The Soul of Leadership Was Not For Me

I just finished my first non-fiction book of the year.  I am not a huge non-fiction reader.  I like stories.  It can be a true story.  I prefer a good true story to fiction, actually.  But if it isn’t in the form of a story, I would like it summed up in nothing longer than a magazine article.  Maybe this comes from years of being told to roll things up to communicate to executives.   I have set a goal of reading at least 5 more non fiction books this year, so maybe I will find one that keeps my attention longer than an awesome episode of Glee or Breaking Bad.

I did force myself to finish Deepak Chopra’s The Soul of Leadership: Unlocking Your Potential for Greatness so I could get to my next book.  Why did I decide to read this?  Around New Year’s, I saw Deepak on CNN saying something very profound while I was running on the treadmill.  By the time I got home from the gym, I couldn’t remember what it was.  I searched the internet to see if I could find the clip on CNN.com or You Tube but no luck.  I thought if I read his new book, it might be in there.  I was also thinking a lot about unlocking MY potential for greatness, and it seemed like something that would help me get psyched up for my new leadership role at work (which has still not started yet..LONG transition period.)  I don’t think I found it in there because I still can’t remember what it was.

I think part of the problem might have been the Kindle.  On the Kindle, it is hard to flip back to refer to things.  When I am reading a story, I can visualize it in my head and I don’t need to go back and refer to anything.  With this book, the ideas kept leaving my mind and it was not easy to quickly browse back to re-orient myself.  Maybe it was the Kindle, or maybe I just was not that in to the ideas in this book.

Deepak talks about his leadership concepts using this acronym (see how it spells Leaders!)

  • L (Look and Listen)
  • E (Emotional Bonding)
  • A (Awareness)
  • D (Doing)
  • E (Empowerment)
  • R (Responsibility)
  • S (Synchronicity)

I always have a hard time getting through this “self help” stuff because it just sounds like common sense to me when I read it.  (Be a good person, listen to people and understand what they need, have self awareness, mediate a lot, etc…)  There are some pearls of wisdom here and there, but those could really be summed up in a magazine article.  I am sure some people find this book inspiring.  That what keeps this man in business, right?  Maybe my head was just not in the right place.

I think the people who read this book, will already embody a lot of these leadership qualities.  This book might remind them of things they already know or inspire them to be more conscious of them (until they get busy again) but my guess is that the people who really need to learn how do the things in this book (because they are horrible leaders) won’t read it, or can’t learn them from reading a book.   Just my opinion.

Next up, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. The last in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy.