Leading – Alex Ferguson, with Michael Moritz

If I were running a company, I would always want to listen to the thoughts of its most talented youngsters, because they are the people most in touch with the realities of today and the prospects for tomorrow.

The book presents the leadership philosophy of Alex Ferguson, the Scottish football manager who managed Manchester United from 1986 to 2013. During his time at the club, Ferguson won more major trophies than any other football manager, making him one of the most successful and respected managers in the history of the game.

“Leading” covers quite a lot of chapters, from communication (content and delivery of message) and building an organisation to important traits of character for the team and avoiding complacency. Ferguson presents this book as a series of well-placed anecdotes, making the book memorable and easy to read.

It does not fall into the trap of presenting juicy stories about football stars, but appears to genuinely present Ferguson’s thinking on leadership. In a way, it a memoir, but only looking at the managing the club part.

It is impressive to see how far ahead in time his thinking went and how important for him were discipline and winning character. He understood that he was a hired hand for a job and did not harbour any delusions of grandeur, although he might have been entitled to. Ferguson seems to have a clear sense of hierarchy and always presents the owners of the club with greatest respect.

The desire to be a champion and the winning mentality transcends from the book. No matter the challenge, there was no excuse to not aim for winning a trophy. Ferguson was immune to the budget, luck or unfair advantages of other teams. It was just one more challenge among others, no excuse to not aim for the top.

The book is considered one of the best in football coaching and tops many charts. An excellent read, even for those not interested in football.

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