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Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way: Timeless Strategies from the First Lady of Courage Paperback – August 26, 2003

4.8 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Gerber, a senior fellow at the University of Maryland's Academy of Leadership, idolizes Roosevelt as someone who overcame numerous hardships in her personal life. Using biographical details from different periods of the first lady's colorful history, from childhood to the last few months of her life, Gerber shows how Roosevelt's actions are still relevant and can provide inspiration for women today. Although it feels forced at times, this approach works. For example, in the chapter on finding your "leadership passion," Gerber says, "Your values have taken time to develop. They're based on your family background, religion, relationships and experiences and they are a part of you. But unless your values have been tested they may not be apparent to you." She then goes on to explain how Roosevelt didn't recognize her own values after spending many years listening to her grandmother and her husband. But when she began speaking out against political injustices, she grew more comfortable with her own beliefs. Each chapter ends with key principles ("Eleanor's Way"); some of these points are useful, but others are tired (e.g., "Follow your authentic instincts" or "Be bold and principled in implementing your vision"). Despite these flaws, Gerber's work provides a thought-provoking look at a first lady with a unique style.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Gerber, a labor lawyer, teacher, and senior fellow at the Academy of Leadership at the University of Maryland, here offers a self-help book for young women seeking to develop leadership skills. Noting the absence of leadership education materials that cite women as role models, Gerber has chosen to frame her advice around Eleanor Roosevelt and the difficult challenges she faced and overcame. Gerber's personal experience and vignettes from other successful women also illustrate the various lessons incorporated in each chapter, e.g., "Learn from Your Past," "Find Mentors and Advisers," "Learn from Adversity," and "Never Stop Learning." The chapter titled "Find Your Leadership Passion" describes ER's initiation in and reformist commitment to New York State politics and ends with a list of specific pointers under the heading of "Eleanor's Way," which in this instance includes the counsel to take the words I can't and should out of one's vocabulary. This book has a foreword by distinguished scholar James MacGregor Burns, and the publisher plans a major publicity campaign, but its audience is hard to define. For libraries with a large "self-help" clientele.
Cynthia Harrison, George Washington Univ., Washington, DC
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio (August 26, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591840201
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591840206
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. A. Atkinson on March 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
After reading about Colin Powel's style, Bush's War and Guiliani's book on Leadership, it was a nice break to read about one of history's greatest first ladies--Eleanor Roosevelt. It also served as a checkpoint for myself to have a peek at the early 20th century and the beginnings of the UN in light of recent events. This book was written by Robin Gerber who is a senior scholar at the Academy of Leadership which is part of the University of Maryland. Not only a biography of Eleanor, it's also a how-to on leadership and includes side information about how other women implement Eleanor's style in their lives today.
Key Takeaways:
Give Voice to Your Leadership--ER did not start out a brilliant and inspiring public speaker, she had to practice at it. She eventually managed to be an effective communicator through both speech and her writing in columns. She held press conferences at the White House for women reporters only--she identified an audience she could reach and began speaking to them.
Embrace Risk--despite many folks including herself being unsure of her and her role, at Truman's request ER took on a role within the formation of the UN and went on to be a leading proponant of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She took this on shortly after the death of FDR--a time when she could have retired. Instead she started on a second life.
Never Stop Learning--this keeps coming up in the lives of leaders--they have an interest in the world and learning about it. ER traveled extensively in the latter part of her life and took a good deal of interest in learning about the world and the various cultures enhabiting it. She traveled throughout the middle east and India. She also used her columns, and speeches as a tool to educate others.
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Format: Hardcover
At 46, I found the book both affirming and inspiring. Ms. Gerber shows, through the life of the great ER, how painful life experiences can enhance both self awareness and empathy, and even more amazingly, how suffering a betrayal can be liberating. Her discussion on the special leadership skills developed through motherhood make clear the public interest in cultivating women leaders. The book is both a very accesible, good read and an effective step-by-step leadership guide.
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Format: Hardcover
Ms. Gerber really brings Eleanor to life, and makes her human. This book unfolds the story of how Eleanor found herself -- found her skills, her voice, her passion. Even in the face of great challenges -- personal, social, political -- Eleanor had her internal compass which lead her to greatness.
This book also shows Eleanor's self-doubt -- a feeling that all mortals experience. Eleanor is not a "super hero." She was a living, breathing woman who didn't know where life would take her.
Finally, this book is about leadership -- not the hard-charging, slash-and-burn, take no prisoners approach. But the kinder, gentler, diplomatic approach, that appeals to people's desire to create a better world for themselves and everyone around them.
This is a great read, and will leave you inspired!
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Format: Hardcover
What a great book! I really loved the advice and getting the chance to learn about Eleanor Roosevelt, who I always admired but didn't know that much about. A fun read, and you take a lot away to use on the job and in your life.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a must add to your leadership library! If you like authors such as Donald T. Phillips-"Lincoln On Leadership" or Axelrod- "Elizabeth I CEO" then you will enjoy this book. The big plus is that it is about a contemporary woman leader. The author adds how you can take some of the leadership qualities of Eleanor and apply it to your own life situations. She gives examples from the lives of women in your community and mine who are working to make a difference each day. This book speaks to the vision of one woman who helped to make a difference in lives of women today. Things that we take for granted were hard fought for ideals championed by this woman. It is hard to put this book down once you get started and will apply to each woman who works to make the diffence in the lives of the family, the community and the world. Read It! You'll enjoy it!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As the title indicates this book is about the life and stories of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, with a particular focus on her leadership abilities. As the author states in his introduction: "Eleanor Roosevelt holds an unassailable place as the most respected and well-known woman of the last century. In the year before her death in 1962, international polls repeatedly showed her to be the world's most admired woman."

The book is divided into 12 sections, each focusing on one aspect of ER's leadership:

1) Learn from Your Past

2) Find Mentors and Advisers

3) Mothering: Training for Leadership

4) Learning the Hard Way

5) Find Your Leadership Passion

6) Your Leadership Your Way

7) Give Voice to Your Leadership

8) Face criticism with Courage

9) Keep Your Focus

10) Contacts, Networks, and Connections

11) Embrace Risk

12) Never Stop Learning

Inter-weaved into each chapter are numerous stories from ER's life in which she has demonstrated leadership in these areas. As stated by the author: "If there are essential threads that can be pulled from Eleanor's story of leadership, they are her adherence to her values, her keen assessment of people's needs, and her ability to motivate those around her to take responsibility and work for change."

What sets this book apart is the structure, the selection of supporting biographical elements and the summary of the key lessons at the end of each chapter. A must read Leadership book!
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