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Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love, and Leadership Hardcover – May 16, 2011
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Dickson defines humility as "the noble choice to forgo your status, deploy your resources or use your influence for the good of others before yourself," such that a "humble person is marked by a willingness to hold power in service of others." (p. 24). By this definition you can see that humility starts from a position of dignity, strength, and a healthy sense of my own worth and abilities. Unlike humiliation, which can be thrust upon me by others, humility is a choice I make willingly. And humility is social, more about how I treat others than about how I think of myself. Bob Sutton has written that the best test of a person's character is how he or she treats those with less power.
Dickson argues that humility is important for leadership because humility is persuasive. Humility unlocks the door to referent power. "We are more attracted to the great who are humble than to the great who know it and want everyone else to know it as well." (p. 69). He quotes Aristotle's belief that character is the controlling factor in persuasion: "We believe good-hearted people to a greater extent and more quickly than we do others on all subjects in general and completely so in cases where there is not exact knowledge but room for doubt." (p. 139). We trust the humble more than the proud to act in our best interest.
Dickson also argues that humility is generative, a powerful key to learning and growth.Read more ›
There are plenty of books which have been written about the virtues of humility, but I was intrigued to find out what a historian might have to say about the virtue of humility as applied to leadership. Humility, according to the author, is the noble choice to forgo your status, deploy your resources or use your influence for the good of others before yourself. Thus true humility presupposes that a person has status and influence, and is not to be confused with low self-esteem or being a doormat.
In subsequent chapters, the author asserts that:
* It is common sense for us to use humility to keep our pride in check.
* We are more attracted to great people who are humble than to those who are not.
* The ancient world admired honour, not humility, but Jesus of Nazareth caused a humility revolution.
* Humility generates learning and growth, and provides a firm basis for self-esteem.
* The humble are frequently more persuasive and inspiring than the arrogant.
* Humility inspires and lifts those around us.
* Humility means treating those who hold contrary beliefs with respect and friendship.
The book is reasonably brief and written in an entertaining style.Read more ›
This book weaves together people and ideas from many times and eras, including present day. He uses the Steve Jobs' inability of showing humility in the iphone 4 "attenagate" and how simply not saying "sorry" and defending themselves was in fact the wrong way of handling it and tarnished their reputation somewhat. He also talks about being a young boy and meeting the irish band U2 in a hotel dining room and how when they approached them, they were warmly welcomed - by a world class band! They were inspired by this exchange. Humility breeds inspiration and respect, and harmony.
You will enjoy this book. Practical, compelling and even needed in today's society.
Self-regard, self-assertion, self-consciousness.....self-, self-, self-... these are the found on the surface everywhere. Regrettably, they're also found underneath the surface, time and again, when one gets to the root of common problems.
John Dickson, a Ph.D. from the highly regarded Macquarie University in Sydney, has produced a thoughtful, serviceable book on humility. He combines a historian's perspective with a practical bent. The result is enchanting.
Dickson is emphatic and convincing in arguing that humility is a key component of effective leadership. As he says, "All organizations, even hugely hierarchical ones like the military, are still communities of people in [a] relationship."
--Persuasion and example are keys to effective leadership.
--Humility enhances persuasiveness, partly because it is a compelling character trait in leaders.
--Therefore, humility is important for leadership.
Some reviewers have criticized Dickson's book as being too academic, removed from the real world. They apparently would prefer a workbook.
Such criticism misses the point in at least two ways. First, Dickson, an academic with a strong focus on Christian themes, has written the book he set out to write. He's quite clear about his approach from the start, so readers are forewarned. There are no false pretenses here.
More importantly, Dickson offers the readers a way of thinking. He proposes it, backs it up with a myriad of examples, and leaves it to the reader to craft her own approach.
The bottom line: Humilitas is a fine book. It can stimulate thought and guide action for anyone seeking to make a greater contribution in their life and work. I recommend it highly.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed the study of Humility not only from the Biblical standpoint but also secular. I enjoyed it a lot., very practical.Published 5 months ago by Theodore P. Veer
Dickson's writings have inspired my own on humility as an imperative leadership quality. I quote him several times in my upcoming book. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Author John
The author makes a good case that leaders will be better leaders if they have the character quality of humility. He gives a lot of good examples and some practical advice.Published 9 months ago by Joel
Dickson provides a lengthy approach to a practical guide on humility, and he nails it. His arguments are not ones that are easily dismissed, nor argued against. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Jonathan Esterman
One of the best and most thoughtful books on the qualities of humility I have ever read. A must read for the modern man or woman.Published 10 months ago by Michael L. Graham
Dickson writes from both a historical and a contemporary viewpoint giving a depth and breadth many books lack. He also gives many good illustrations to support his conclusions. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Thomas Norton