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The entire book was relatable. You can only build a bridge when you know who you are- identity is key. This was one of the required readings for my doctoral program but would have loved to read it for fun- which I will still do. I read the electronic copy, but I will recommend a hard copy because of the too many important stories and good quotes that one will need to go back to. Useful for all walks of life- home, family, church, work. Just great!
This book captures the essence of transformational leadership in a way that few do. I have studied leadership, trained and mentored leaders, and applied the principles and practices in my own life as a co-founder of a successful life sciences company. Quinn has synthesized his many years of experience in the classroom and in the board room, not to mention in his family life, and delivered a powerful set of ideas, models, and activities for anyone who wants to reflect on their own leadership and be involved in developing the leadership of others. I particularly appreciate his comparision of the "Normal State of Leadership" and the "Fundamental State of Leadership" (which I call best self leadership). In some ways what he writes is not "new" but the clarity with which he presents it makes it so easy to recognize and as a result to organize my own thinking. His eight practices that lead to and/or are expressions of the Fundamental State (Reflective action, Authentic engagement, Appreciative inquiry, Grounded vision, Adaptive confidence, Detached interdependence, Responsible freedom, Tough love) are snapshots into much deeper areas of leadership with many ways to understand and express one's best self as a leader. All in all, I highly recommend this book. It is especially useful for experienced leaders reflecting on and wanting to further their leadership practices and for those young leaders looking for a roadmap to their own development as leaders.
Base on my understanding of the American society, I am not surprised that this book, like Quinn's previous book "Deep Change," doesn't get as many reviews as it deserves, but I am confident that this book, and Qinn's trilogy, will become classic down the line.
This book would seem esoteric for the society that is addicted to data and techniques, thinking that what we need is more information and skills in order to lead. It does require the reader to be more mature to understand the content at a deeper level. In my case, my understanding of Systems Theory helps a great deal. In fact, this book fills the gap that is missing in the systemic leadership books that I have read.
Edwin H. Friedman's A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix is one of the books that I like best on leadership and systems theory. However, even though it describes the sickness of the societies, organizations, families, etc. extremely well, it lacks the recommendation for the leader to develop the systemic quality to transform the society, organization, or family he or she is leading. Quinn's books fill the gap right on the spot.
As a Chinese living in America for 16 years, my concern is seeing the rampant reductionism in this society that seems to be leading America to gradually becoming like a third world nation that I escaped from. Books like this, though few, give me hope. America has a bright future if more leaders can chew this book, and its two siblings.
Wonderful paintings to organic leadership that few have the williness to do. Its Internal approach requires wild self awareness, deep humility, willingness to give up ones past ideas and successes in order to keep up to speed with the energetic vibration of a larger perspective. Yielding to seeing anew what is before now me . Openness to retuning my instrument each time is basic to the process. Having grown up in a rather strenuously focused internal personal development experience that was/is sated with joy and bliss, it is obvious that the "fundamental state of leadership " is likely drawn from Asian approaches to life, governing, leading and developing. I have not read the whole book, I've lived the title for 46 years. But I recommend the core of the approach and the inspiration of the author and the real stories within the book. Consider Daoist teachings as well, like "The book of leadership and strategy" and more. See "Taoist Classics Vol 1" by Thomas Cleary
There are so many books regarding leadership skills, habits, traits, techniques, attitudes that I did not think there was much anyone could add to the huge data base. However, Robert Quinn finally gets to the essential conflict of "are leaders born or made?" He shares stories that show us that it is really who we are that is the basis for authentic success as a leader. Yes, the use of self is key to being a good leader and Quinn tries to get at the very elusive capacities of self-awareness, consciousness and value driven connections that are rarely identified in leadership development. Non-verbal intention, expression and persona are conveyed without language . People read who you are, do you know who you are? How to teach a higher level of self-understanding and motivation is a difficult task. I thank Quinn for attempting to add these personal, perhaps trans-personal qualities to the discussion.
This book is deeply esoteric, and if you have not had the benefit of reading his first book, Deep Change, then you may find yourself wondering what the key elements to change and bridge building are. Although the author offers pearls of wisdom, they are hidden and dispersed throughout the chapters. Don't expect to read this book over the weekend in order to start on the next. This book requires time and thought, and, you will need to discern for yourself what the potential lessons are. In some ways the author appears confused about whether he is attempting to convey how to develop deep change or if he is attempting to convey bridge building. You will need to decide for yourself if this is merely semantics. In my mind, there is a definite distinction between the two yet the author has trouble deciding what he is trying to present. In some ways the book reminds me of Sufi Parables; in that you may discern a different meaning or lesson on a different day depending on your attitude and mind set at the time of the reading. All in all, this is a deeply philosophical book that may leave you disappointed. My suggestion? Pass this one up and go for his earlier book, Deep Change
This book contains great examples of real people’s experiences with changing themselves and how that affected their work/business. The rest of the book is very academic, though it’s intended to be a transformation tool.
Robert Quinn has done an excellent job in using the practical experiences of individuals to teach the importance of:experiencing change, creating change, and leading change. It is crucial for all who are in positions of leadership to bring about balance in their own spiritual and physical activities in order to foster a work environment that is healthy, productive and authentic. The reality of action,contemplation,reflection and change strengthens the 'inner being,' and produces dynamic leadership. The 'epiphany' experienced by selected characters such as Merton, Yamamoto, Silverberg,Parker,and others can be regarded as a part of our common experience; but must be viewed as the trajectory into the uncommon realizatin that we are invariably 'more than we think we are.' With the new awakening we not only transform our own lives, but the lives of others.
This book is one of the most amazing books that I have read on transformational leadership. I could not stop reading once I started. Quinn teaches a lot about how to deal with volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environments that leaders enter. Quinn does make frequent references from his previously written book Deep Change, which I did purchase as well. I highly recommend you read Deep Change as well.