on November 8, 2012
To be perfectly honest, as an old leadership professor, I didn't expect myself to read this book closely. It's been a long, long time since somebody has written anything about leadership that sounds new or profound to me, so I just skim. Moreover, the lack of white space in the margins makes the read seem even more daunting to an old man.
So, I was almost in a state of shock as I found myself being delighted by the craft and creativity of Taylor's manner here - the voice so casual and friendly and assured that I didn't want to miss a phrase or word -- the comic twists so droll, the interweaving of the personal and the professional so thorough, the occasional turn to talk directly to each reader so refreshing and 'awakening,' the insistence on the collaborative nature of creativity so bold and so persuasively illustrated. (The seemingly mundane image of Taylor and his wife creating the boundary of their flower bed will probably never leave my mind as an example of collaborative craft and art and leadership.)
The book as a whole is a masterpiece collage of what it says it is about, drawing upon so many arts and crafts and business situations, like an Escher painting painting itself and us into it. I imagine students will be inspired by this book in all kinds of constructive ways (as the reviewer before me evidently is).
But here's fair warning: you may be left with a question that's hard to understand and also hard to shake, namely, can one's life as a whole be enacted as a developing work of art? Bill Torbert
on August 24, 2012
I read this book for a leadership class that I took. I found it to be outstanding. I have an engineering background, and am in an MBA program, so all of my training tends towards bottom line, results oriented frameworks. This book slowly and thoroughly develops and articulates an alternate view of the world. For me, much of what was described was new and fascinating.
The author uses story, metaphor, and several other techniques to develop his themes. His focus is on seeing leadership in a way that goes beyond analytical frameworks and toolsets. He is talking about bringing creativity and art to what the person does. Chapter 4 in particular I found thrilling. The closing line, "What would you die for?" reminds you forcefully of what it can be like to bring real passion to what you do.
To be fair, many of my fellow classmates found the book to be confusing, rather than meaningful. This book does operate at a high level, and lack of solid English or just life experience can decrease what a person can take from it. I imagine it would also be less revelatory to someone with a more artistic/ theatrical background. For someone like me though, it was paradigm shifting- not something that happens that often. I strongly recommend it.