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Greater Than Yourself: The Ultimate Lesson of True Leadership Hardcover – March 3, 2009
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“Greater Than Yourself is a terrific—no, wonderful—idea. Steve is a tremendous writer and an original thinker.”
“Raising someone up does not reduce your stature—in fact, it exalts you in ways you have to experience to believe. Greater Than Yourself shows how you can begin improving the world by giving of yourself. It’s a wonderful message wrapped in a highly entertaining, well-written story.”
—Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager® and Leading at a Higher Level
“Greater Than Yourself is more than a good tale well told. It’s a path-breaking book that brings to life the ultimate leadership lesson—that the highest purpose of our work is the development of other leaders. It’s a gift for your mind and your spirit. I enthusiastically recommend it.”—Jim Kouzes, coauthor of the bestselling book The Leadership Challenge, Dean’s Executive Professor of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University
About the Author
STEVE FARBER, the president of Extreme Leadership, is a leadership consultant and speaker, and the author of the national bestseller The Radical Leap, and The Radical Edge. He lives in San Diego, California.
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I do have to disagree with Farber on one critical point. He claims GTY is different from mentoring, but I believe that's exactly what it is; mentoring done correctly. The basic tenets of GTY are "expand yourself" (the more you know, the more you can give), "give yourself" (be a willing teacher) and "replicate yourself" (teach someone else to be as good or better than you are). That sounds like mentoring to me.
There are some great lines in the book. A few that caught my attention were, "changing the world doesn't require changing everybody in it", "the greater your resources, the more you can give", and a great little explanation about the old adage, "knowledge is power". You'll just have to read the book to learn the dirty little secret about that famous phrase.
This is a quick and easy read and the storyline captures the attention. While it does have a similar message to a lot of other books out there, it is well worth reading.
I also liked his authenticity throughout the book. He admits right from the start he thought GTY was some hokey-pokey-pie-in-the-sky concept that would never work. But as the "so-called novel" progressed, he began to really catch on. Although he doesn't talk too much about the mentee he eventually chose as his "GTY project," he skillfully brings out how and why this is not only noble but very practical, despite his doubts at the beginning.
Let me just say that as a result of reading his book, I've taken on a GTY mentee. While that might not faze you in the least, it does represent the first time in my entire life that I've undertaken a mentee in a deep, meaningful way.
I would say this is one of the best business books I've read in a long time. It's not stuffed with fluff. It really brought out my emotions. I found myself laughing, crying and smiling. It made me contemplate the consequences of taking on a GTY project - it's definitely not for everyone. It takes courage, commitment and strength to develop any kind of mentor/mentee relationship; especially one that constitutes a GTY project.
As a former stockbroker, I'd say "It's a buy."
This is Steve's third book and in Steve's unforgettable "parable" style. Again Steve meets with some under-the-radar leaders, i.e. business leaders that you wouldn't think are business leaders. Don't Google the characters of the book. As with The Radical Leap, The Radical Edge and The Radical Leap Re-Energized: Doing What You Love in the Service of People Who Love What You Do, they don't really exist (or their real names have been changed). This book lists three simple things you can do to help those around you become better than yourself and having your relationships profit from doing so- three simple ideas that could change the lives of those around you. I could tell you what they are, but then the whole message of the book would be lost.
It is one of those books that, once you begin reading it, you just can't put it down until you've finished it, making it a great weekend read!
I would HIGHLY recommend picking up The Radical Leap Re-Energized: Doing What You Love in the Service of People Who Love What You Do and reading this first. Then immediately get into Greater Than Yourself. Then you will definitely get a fond understanding of the concept of Extreme Leadership.
You may not be able to successfully Google the names of the characters in the book, but definitely peruse the names of the people at the end of the book. You might find someone you know...