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From Smart to Wise: Acting and Leading with Wisdom Hardcover – March 18, 2013
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Q & A with Prasad Kaipa and Navi Radjou, authors of From Smart to Wise
In a leadership context, it means taking your existing smartness to the next level and beyond--not by getting smarter or thinking smarter or working smarter, but by cultivating your practical wisdom. Wisdom leverages your intelligence: your thinking and your leadership become more adaptable, broad-based, and sustainable. Wisdom gives you ethical clarity and a sense of purpose--enabling you to apply your smartness in the service of others.Why should readers care about practical wisdom?
The world is changing very rapidly. What you learned when you went to college, when you first started in the company, or when you first became successful will no longer get you results today. In fact, your smartness of today may very well become your in-competence tomorrow. Being smart (even very, very smart) just isn't enough anymore. Wisdom helps broaden your perspective so you can respond to external events with poise and discernment. By bringing a balance between smartness and wisdom you can become more effective and successful.
Our message is not that you have to give up or dial back your smartness--not at all. Rather, deliberately cultivating wisdom helps you deploy your smartness and expertise much more effectively. Not incidentally, it also allows you to achieve personal growth and bring long-lasting value to yourself, your organization, and society at large.How will this book help readers move from smart to wise?
We'll help you assess where you are currently in your leadership evolution, and offer a six-step roadmap to monitor your progress--along with tools, a framework, and real world examples of smart, wise leaders from Alan Mulally to Ratan Tata to Wendy Kopp.
The tools and framework will help you gain clarity about your role as a leader, allowing you to
- act in ways that are both authentic and appropriate
- delegate effectively and let others get credit
- make tough decisions without losing sleep
- lead and collaborate with people who think, feel, and act very differently from you
- foster a productive, sustainable work environment
Our experience coaching over one hundred senior leaders and teaching these tools to thousands of executives has shown that integrating practical wisdom with business smarts will make you feel less stressed and more capable of managing change. It will help you become an ever more influential, effective leader.Why did you write this book?
For 25 years, our work has involved studying how people learn, listen, lead, think, and create--and helping them do it better in a business context. Back then, we were involved in a project where we interviewed about 200 highly accomplished people, including Nobel laureates, CEOs, thought leaders, and athletes, exploring what qualities make them successful. We identified two pathways to success in this group: one that favors smartness and one that leads to wisdom. We found these paths are distinct but not mutually exclusive--in fact, they build on one other. But one, the "smart" path, gets more attention and accolades in today's leadership circles, even though the other, the "wise" path, makes success more sustainable.
Since then, we've coached over one hundred senior leaders and worked in executive education settings with about forty thousand executives from all over the world. Our experience has deepened our original insights and given us vast practical experience in their application. It has become clear to us that the path of practical wisdom (incorporating both smart and wise approaches) is essential in these times of greater complexity, accelerating globalization, and rapid technology shifts. We decided to write a book that distilled our decades of work into a practical process that smart leaders could use to cultivate practical wisdom.
“With examples from today’s best leaders, Kaipa and Radjou have created a practical guide for accelerating your own wise leadership development, a true competitive advantage in today’s rapidly changing world. We can all benefit from the self-reflection that From Smart to Wise encourages. By defining our unique ‘noble purpose,’ we can bring about meaningful change and progress in our companies, communities, and society.”
—Indra K. Nooyi, chairman and CEO, PepsiCo, Inc.
“From Smart to Wise teaches the importance of working together and shows that everyone can contribute to making the world a better place.”
—Alan Mulally, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company
“We are entering a new era of 'conscious capitalism' in which enlightened organizations will strive to serve a higher purpose that transcends profit maximization. This thought-provoking book proposes pragmatic pathways for smart leaders to become wise leaders who will run the conscious businesses of tomorrow.”
—John Mackey, co-CEO and cofounder, Whole Foods Market
“An invaluable guide to negotiating leadership in a world that expects both reflection and decisive action from the C-suite. This enjoyable book reminds us that leadership success requires continual communication, motivation, and connection to a meaningful purpose.”
—Beth Comstock, chief marketing officer, GE
“Leaders can't rely on smartness alone to solve the complex issues and paradoxes they face today. This seminal book shows how leaders across sectors can cultivate practical wisdom and use it to create sustainable value for all stakeholders.”
—Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman, the World Economic Forum
“In a leadership landscape of greater volatility, uncertainty, and public attention, the wisdom conveyed by Kaipa and Radjou in From Smart to Wise will prove invaluable for any executive seeking lasting impact and fulfillment.”
—Dominic Barton, global managing director, McKinsey & Company
“Few developments for leadership are more important in today's world than learning how to blend eastern wisdom traditions with western pragmatism. From Smart to Wise is an immensely practical guide for those who are serious about their development as leaders.”
—Peter Senge, founding chair, Society for Organizational Learning; New York Times best-selling author, The Fifth Discipline
“Kaipa and Radjou remind us that at the top of the intelligence hierarchy isn't the individual genius but the genius maker who has the wisdom to lead for the common good and evoke the best in others. The path from smart to wise should be the aspiration of all who lead in the knowledge economy.”
—Liz Wiseman, Wall Street Journal best-selling author, Multipliers
“Developing wisdom can turn a long and arduous trip into a compelling, sustainable, and inspiring leadership journey. Read this fascinating book and let it teach you the tools you’ll need to go from smart to wise!”
—Marshall Goldsmith, New York Times best-selling author, MOJO and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There
“From Smart to Wise is a practical and powerful book that reminds us of the ultimate destination of our leadership journeys: wisdom earned through experience and shared in service of others. Even better, Prasad Kaipa and Navi Radjou offer a step-by-step road map for getting there, complete with real-world examples sure to inspire and challenge us along the way.”
—John R. Ryan, president and CEO, Center for Creative Leadership
“This extraordinary book takes the intangible concept of wisdom and brings it to life, giving it context and ways for us to practice wise leadership in our daily lives. Kaipa and Radjou show us how to connect with other leaders in today’s interdependent world to cocreate a field of wise leadership. You must read From Smart to Wise. It is a journey worth taking.”
—Cynthia Cherrey, president, the International Leadership Association; vice president, Princeton University
“Getting from smart to wise is the most important leadership challenge of the twenty-first century. Prasad Kaipa and Navi Radjou offer a guidebook to this transformation, one that any leader will find of great use.”
—Daniel Goleman, author, Emotional Intelligence
“From Smart to Wise is a good example of what it talks about. It is wise, clear, and grounded in real experience. It reminds us that our humanity is the key to success in business, and also that a purpose greater than profit is needed to create a world that is fulfilling as well as productive.”
—Peter Block, author, Stewardship and Abundant Community
“From Smart to Wise is a very timely and unique book. Kaipa and Radjou offer us a pathway to evolve from behaving smartly to acting and leading wisely, extending benefits of wise leadership not only to ourselves and our companies but also to our societies.”
—Jeff Smith, CEO and cofounder, LUNAR Design
“From Smart to Wise is the book managers from all walks of life and in all institutions ought to read. Kaipa and Radjou credibly and convincingly make the point that smartness is no longer sufficient to be sustainably successful today and provide those interested in becoming wise leaders with a useful road map.”
—Dr. Klaus M. Leisinger, chairman, Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development
“Ordinary organizations become extraordinary organizations when some wise leaders embrace the collective good and invite others to do the same. From Smart to Wise is a magnificent book about how to become a person of wisdom and influence.”
—Robert E. Quinn, professor, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan; author, Deep Change
“Kaipa and Radjou have spent most of their lives bringing the wisdom traditions to bear on the art of business. From Smart to Wise offers depth, context, and timeless tools to lift the mechanical into the noble, marrying the practical and the compassionate—a rare, effective, uplifting companion.”
—Mark Nepo, best-selling author, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen and The Book of Awakening
“From Smart to Wise is a game changer! Read it to find how to apply practical wisdom in your business. Use the framework in this book to create your own wise leadership road map—and you too can become a highly effective leader like Warren Buffett, Ratan Tata, and Alan Mulally.”
—Professor Theodore R. Malloch, Yale University; director, The Academy of Business in Society; and author, Doing Virtuous Business
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Top Customer Reviews
From Smart to Wise is clearly about leadership in all situations not just business. Its simple universal message underscores the dearth of true leadership in the world today and why at every level humanity, and our habitat (Earth), needs wise leaders. Whether it is about gang violence, rape and misogyny, racism, government, business and sports corruption, safety nets for the poorest among us or alternatives to fearful, arrogant militarism, we must become more accountable, more humble and more able to speak our truth without fear of recrimination. From Smart to Wise gives us a wisdom template and grounds each concept in easy-to-read examples of how smart people have become wise or have missed the opportunity. I recommend this to all business people, politicians, administrators and parents. The time has never been more urgent for all of us to raise our game.
The authors have worked extensively with leading companies such as Apple and others and have helped hundreds of business executives over decades to become better leaders. They bring deep expertise to their field, which shows throughout this superb book that is filled with tremendous wisdom and illustrations.
The book describes how to develop the six capabilities that are needed for wise leadership. It will help you recognize your higher purpose and act in ways that are authentic to it. It will also help you acquire greater clarity about your role and how to make decisions, enable you to persist while being flexible, understand what motivates you, as well as make you a better partner in working with others.
What I also really like about the book are the terrific examples of dozens of wise leaders that fill every chapter. They beautifully illustrate the concepts and show how you can utilize them for your own leadership.
I especially like the easy way in which the book reads. The sentences and paragraphs are crisp and to the point and the text stays focused on how you can apply the knowledge to your own situation.
The book is a pioneering contribution to the emerging field of wise leadership. It provides a roadmap for the individual change that is necessary for business and capitalism to better serve the needs of humanity. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to become a better business leader.
Right from the get-go the authors create a solid framework of two poles of leadership (Red and Blue) and then provide six leadership capabilities that can help you with your journey towards being a Wise leader. They have gone through great pains to explain clearly what a Wise leader is and does, so it leaves no doubt in the reader's mind about what being Wise is! The book is full of stories of people's leadership transformation from contemporaneous and everyday names. These narratives weave a tapestry of compelling anecdotes that help you realize that the journey from Smart to Wise is a process of self-discovery, self-awareness, and discipline, which require deep introspection and an ability to see beyond the immediate, transactional, and personal priorities most of us deal with.
The authors also provide many tools to assess where you fit in the continuum between the Red and the Blue opposites and where you are in your journey to being a Wise leader. It is not just a book that you read and put away, but it is something every leader must read and re-read until they are able to practice being a Wise leader!
I recommend this book to any one who love being better and better every day as a human being as well as a situational leader (irrespective of profession and/or age group)