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on March 30, 2008
Reading Michael Carroll's book and attending his weekend retreat earlier this year turned around my attitude at the office, prepared me well for several looming crises at work, and nearly saved my life. His book Mindful Leadership is essential for anyone trying to lead successfully in today's world of information overload, anti-rationalism, and blind decision-making. It is equally helpful for a business leader, public servant, diplomat or aid worker, NGO or community organizer. Rather than give advice on what to do when, he teaches us that mindful leadership means being open and synchronized--which allows us to tap into our own natural goodness and wisdom that is already in our environment and telling us how to lead.

In many respects, Michael's teachings struck familiar chords for me, since I have been meditating and leading mindfully for years. I already knew that dropping our own addiction to rehearsing our emotions as mental dramas and being open to a situation can yield unexpected wisdom, and I also knew that being open to the world can leave us feeling unprepared and deeply exposed (p. 187). It was reassuring to read examples that show awareness and patience to be among the skills of a mindful leader, and to learn to trust in the basic wisdom of our environment and self.

No doubt you (as a leader) are already strong in some areas too, and this book will help you to see how to improve in those areas that may be underdeveloped. Some of his ideas were uncomfortable for me at first--for instance, the idea that it's a waste of energy to fight arrogance and hypocrisy as if they were a static enemy, and that mindful leaders instead paddle with the fluid momentum of organizations by using a synchronized sense of timing, awareness, and realism (p. 174). Once I read that chapter, I realized that Michael presented a more mature approach, and testing it out I found that his teachings were right on the mark. I immediately stopped flailing my arms as a tired boxer, and started working with the world as it is rather than as I thought it should be; this was a change that has helped save my sanity and make me more effective in the midst of serious crises.

Michael's writing style successfully combines unparalleled business experience with the thousand-year-old wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism, without being too strong (or weak) on either. This book reads very much like Chögyam Trungpa's Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior--very down to earth and practical, yet based on deep wisdom from one of humankind's oldest spiritual paths.

If only I could encourage my colleagues to read this book and internalize its teachings, U.S. foreign policy and government leaders would be more effective. Michael and a few other colleagues have already been applying mindful leadership to the field of law with wonderful results, and there is room for application to other fields. Perhaps if I write a longer review for our diplomatic service publications...
21 people found this helpful
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on January 16, 2012
This book is a must for any manager, or anybody who is not one (that covers everybody, right?). You will see how your actions affect those around you in positive and negative ways that can inspire or sap a room or a team. You will finally be able to put your finger on what your manager does wrong, and what you can do tomorrow to be a better contributor to work and society. I can appreciate the challenge Michael Carroll faces in writing a book that is not meant to be an introduction to mindful meditation (like "Turning Your Mind into an Ally" is), but will surely be picked up by people who have not yet explored mindful meditation. So he goes back and forth between how the benefits of meditation can be applied to business situations and tying it back to what it means to meditate in the first place. But he pulls it off with book that could be help a meditator better address the working world's challenges, and even turn some people on to Shambhala's traditions and practices.
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on December 27, 2011
I loved this book, which was given out a work conference I attended. It is an approachable and oh so relevant look at how we all can be more effective in our life and work through a practice of mindfulness. If only CEOs and execs everywhere could read this, they would see a way to break through the corporate games and politics that they often initiate. The narrative is a quick read with simple lessons. But, like many books that totter between spiritual guide and self-help, it is easier to read than to live out the lessons of a mindful path. The good news is that this book is different from others in that it lessens instead of adds to those guilty feelings we often get when we stumble.
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on April 12, 2014
This book is simply a "must read" for any leader who have realized that an alternative path to years of power driven management is urgently needed in order to succeed as humans, organizations and society.
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on January 16, 2016
Excellent read
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on August 17, 2014
Leadership is a challenge as well as the stress that comes with it! Great ideas in this book!
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on November 17, 2014
I thought the book was very basically written and repetitive. However, the Buddhist principles and practises were covered sufficiently well for the reader to grasp the utilitarian nature of the practise. I found part four to be extraordinarily poor and overly formal. The use of many categorizations was stifling. Furthermore, he really didn't need to make up words for presence and mindfulness like "synergy" so I thought this was a bit vain. This book seemed intent on making money off of a middle class business person rather than expressing profound truths to people. I would say this book could be helpful to a complete beginner to meditation practise.
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on February 22, 2015
Some real tools for the workplace and home.
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on August 30, 2016
Great product, Exactly as described.
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Based on some of the reviews I had seen for this book, I bought it with a hope it would be inspiring. However, I found it dull and sort of manipulative. It was too leading in its approach of how you might view things and it just didn't work for me. I don't want to discourage people that want something light on the topic, but for me it was a disappointment and I literally could NOT give it away - (I offered it to a friend in the hope someone else might get use of it, but they returned it, saying it wasn't working for them either. Thus, it sadly collects dust in the bookshelf.) When I can't even give a book away (literally), it's hard to recommend.
2 people found this helpful
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