Collegedale Tomorrow's David Barto recommends a few books that have shaped his leadership style

Contributed photography / David Barto

David Barto started Collegedale Tomorrow with the City of Collegedale and several stakeholders in the greater Collegedale community in 2015. The Foundation has raised more than $14 million over the last seven years and built The Commons near city hall in partnership with the city and the stakeholder community.

Barto attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga majoring in history and political science, but broke off his studies two years in to work on his landscape company. He, his wife and kids have traveled to the western U.S. more than 24 times and logged well over 200,000 miles traveling by car. Barto has a library of more than 1,100 books, which he has been collecting and reading for more than 30 years.

What books have you read and recommended to others that influence your leadership style and how you've developed your career?

"The Last Lion," by William Manchester and Paul Reid (three volumes), "American Caesar," by William Manchester, and "Eisenhower In War and Peace," by Jean Edward Smith. Winston Churchill had 100 ideas a day on how to defeat Hitler. Many were bad ones, like dressing up cargo ships to look like icebergs. But he also came up with the idea of the Mulberry Harbors used on D-Day+2.

From Churchill I get my favorite question: "Why not?" Why not pass the Standards, why not build The Commons. Always ask, "Why not?" Along with asking why not, it is important to have ideas, run with them, and see where they take you. Gen. Douglas MacArthur taught us the concept of "island hopping", simply skip the strongly held islands. MacArthur could change battlefield tactics on a dime, and he often landed right behind his troops. It's important to lead, if you are going to command and be seen doing so. His end in Korea came from arrogance, thus one can learn that humility is important when leading and working with others.

Who doesn't like Ike? Ike was the master team builder, the facilitator, the soother of bent egos. He was also one of our greatest presidents after Teddy Roosevelt and FDR in the 20th century. Be a leader from the front, ask questions, have ideas, build a team, change tactics, keep your eye on the prize, and when the football is just lying there in the field, pick it up and run.

What books have you recently read for pleasure that you're telling others about?

I am currently reading "Marlborough: His Life and Times," by Sir Winston Churchill, and I always have a Stephen King novel at hand. John Churchill, also known as Lord Marlborough, fought for Great Britain in the War of the Spanish Succession, and had to form alliances, work with the Dutch, and the Habsburg Empire, in what could best be described as our true "first world war." He had to negotiate every battle with the Dutch, and Parliament. The patience of this man was legendary and can be learned from.

From Stephen King I have developed a greater sense of empathy. Yes, his books are filled with monsters, but also some of the most decent people ever created for fiction reside in those pages. "Insomnia" has a beautifully written character, Ralph Roberts, and in my treatment of others, I often find myself asking: "What would Ralph do?". You can learn as much from a well-written piece of fiction as you can a well-written history or biography and sometimes more.

What is next on your to-read list?

After watching the "Foundation" series on AppleTV, I bought all of Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. I do love some well-written science fiction. The "Master and Margarita," by Mikhail Bulgakov is sitting on my reading desk in the library too, as are biographies on U.S. Grant, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, and Admiral William Halsey, Jr.