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Learning to Lead

Written by Ron Williams with Carl Weber

In Learning to Lead, bestselling author Ron Williams provides tested leadership advice, whether you’re searching for a new career, looking for proven management solutions, or seeking to transform an organization. Developed from William’s own personal and professional journey, as well as the experiences of some of America’s iconic CEOs, his strategies emerge from engaging stories, outlined with practical steps that will help you achieve your most important career and life goals.

Available in stores from Greenleaf Book Group Press

“An indispensable guide to leadership.”

– Julie Sweet, Chief Executive Officer -North America, Accenture

“Powerful and enjoyable.”

– Bruce D. Broussard, President & CEO, Humana Inc.

“A must-read for all leaders.”

– Bill George, former Medtronic CEO; Senior Fellow, Harvard Business School and author of Discover Your True North

The Author

Ron Williams is best known for his leadership at Aetna, where he transformed a $292 million operating loss into $2 billion in annual earnings. He serves as chairman & CEO of RW2 Enterprises, director for American Express, Warby Parker, and agilon Health. He holds an MS in Management from MIT Sloan School of Management.

More praise for
Learning to Lead

“Williams’ Learning to Lead is that kind of rare gift that once opened, you feel so fortunate to have received. A true guide to leadership regardless of where along the journey you are or want to be.”

David Wilkie, Chief Executive Officer, World 50

“Ron Williams represents the kind of leader we need in every sector of society today—a person of integrity, focused on solving problems and building organizations that serve human needs with both efficiency and compassion. Learning to Lead offers wise counsel on every page.”

Steve Odland, President and CEO, The Conference Board

“Learning to Lead is an expert tutorial in leadership and management with lessons that are applicable to all levels of leaders, from new business leaders to Fortune 500 CEOs. The stories and insights are clear and come alive with rich examples applicable to anyone who leads a team or organization. Ron Williams aptly identifies many of the attributes we look for in successful executives. Learning to Lead is accessible, practical, and inspiring. Its lessons will help you become a better leader and may help you become a better person.”

Rusty O’Kelley, Global Leader of the Board Advisory & Effectiveness Practice, Russell Reynolds Associates

“In Learning to Lead, Ron Williams has given us an indispensable guide to leadership. Whether you are seeking ways to jumpstart your career, now leading others or leading an organization, the book offers actionable tips and tools, from reframing issues to the importance of honest, transparent communications to creating a high-performance culture in the face of leadership challenges. Ron manages to distill what he’s learned in his extraordinary career, and the book should be on every professional’s must-read list”

Julie Sweet, Chief Executive Officer—North America, Accenture

“Ron Williams’s life story and business experience are inspiring and the lessons he imparts about leadership apply across all sectors. His advice is personal, practical, and profound. Learning to Lead offers valuable insight for those seeking to grow and thrive in the workplace.”

Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., TIAA, President and Chief Executive Officer

“Ron Williams reveals how to turbo-charge your quest for success with this honest roadmap for all who want to thrive in their careers . . . starting on day one! Everyone from front line managers to CEOs will find lessons that will help them unlock their potential and avoid needless mistakes when they read Learning to Lead”

Jerri DeVard, Executive Vice President, Chief Customer Officer, Office Depot

“The remarkable inspiration provided by the candid and reflective storytelling in Ron Williams’ Learning to Lead will hopefully encourage many more individuals to take the path of integrity in leadership that is so essential at this time. Ron has laid his remarkable journey from the South Side of the Chicago to the C-suite not as the exception to the rule, but to light the way so others can follow. The clarity and conviction of this book will be a guide for generations of leaders from all walks of life for years to come.”

Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation

“A prominent investor recently told me that his fund ‘doesn’t invest in companies, it invests in leaders.’ That’s one key reason why Learning to Lead is a must read. It embraces the notion that only a few great leaders are born that way—most must learn the DNA of leadership. Ron Williams is a proven leader and teacher, and reading his book is a great way to start learning to lead!”

Dennis Carey, Vice Chairman Korn Ferry and Founder, CEO Academy

“I’ve known Ron Williams for many years, and I’ve followed his career with admiration. We all can benefit from Ron’s vast leadership experience. Now that he has written Learning to Lead, many other people—especially young men and women who aspire to leadership roles in organizations of every kind—can take inspiration and guidance from his experiences and his wisdom.”

Bernard J. Tyson, Former Chairman and CEO, Kaiser Permanente

“Ron Williams has written an exceptional book that seamlessly blends his amazing personal journey with keen business insight. In today’s world, where leadership is often associated with bombast and antagonism, his commitment to empathy, ethics, diligence, and belief in the innate good of others offers an alternative vision of how to lead businesses that is extraordinarily compelling.”

Troyen Brennan, Former Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, CVS Health

“Engaging and insightful stories are what distinguishes Ron Williams’s book Learning to Lead. His well-told personal story inspired me, producing moments of both laughter and learning. One of America’s most influential business leaders, Ron has produced a book you shouldn’t miss.”

Michael Leavitt, 14th Governor of Utah and 20th Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services

“Aetna CEO Ron Williams’s remarkable book, Learning to Lead, not only details his remarkable rise from Chicago’s South Side to CEO of one of America’s greatest companies, but shows what it takes to lead in today’s complex society. With courage, tenacity, and wisdom of experience, Williams provides pragmatic advice on leading authentically to rise to the top. A must read for all leaders.”

Bill George, Former Medtronic CEO; Senior Fellow, Harvard Business School and author of Discover Your True North

“Nurturing and developing leaders of the future is an incredibly important calling, and while it’s hard work, its impact can be felt for generations to come. Through sharing recounts of his own remarkable experiences, Ron’s book, Learning to Lead, is insightful and inspiring and offers practical advice and methods for developing leadership excellence, an area in which Ron has demonstrated great success throughout his decades-long career. A powerful and enjoyable read.”

Bruce D. Broussard, President & CEO, Humana Inc.

“Ron Williams writes the way he leads his life and career—thoughtfully, honestly, with integrity and elegance—and provides whack-on-the-side-of-the-head, ‘aha’ vignettes that illustrate how to lead. His book provides wise and easy-to-digest counsel on how to fully develop the head, heart, muscles, and soul of a winning organization, one designed to do the right thing in the right way.”

Ted Leonsis, Majority Owner, 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals