Leading by Alex Ferguson and Michael Moritz


  1. Alex Ferguson managed Manchester United for 26 years and helped them achieve incredible success. This book is about what he has learned throughout his life about leadership
Key Takeaways
  1. Believes vast majority of leadership principles are universal
  2. Ultimate goal of any leader is to inspire his team to perform at their highest potential
  3. Young people have a lot of great insight as they are most in touch with current world and its future prospects
  4. Knowing who you are and being comfortable and confident with that is vital. Do this best through listening and watching
  5. As a leader must be able to zoom in and understand the details and zoom out to see the big picture
  6. Always be open to new experiences and people as you never know what serendipitous moments you will open yourself to
  7. Deliberate decision making important
  8. Emphasizes the importance of discipline in leading a team. Triumphs are an expression of consistent application of discipline
  9. In the long run, sticking to your principles is simply more important than results
  10. In crunch time, the best stand out by showing how relentless they are. Their unparalleled desire to excel and self discipline also set them apart
  11. Speaks how many of the best players came from working class families who early on instilled the importance of industry and hard work
  12. Drive more important than talent and can be infectious
  13. Most people don’t have strong inner convictions but this is so important for leaders and anybody seeking greatness
  14. Before you can build a great team you have to have a great organization, a great system, in place
  15. Being aware and deliberate about rest is vital
  16. Preparation is about eliminating as many surprises as possible 
  17. Plays a very aggressive style but eliminates risk as much as possible
  18. Greatly expanded recruiting and often took chances with young and talented players who would repay them with great loyalty
  19. Better and more experienced players are more honest with themselves when a player is better than them
  20. Players didn’t have to like him but had to respect him. Easier for that to happen when you take the time to get to know them as people
  21. Working with and through others is so important. 
  22. Against agents as they don’t truly have the players interests at heart
  23. Was always looking for any advantage. Invested early on into sports science, video analysis, nutritionists, sun beds for vitamin D, optometrists, compression socks, hot/cold exposure
  24. You can never stop building or else you stagnate 
  25. Moritz epilogue at the end is great. A lot of the interview questions he asked Ferguson and relates leadership in soccer to businesses
  26. The greats don’t compete with others as much as are chasing perfection
What I got out of it
  1. Long term, sustained greatness one of the toughest things to accomplish and never by accident. Complete devotion and focus to soccer, considers consistency, patience, perseverance vital; the greats don’t compete with others as much as much as they are chasing perfection