Box of Crayons Blog


Fred Kiel’s Five Essential Books on Human Nature, Character and Leadership

Fred Kiel is a respected leadership researcher, adviser and author of the book Return on Character: The Real Reason Leaders and Their Companies Win. He spent seven years of rigorous research based on a landmark study of more than 100 CEOs and over 8,000 of their employees’ observations in order to determine the impact of a leader’s character on an organization’s bottom line. So, it seems fitting that he is my guest blogger today, sharing his five essential books on human nature, character and leadership.

Book 1: The Moral Sense

by James Q. Wilson

When I read this in 1998, it was like bringing sunshine into my world. Up until then, I was the victim of the dominant belief that people are born with a blank slate—that their “nature” was determined by their life experiences and that everyone was dominated by their “selfish genes.”

Book 2: Human Universals

by Donald Brown

I discovered this book in early 2000 and was thrilled to find that a respected cultural anthropologist documented a broad array of moral principles and practices that are honored by all human cultures. Parents everywhere teach their children to tell the truth, to keep promises, to own up to their own mistakes, to be forgiving and caring to members of their tribe, clan, family—however they define their cultural group.

Book 3: Consilience

by Edward O. Wilson

In this book, I discovered how an understanding of biology can bring enlightenment to the social sciences. Professor Wilson introduced me to the whole field of social biology.

Book 4: Driven: How Human Nature Shapes Our Choices

by Paul R. Lawrence and Nitin Nohria

This nailed it down for me—how human nature intersects with leadership and the myriad of choices we all make in the course of every day.

Book 5: Return on Character: The Real Reason Leaders and Their Companies Win

by Fred Kiel

This is the only work of its kind that reveals the hard data connection between the bottom line and the character habits of the leadership team. Amazingly, strong character teams bring nearly five times more to the bottom line than weak character teams.

About Fred Kiel

fred-kielFred Kiel, Ph.D., is the co-founder and principal of KRW International, where he brings years of experience in leadership consulting from Fortune 500 companies and large, privately held organizations. He has advised individuals who have become CEOs of complex businesses, most with multi-billion-dollar top lines. Fred understands that business success starts in the heads and hearts of leadership—creating an enthusiastic, creative, retained talent pool. Helping CEOs gain alignment of their vision all the way to the front-line worker can create immediate bottom-line results.

Connect with Fred
Twitter: @fkiel
LinkedIn: KRW International
Facebook: Return on Character

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close form
Close Search box