If you are looking for some light reading to put you to sleep, or wondering what a dry day in the Sahara would feel like in print form, this book is for you. Whew, am I parched. I received this book for free from the author when he presented at a professional women’s event I attended about 4 years ago. I remember his presentation being largely uneventful- not exciting but no more boring than many other professional talks. Then, because I was working at a big law firm, this book got shunted to the bottom of my TBR pile, under all the books I actually wanted to read with my limited free time. Now that I’m working a job with more reasonable hours, and which values leadership skills in addition to hours logged, I thought the time was ripe to dive in. Friend, I dove into a swimming pool of sand.
In his introduction, Barling writes that he intended this book to bridge the gap between dry technical textbooks discussing leadership studies and the unscientific celebrity pop-science leadership books that decorate many an airport bookstore. I can tell you which side this book is closer to, and it is not The Art of the Deal. The book discusses the different and evolving theories of leadership, as well as leadership study methodologies, which are good background if I ever do an MBA, but man am I glad I was reading slowly over the course of many mornings and not just before I went to bed. It attempts to talk about some of the big leadership questions out there (are leaders born or made? How does gender influence leadership?) but ends both of those chapters largely with a shrug (its both! It does, we’re not sure why except maybe culturally ingrained discrimination/ gender stereotypes?). As a lay person reading for insights into how I could become a better leader, there were not a lot of nuggets here. Until I start an MBA, I’ll reach for those pop-science leadership books instead.
CBR11 Bingo: Science!