stories of top leaders. It talks about leadership that comes from a place of integrity and character, leadership that makes a difference and has substance. Comes with a series of self-evaluating questions, which are great to direct your leadership on the right track, or True North.
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“The role of leaders is not to get other people to follow them but to empower others to lead.” 9 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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