The Leader Who Had No Title – by Robin Sharma

26 05 2010

A new book by Robin Sharma, the author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.

As with his other books, the author uses a story and delivers his leadership messages, lessons through the characters in the story.

In this book, we meet Blake Davis, his mento Tommy Flinn and 4 leaders who imparts the leadership lessons on how we can lead without a title.

In summary, the 4 lessons are:

1. You Need No Title to Be a Leader

2. Turbulent Times Build Great Leaders

3. The Deeper Your Relationships, the Stronger Your Leadership

4. To be a Great Leader, First become a Great Person

Every chapter in this book, has lots of quotes and lines which are thought provoking to me.

One example was, the mentor, Tommy Flinn’s name card:


Human Being

Imagine if all of us had this job title, remembering that we were “born awesome”, that we are first humans, not “CEOs, directors, managers” — What a way to introduce ourselves!

The author does share that titles are relevant in an organisation, to give it structure. The key is not to get too attached to the title, and forget that if we strip off the title, who are we then? Have we worked within ourselves to stand for what we believe, to do what we want to do, to be our best?

Another quote “It’s impossible to build a tribute to success on a foundation of excuses”

This paragraph strike me:

“Work offers you a daily platform to discover the leader within. It’s a chance, every day, to reclaim more of the potential you’ve buried and to awaken the dormant relationship between the current you and your absolute best. It’s an opportunity to express more of your latent creativity and a whole lot more of your precious humanity.”

With each leadership lesson, were acronyms of rules that accompany each lesson:

IMAGE (Innovation, Mastery, Authenticity, Guts, Ethics),

SPARK (Speak with Candor, Prioritize, Adversity Breeds Opportunity, Respond versus React, Kudos for Everyone),

HUMAN (Helpfulness, Understanding, Mingle, Amuse, Nurture),

SHINE (See Clearly, Health is Wealth, Inspiration Matters, Neglect Not Your Family, Elevate Your Lifestyle)

Why this is a good read:

Most of the knowledge in there is nothing new. Yet the way all these are weaved into the story so that one can feel for the characters is a clever way of engaging the reader.

The message of this book also came at the right time for me, where I’m feeling overwhelmed by negativity, so much so, I’m becoming negative myself. It set me thinking, how each and every one of us is born to shine, but through conditioning and society, we conform, become mediocre – do things to get by.

Having the courage to stand for what we believe, to do our best everyday is not always easy, but if we don’t do this for ourselves, then who would?

This book is relevant now, as we are all pushed to be our true self, to shine and spark as a real human being. Nothing less than our best.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

8 05 2008

I finally managed to read this popular bestseller “The Alchemist” 2 weeks ago.

It is a tale about Santiago, a shepherd boy, who seeks to travel and search for a treasure that he’s been dreaming about. Went to a Gypsy lady who interpreted his dream and told him that the treasures were in Egypt. Santiago begins to embark on his journey to Egypt, after meeting a strange old man who talked about “living your Personal Legends”.

The story follows Santiago on his journey, the people he meets along the way, the situations that he encounters and the learnings from his experience.

Is this a good read?

The story is easy to follow, and like with many books that I have read recently, it’s in line with the theme on following our heart and living our dreams.

I like some parts in the book:

“What’s the world’s greatest lie?
It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.”

“God revealed his secrets easily to all his creatures…things have to be transmitted this way (via word of mouth) because they were made up from the pure life, and this kind of life cannot be captured in pictures or words.
Because people become fascinated with pictures and words, and wind up forgetting the Language of the World.”

“My heart is afraid that it will suffer…
…the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity”

“Every search begins with beginner’s luck. And every search ends with the victor’s being severely tested.

I finished the book in 2 days. It’s not a huge book, just 173 pages. A simple tale, loaded with references on spirituality, having faith and listening to our heart. I can see why this book is popular, but it does leave this feeling of “so how can I do this in my current life now?”

This book is good for those who are just starting to hear the voices of their heart, it’s like the icing on top, just to give one an idea of the beauty of the cake. But it’s when you actually taste the cake that makes all the difference.

If you are looking for a light reading to feel some inspiration, this book should do it.

If you have been reading a lot about such a theme, then the book doesn’t share anything new that you may not have read or knew.

Drop The Pink Elephant by Bill McFarlan

16 12 2007

This book describes 15 ways to say what you mean and mean what you say. Coming from his journalistic background, Bill McFarlan shares with the reader what he means by “Pink Elephant” and pointers for us to take note in our daily communication.

What is a “pink elephant”?

It is described as an unnecessary, and normally vivid, negative. It usually pops up unprompted because it’s part of the mental baggage we always carry around with us.

A famous example of Pink Elephants: (remove the word in bold letters to reveal the picture in each phrase creates.

I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms Lewinsky.’ — US President Bill Clinton in January 1998 on his relationship with the White House intern.

The book is divided into 5 main sections

1. Drop the Baggage and Create Clarity
– Drop the Pink Elephant
– Every Picture Tells a Story

2. Be Principled in What You Say
– Staying on the Louisiana Highway
– Sorry seems to be the Hardest Word
– Tell the Unpalatable Truth, Rather than the ‘White Lie’
– Thank You and Well Done
– Who Looks Stupid when You Criticize in Public?

3. Positively Assert Yourself
– Flush Out the Watering Down Words
– Talk Positively About Yourself

4. Think of the Audience
– It’s All Relative
– Email and Text – Bullets or Boomerangs
– Three Little Questions

5. Create Deeper Understanding
– Listen First to Understand
– Powerful Words
– Think, Talk, Act…Then Tell the World

From the table of contents, it would seem that most of these are what should be “common sense”, but “common sense” happens to be the most uncommon thing in the world. In most situations, many of us are not as conscious of our own speech or overly-sensitive about the impact of telling the truth. In certain situations, telling “white lies” seem to be the best way out, so that we avoid possible repercussions.

Thoughts on the book:

There were parts of the book that I felt more interested in, for example, describing how to spot “Pink Elephants” so that we can be aware and drop them off from our own conversations. The writing can be dry after awhile, and I find myself skimming through the book in the middle sections.

This is partly due to the similarities of another book that I read, “Getting Real”, which covers the same topic, though the angle of writing is different.

I won’t buy the book (even though it’s mentioned on the book cover that it’s a best seller). If you can get this at the library, it’ll make an interesting read.