What would Attila the Hun do?
Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun, published 14 years ago, was a gimmick, says
author Wess Roberts.
It has sold more than a million copies, is published in 24 languages and has spawned copycat books on figures
ranging from Jesus to Martin Luther King Jr., all on leadership. The only thing that might slow the genre is an
exhaustion of historical figures.
Roberts had spent a career studying leadership, but no one would have bought a book
called Leadership Secrets of Wess Roberts, he said.
He was leaning toward Abraham Lincoln but chose Attila as his protagonist because so little
is known about him that Roberts could give his own advice in the voice of an ancient warrior
without any risk of it being challenged.
Authors say the books attempt to split the difference
between being practical and entertaining.
"They wouldn't keep publishing them if they didn't make
money," says Steven Hayward, author of Churchill on
He says readers like the books not only for inspiration,
but also for a quick biography for those who don't want all
the childhood details.
"Biographies aren't written with the purpose of drawing
out lessons," Hayward says.
Donald Phillips, the mayor of Dallas suburb Fairview, has
written Lincoln on Leadership, The Founding Fathers on
Leadership and Martin Luther King, Jr. on Leadership. He
says using historical figures makes the advice more
memorable than what comes from the pens of living
When Churchill gives advice, it's timeless. Lincoln on
Leadership can be read today or in 10 years, Phillips
In these times of turmoil, both on the battlefield and in
corporate offices, USA TODAY corporate management
reporter Del Jones asked five wartime leaders to weigh in with advice.
Question: Are leaders born or made?
Attila the Hun
Attila the Hun played by Wess
Roberts, author, Leadership
Secrets of Attila the Hun .
Churchill played by Steven
Hayward, author, Churchill on