Combustible

Igniting Spontaneous Banter

Recommended by Hatch and Bill

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Leadership Secrets of Attila The Hun by Wess Roberts

Hatch says: I think most aggressive firefighters pride themselves on having a warrior’s mentality, and this book is about leading those types of personalities. Although it is not a historical account, it does a good job of using a historical figure as a centerpiece to put good leadership principles into a perspective that is informative and entertaining. 

Bill says: The first thing a brand new firefighter needs to realize is that the public can't recognize their newness. The public sees you as an expert; a jake like the rest of us who is going to solve their problem. The corollary realization is for you, the new firefighter, to realize that even though you "don't know anything," you ARE a leader. You might not feel like one, but the public will look to you to lead regardless. And as soon as someone is around with a day less experience than you, that person will be looking to you to lead them.

I say all that to point out that "leadership" books aren't just for the officers. In the fire service, everyone is expected to be a leader at times. (Everyone is expected to follow at times, as well.) This book uses a fictionalized account of Attila's military campaigns to illustrate leadership principles. It's pretty straightforward, but you have to put a little effort into drawing the lessons out. If you take the time, you'll find that the principles are on point.

And as the cover states, there are a half million copies in print. That means that just about every used book store has a copy waiting for you.

Bill recommends for all ranks (Read it a few times throughout your career and see how your perception of the lessons changes.)