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If You Will Lead: Enduring Wisdom for 21st-Century Leaders Hardcover – June 7, 2011
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Praise for IF YOU WILL LEAD
"Leadership consultant Doug Moran offers a fascinating, instructive perspective that identifies the If Sixteen Leadership Attributes” that [Rudyard] Kipling's poem describes. Moran’s well-researched biographies of historic figures illustrate qualities Kipling found essential to great leadership. getAbstract recommends Moran’s insights to students of history and to good leaders seeking to become great." - Washington Post
"Doug Moran, a former Capital One CIO and Virginia state commissioner, offers perspectives on principled leadership." - Baseline Magazine
"There is considerable wisdom to be garnered from Doug's perspective....There is no question that any leader who embraces the quest for continued learning will benefit from this book. Read it. Learn from it. Share it." - Kristin Kaufman, founder of Alignment Inc.
"If You Will Lead uses the power of storytelling to teach its leadership lessons. It combines bigger-than-life examples with everyday stories to help leaders apply its lessons to their own leadership challenges, whatever they may be." - Interview Angel
"Provocative, engaging and helpful...Many of the 'If Sixteen' leaders whose lives Doug chose to chronicle are people I thought I knew about, and/or whose careers I had formed solid opinions about. However, Doug’s biographical information about them, coupled with his unique interpretations, provided healthy challenges to my understandings." - Susan Palmer, founder of Susan Palmer Consulting
"Speak[s] to our need to rethink our core thinking, beliefs and motivationsto do the uncomfortable." - Leadership Now
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I really enjoyed this book but it could've been much shorter. The entire leadership concept portrayed in this book is based off a poem by Rudyard Kipling titled "If". The concept is fabulous and I truly enjoyed how the author chose different leaders in history to demonstrate the different leadership principals he was speaking to. The problem is so many things are reiterated over and over again in this book. It has definitely been fitted with some filler to make the book a bit beefier but if you can get past that and just stick it out for the extra couple of days it takes to get through it, then the concepts are well worth it. The 16 leadership principals discussed by Doug Moran are crucial and it is extremely important to be able to understand and differentiate between the different qualities and what actually goes into them.
Unfortunately, I feel like the author could've made a stronger and more lasting impressions if he hadn't tried to make the book longer than it needed to be. It could've been shortened by at least a 1/3 and because of this I lost focus throughout the book and found my mind wondering off to other things. Fortunately, however, because there are so many repeats, it doesn't take much effort to realize what you missed while you were spaced out because it will go ahead and be repeated for you again a few times. I've read dozens and dozens of leadership type books and although the concept in this book was new and very smart and intriguing, the author loses a little bit of credibility in my opinion when he can't just trust the material as it is without repeating it 10x. As a reader, it is insulting when an author believes his readers are too stupid to get the idea without it being repeated over and over again. Whether he meant it that way or not I can't say. That is just how it came off to me.
Disclaimer: If I had paid normal and full price for this book it would've gotten maybe 1-2 stars from me. I don't feel like there is enough material in the book that is not just repeated in 6 different ways for it to be worth that amount. (P.S. for those who think I'm talking about the likeness between the principals themselves, that is not what I am referring to. Each principle could've been discussed in at least half the time that was taken).
"If You Will Lead" is based on lines from Kipling's "If" poem. Doug Moran explores the ideas in this poem and explains how some of history's greatest leaders lived out the poem's truths. Doug Moran says that a real leader is an open book. He/She speaks about their beliefs and values with courage and boldness.
This book explains what true leadership is and it is amazing how many of these successful leaders had to go through a lot of difficult times before they were recognized as leaders.
I felt this book was interesting and written in a very engaging way. It took three days to read however, so be prepared for quite a journey. This book contains detailed biographies of each leader discussed. There are timelines of their lives and suggestions for how the reader can become a great leader too. As you read this you will realize what you can achieve or become. You might find that you have a lot of the qualities of a leader already and only need to tweak an area or two.
Some of the things discussed include: sound judgment, negotiation, decision making and how bouncing back from adversity will make you stronger.
This is one of the most detailed books I've ever read and I learned a lot. The only thing I thought was silly was the advice to watch soap operas. Real leaders probably don't have the time and would rather read an inspiring book.
~The Rebecca Review
Moran writes in his introduction ("A Note to Historians") "This is not a history text. Each story accurately highlights a leader's use of a specific leadership skill..." Well, Mr. Moran, history is an academic discipline with rules. It is not an exposition of opinions without facts, or written in such a way that it misleads. The use of "some people," "some said," "many thought" are intentional efforts on the part of the author to attempt to create cover for the book's creative--and blatantly incorrect--ahistorical statements. For example, Moran strongly implies that Theodore Roosevelt chose to improve his body's physical stature in reaction to his parents' belief that his frail body was not capable of supporting his normal life. In reality, Roosevelt's father pushed his son to improve his body, and Theodore willingly went along with his father's desires. This changes the character of the situation (and the man). Moran strongly implies that the civil rights movement in the US was not focused or unified until Dr. King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. This is untrue. Moran writes that Ronald Reagan backed SDI because he believed that it would bankrupt the Soviet Union. This is untrue (Reagan even offered to share the technology with the Soviets). That Lincoln was a poor speaker. Tubman had no support. There are many more examples, and these errors matter because this is the raison d'etre of Moran's book. Otherwise, this is simply a book full of platitudes about how to be a good person...but unfortunately, because Moran is not an historian he does not feel an obligation to give his readers the truth. If you read this book you will unwittingly end up with the wrong understanding of the past, and those who lived it. Skip his "historical fiction" and get your own definitions of character, authenticity, integrity, self-efficacy, ambition, vision, boldness, resilience, inspiration, courage, selflessness, and stamina. Moran's is deeply, and intentionally, flawed.