#shortBookReviews Lead Yourself First, Kethledge and Erwin

#shortBookReviews Lead Yourself First, Kethledge and Erwin

By Jason Criss Howk

24 February 2019

These reviews serve a simple purpose: to tell you what is in the book and why you might want to read it.  All books selected for review are recommended reading…I’m not reviewing books just because they are new, but instead because they are valuable.

Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude, By: Raymond Kethledge and Michael Erwin, Bloomsbury, 2017

I was privileged to attend a one-day discussion led by Mike Erwin where he explained the theories in this book. In short, for leaders these insights are priceless. The key theme being the power of solitude.

As a child, I first witnessed solitude and its ability to make a family leader more calm, measured, and reflective. My grandfather was a lumberjack in Vermont who worked a large stand of trees alone for years. As a child I was allowed to start going with him to load firewood in the truck for delivery throughout the day as he gathered it. This gave me time to watch him and explore the woods with my brother.

My whole life I knew him as the most wise and caring family leader, who always made the right decisions, never rushed into any bad situations, and took powerful moral stands. I never thought about how his work as a farmer and lumberjack gave him the solitude to contemplate life everyday. The depths of his curiosity and understanding of others was inspiring to me and others.

This book reveals how many inspiring leaders have used various methods of solitude to be creative, to find the clarity needed to make the right call, to sustain their moral courage, and to create the proper emotional balance needed to remain a respected leader. The secret to solitude is reflection according to Kethledge and Erwin.

The secret to getting more solitude in your life, the authors advise is to a) schedule reflection time and b) take advantage of pop-up moments every day.

They use powerful and interesting stories about people like Eisenhower, Churchill, MLK, Grant, Goodall, Lincoln, and Marshall to explore the various ways they found (and you can find) solitude. The short stories detail some critical historical moments too and keep you interested.

This book is recommended for all leaders in every career and sector of society. If you are trying to determine how to instill clarity, creativity, emotional balance, and moral courage, then discovering the power of solitude and reflection as these authors have identified it is a leap, not a step forward.

One of the best leaders of solitude I personally witnessed was Sir LtGen Graeme Lamb of the UK Army. His leadership style requires a separate article, if not a book, to describe. In short he always knew when (and how) to step away from the complex problems before him and to ignore the trivia to exchange time for clarity. His creative, clear, morally courageous decisions and advice was/is legendary.

I’ve practiced solitude throughout my life from the moment I started to try imitate my grandfather’s model. Here are some examples of ways I found to fit solitude and reflection into my day:

Writing for myself–not for publication and dissemination, biking, turning the WiFi off on my writing laptop, skateboarding, surfing, shooting firearms, yard work, raking hay on a tractor, shoveling horse stalls, swimming, running alone with no watch or music, training and riding horses, always carrying a notebook, arriving early to work, walking to and from work, silencing everything on my phone, staring at a bonfire, fly-fishing, always carrying a book, long drives with no radio, stretching my legs on long drives walking battlefields, and during thousands of miles of ruck marches.

Find your way to achieve solitude...

#Solitude #reflection #moralCourage #emotionalBalance #creativity #clarity #decisionMaking #leadership #leaders #inspire #eisenhower #marshall #positivityProject #character

#dfp #shortBookReviews

Dispatches from Pinehurst now offers #shortBookReviews for you.  These reviews will be concise and hopefully useful…no author critiquing, no opining on the shortcomings of the book, no literature reviews of similar books on the topic. 

These reviews serve a simple purpose: to tell you what is in the book and why you might want to read it.  All books selected for review are recommended reading…I’m not reviewing books just because they are new, but instead because they are valuable.

Some of these books challenged me and changed my thinking during my life—I hope they can help you.  Some taught me about issues I didn’t understand and others highlighted how great leaders make challenging decisions that shape history. Maybe most importantly, many books give examples of humans that disagree on policy issues (domestic and foreign) but work wisely with their ideological opponents to find solutions.

I hope you enjoy these reviews, and welcome your suggested books for review or your own short book reviews for publication here on DFP.          first.mentor14@gmail.com

Respectfully, Jason

Author of the Award-Winning Book– The Qur’an: A Chronological Modern English Interpretation.


One thought on “#shortBookReviews Lead Yourself First, Kethledge and Erwin

  1. Jason,

    Great post & appreciate you doing this. Just ordered the audiobook. Mike and I were in 3d SFG together back in the good old days, solid guy & I’ve always respected him very much.

    This is an area of my life that I really struggle with. Particularly when there is less and less control of my time both professionally and personally. And it just seems to get worse. As an off the scale introvert, taking away solitude is not good for mental health…

    Can’t wait to get started on this one.

    Stay well & best to Michelle,

    – Jim

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

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