Book review: We Are All Leaders by Fredrik Arnander

One Hundred Leadership Ideas by Fredrik Arnander would be a better title. As a self-confessed serial entrepreneur in the online tech space, Mr Arnander covers his 100 leadership concepts in a style that is easy to read.

In a book you can pick up and put down easily, he describes his theory in short, easily-digestible chapters.

Written for those who work in medium or small businesses, it is a publication that all who read can take something away from and put into practice, with a direct focus on the empowerment of everyone in a business and their innate ability to lead themselves and others.

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We Are All Leaders is based on his own experience so it helps to relate to the author to enjoy the book. But like many management gurus, Mr Arnander displays hints of a big ego with his regular references to putting his children first and his inspirations in the early part of the book.

I found it slightly irritating and nearly gave up when I reached concept 14, which listed the 13 virtues of the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, but I persevered and was pleased that I did.

Indeed, I grew to enjoy the book the more I read it, particularly as in the latter stages Mr Arnander refers less to other authors or famous leaders and more to his own real-life experience.

It is not too far-fetched to suggest that the reading experience would be improved if one started at the end and worked backwards.

To Mr Arnander’s credit, each leadership ‘idea’ spans a maximum of three pages, but some are only half a page, which means that it is very easy to take away one at a time.

Some are simple reminders of good leadership practice, such as setting clear expectations, while others, such as “let’s fail quickly”, require more explanation. Every one comes with an accompanying acronym: SCE and LFQ for the two just listed for example.

My personal favourites were sections on personal traits and styles, areas often not covered in management manuals. Most can be easily put into practice and chapter 29 – “To be nice” – struck a particular chord.

Throughout the language used is very straightforward and although there is not a great deal of humour, one or two examples are capable of raising a smile.

I must admit I was not inspired to do the leadership test at the end, progress with any further reading or visit his website.

But overall it was a worthwhile read with some valuable reminders of established good practice, right down to “Rest restore recharge” about the need to get some sleep.

In conclusion, all readers will find ideas that they can relate to and even were you to disagree with most, I am sure no one would get to the end without discovering something worthy of implementation.

Published by John Wiley and Sons