When it comes to books, LaSala says he is an avid reader who picks up a book "whenever I can steal the time to do it.'' LaSala, 62, has been the Pinellas County administrator since October 2008; his relationship with the county goes back to 1979, when he worked under Fred Marquis as chief assistant county administrator. LaSala, who once aspired to be a teacher, received his master's in public administration from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. He has also worked as a city manager and administrator in California and in Sarasota County.
What's on your nightstand?
I read two or three newspapers a day and several magazines weekly, and I've got a stack of books because I keep a couple going at the same time. Here they are: The Power of Social Innovation by Stephen Goldsmith. It's tremendous stuff. I think it applies to where we're at now with the Great Recession and what we are calling the new normal. Simultaneously, I'm reading Wall Street Journal Guide to the 50 Economic Indicators That Really Matter by Simon Constable and Robert E. Wright. Given current times, I thought this was something I need to read more about. And I also have Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.
I also enjoy reading about history. I've got An American Requiem: God, My Father, and the War That Came Between Us by James Carroll, Pacific Crucible by Ian W. Toll, and a Jeff Shaara book I haven't started yet. His dad, Michael Shaara, wrote Killer Angels, and I read it in one sitting, and I'm interested on seeing how Jeff does. I'm also reading Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable. Years ago. I read Autobiography of Malcolm X (as told to Alex Haley). I wanted to see what has been discovered since then. It's interesting how history has played out and how it has spun a change of perspective.
What books on leadership do you recommend?
Peter Block for Stewardship: Choosing Service Over Self Interest, Daniel Goleman for Emotional Intelligence, and one of the greatest leadership books of all is Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Piper Castillo, Times staff writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.