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True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  2,580 ratings  ·  139 reviews
Discover your authentic leadership. Leadership success book.
Hardcover, 251 pages
Published March 9th 2007 by Jossey-Bass (first published January 5th 2007)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  2,580 ratings  ·  139 reviews

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David Sasaki
Jan 02, 2012 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 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
Oct 20, 2008 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 their leaders be
Keith Beeson
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A must read for all leaders of people. The value of knowing your story, really knowing your story, and how you've developed into who you are today.. Your principles, values, and style... Are formed by your life story and your crucible. Highly recommend and will be using this as a tool in my career. ...more
Ying Ying
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great guide to self-discovery with self-assessing questions at the end of each chapter.
Jan 07, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: self-help
Picked up the book because it's a requirement for HBS, but I could only get through half of it. The advice seems indistinguishable from bullshit. To summarize: be an "authentic" leader by re-interpreting your story so that you can derive purpose/meaning in your job. Would suggest skipping it. ...more
Jan 19, 2011 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
Ranilia Lestari
Mar 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
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!
Mark Schleier
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really nice read. I think, if you've never read a leadership book before, or if you've not taken any courses on self-awareness and reflection, this would be a very powerful book. I've studied this content in great detail over my life-time, so it wasn't incredibly earth shattering to me, but I recognize I'm a little abnormal in terms of my background in this stuff (my undergrad is in it. ;) ).

Book rating criteria; to help objectify my ratings.
1. I would read again?
No, but I’ll certainly skim my
Jackie Rubbo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Thomas C.
Aug 09, 2009 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
Razvan Deaconescu
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Felipe CZ
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Useful guide for staying true to ourselves, since not all leaders are authentic, so it is always better to follow our "True North". There is an example of a company in India who didn't have a phone line for a year, because they wanted to avoid brives, so their employees saw that as a model for being honest. If we as leaders know our motivations, we will develop a compass for the right path. ...more
Nov 28, 2011 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.
Jul 18, 2015 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!
Rubik Joshi
Nov 13, 2019 rated it liked it
It's a good read to figure out your true self. Kinda helps you out in finding your way through the corporate world! ...more
LaDonna Harris
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: me-2019, blinkist
Read the Blinkist version. Solid stuff.
Melody Riggs
Dec 31, 2017 rated it liked it
While I like leadership books, this one was just okay. It had some good points in it about knowing yourself and your passions, being authentic, and the importance of feedback. In the leadership roles I take on, which don’t include aspiring to lead a corporation, I tend to be pretty quiet and reserved to begin with. I read this because I do lead in my church and will be a leader as a school librarian, but there was probably a better book out there for me and the leadership roles I tend to step in ...more
Robert R Woolridge
Dec 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Tim Koehler
Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this book with a group and found the group discussion to be the best part. The book seems backwards in the chapter selections but the material really helps you understand where you came from and how it relates to your leadership style.
Joe Schweitzer
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book for any stage of your career or vocation. The examples of leaders that talk about their crucible moments, when they realized they were full of sh*t, and the choices we make daily, gave me great insight.
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I not only read the book twice but also sat in Bill's class. I know corporate leaders and entrepreneurs loved it. It leads one to reflect on his/her leadership journey and what is most important. It's a book that will bring you back to your core value when you may be lost your way. ...more
Sep 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Taking away some good points on authentic leadership. It was good to see that they had expanded the leader stories to include a more diverse group. Felt like it could have been a little tighter, though, with some sections stronger than others. Throwing in GQ at the end seemed like an afterthought.
Bernie Anderson
Dec 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Meh. You can get the meat of this book in the first two chapters. Lots of stories from corporate America in the 80s and 90s. A little dated.

I do think the introduction and the first chapter were worth the read though.
Feb 17, 2021 rated it it was ok
Best takeaway :

“If I have a hundred balls coming my way and I can only catch two, I can stress about the lack of 98 balls or accept the reality that I can only catch two. In fact, make sure they are the most important.”

Discover Your True North - Bill George
Jose Casal
Dec 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
Found it fairly tedious and I often failed to focus on it.

Could have been a far thinner book and still communicate the learning outcomes.
John Harris
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
A good read about finding authenticity in your work and life. Be true to that, and everything else will become easier. Several great points but seemed to drag on a little at the end.
Katie Buckner
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read most of this book for a class at my law school. It provides helpful and interesting stories of the successes and failures of leaders. The key is to shape your story!
Mara Vernon
Some solid concepts that felt like they got lost amid the unending case study examples. I typically appreciate compelling stories and examples, and this book felt like a compilation of examples and case study stories that diminished impact. The leadership lessons are solid, I am feeling after finishing that because there were so many, I'm hard pressed to remember one! ...more
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great for introspective people wanting to build leadership skills.
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