Learning About Leaders

I am not a great follower of politics nor of modern history (modern meaning anything after the Roman Empire, 😉 I’m an ancient history freak). I’ve been fascinated by Barack Obama, not just from the plain emotional freedom from the Bush years he represents, but also his steady rise as a leader in my mind. By that I mean the way in which he made myself and many, many other people believe that he is a leader for me. What makes great leaders? What makes people rally and believe in an individual, faults and all? This doesn’t just happen in politics, though that is a great stage. There are leaders in every walk of life. Humans are social creatures and wherever people come together, there is potential for great leadership. I see it in the Open Source world that consumes most of my waking hours, I see it within my company and the business world, local communities, groups of friends, and families.

It seems to be something I ponder a lot these days so I’d like to learn more about what this means and who these people are. Does anyone have suggestions for good books or movies that don’t just tell a story about a leader but actually have insight into how they tick? What struggles did they have with their role? How did they become a leader; by goal or chance? I’m also interested in science/anthropological books about leadership as well. If you have suggestions, please let me know in the comments.