Aug 13, 2018 | Leadership

Just because we get older doesn’t mean that the lessons from the pages of children’s books are any less relevant. In fact, re-reading some of those passages may prove more poignant and fitting in our adult years. Here are six children’s books worth turning back to for lasting lessons in leadership.


1. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

What it’s about: The Velveteen Rabbit, a newcomer to the nursery, begins his journey to become real – through the love of a child.

The leadership gem: “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or who have to be carefully kept.”




2. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

What it’s about: The adventures of a boy who wouldn’t grow up.

The leadership gem: “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.”




3. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day World by Judith Viorst

What it’s about: Alexander knew it was going to be a terrible day when he woke up with gum in his hair.

And it got worse…

The leadership gem: “My mom says some days are like that. Even in Australia.”



4. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling

What it’s about: Harry’s second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.


The leadership gem:  “It’s our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”




5. The Little Prince by Antione De Saint-Exupéry

What it’s about: This is the story of a grown-up meeting his inner child, embodied by a little prince he meets in the desert.

The leadership gem: “Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”





6. The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney

What it’s about: After a ferocious lion spares a cowering mouse that he’d planned to eat, the mouse later comes to his rescue, freeing him from a poacher’s trap.

The leadership gem: “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”



Books like these helped lay the foundation for where we are now as leaders. We can still appreciate the magic in their pages when we read them as children, and the timeless insight that apply to us as adults.


Question: What children’s books have inspired you along your leadership journey? 


Driven by the premise that excellence is the result of aligning people, purpose and performance, Center for Executive Excellence facilitates training in leading self, leading teams and leading organizations. To learn more, subscribe to receive CEE News!



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