Book reviews: Assertive Humility; Return on Character


Assertive Humility: Emerging from the ego trap Stuart Taylor, Monterey Press $ 24.95

Stuart Taylor was successful – until he was faced with an illness that transformed his approach to work and life. The result is a viewpoint that he sees as “a more authentic way to be”.

Using hats to represent the five distinct phases of his life, Taylor reflects on the events that shaped his belief system and resilience in the tradition of the “man overcomes adversity” book. He uses his corporate skills and knowledge throughout the text, but the collision of business models with spirituality and mindfulness seems a little clumsy at first. However, as the narrative progresses, it becomes clear that Taylor hopes to awaken the reader’s spiritual consciousness in the name of personal growth.

Although this book appears to target all senior managers, it’s better suited for those already contemplating or seeking change, work-life balance or personal growth. A portion of all book sales is donated to charity, demonstrating the values the author espouses throughout this book. Taylor made choices that improved his own life as well as the lives of his family and friends; through Assertive Humility he has a noble motivation to positively influence and improve the lives of others.

Return on Character: The real reason leaders and their companies win by Fred Kiel, Harvard Business Review Press $39.99

This book continues a theme from Kiel’s previous book Moral Intelligence. The author, who is also known for his 2013 TEDxTalk “Psychopaths in the C Suite,” holds a PhD and is co-founder of the US leadership training company KRW International.

Kiel defines character as an individual’s unique combination of beliefs and habits that shape how they relate to others. To find the point where these beliefs and business intersect, he conducted seven years of research, with 8000 respondents and 84 CEOs. The results transcend the mere evangelical exhortation to leaders that ‘greed is not good’, instead emphasising that expert leaders do not just treat their employees merely as production units or human capital, but rather as individuals with unique skills, characteristics and motivations.

Especially helpful are his models that combine human nature with various economic and business factors. He identifies the four keystone traits of good leaders as integrity, responsibility, compassion and forgiveness, and integrates these characteristics into advice for leaders across industries. What results is an in-depth yet practical focus on measuring what gets the greatest returns for investment in character.

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Book reviews: Assertive Humility; Return on Character


Assertive Humility: Emerging from the ego trap Stuart Taylor, Monterey Press $ 24.95

Stuart Taylor was successful – until he was faced with an illness that transformed his approach to work and life. The result is a viewpoint that he sees as “a more authentic way to be”.

Using hats to represent the five distinct phases of his life, Taylor reflects on the events that shaped his belief system and resilience in the tradition of the “man overcomes adversity” book. He uses his corporate skills and knowledge throughout the text, but the collision of business models with spirituality and mindfulness seems a little clumsy at first. However, as the narrative progresses, it becomes clear that Taylor hopes to awaken the reader’s spiritual consciousness in the name of personal growth.

Although this book appears to target all senior managers, it’s better suited for those already contemplating or seeking change, work-life balance or personal growth. A portion of all book sales is donated to charity, demonstrating the values the author espouses throughout this book. Taylor made choices that improved his own life as well as the lives of his family and friends; through Assertive Humility he has a noble motivation to positively influence and improve the lives of others.

Return on Character: The real reason leaders and their companies win by Fred Kiel, Harvard Business Review Press $39.99

This book continues a theme from Kiel’s previous book Moral Intelligence. The author, who is also known for his 2013 TEDxTalk “Psychopaths in the C Suite,” holds a PhD and is co-founder of the US leadership training company KRW International.

Kiel defines character as an individual’s unique combination of beliefs and habits that shape how they relate to others. To find the point where these beliefs and business intersect, he conducted seven years of research, with 8000 respondents and 84 CEOs. The results transcend the mere evangelical exhortation to leaders that ‘greed is not good’, instead emphasising that expert leaders do not just treat their employees merely as production units or human capital, but rather as individuals with unique skills, characteristics and motivations.

Especially helpful are his models that combine human nature with various economic and business factors. He identifies the four keystone traits of good leaders as integrity, responsibility, compassion and forgiveness, and integrates these characteristics into advice for leaders across industries. What results is an in-depth yet practical focus on measuring what gets the greatest returns for investment in character.

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