Reviews

From the Back Cover:

Immensely powerful! The Inner-Work of Leadership transcends the traditional boundaries between professional and personal improvement. For all books that I read, the ultimate test is do I make any strategic, tactical, or personal changes as a result of reading it? This book hit all three dimensions in a lasting and profound way.– Gabriel Batstone, Managing Director, CAE Flightscape

There is profound wisdom on every page of this book.—Warren Nilsson, Ph.D.—Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University

The Inner Work of Leadership provides a clear path and roadmap for the open minded reader to reexamine and re-think their paradigms about leadership. The Inner Work of Leadership is a groundbreaking must read for those currently in leadership positions and for those aspiring to leadership positions. –Peter Quinn, Senior Vice-President for Corporate Development, Greenhorne & O’Mara, Inc.

Not just another how-to-book; The Inner-Work of Leadership provides a catalyst that takes the reader on an inward journey of self-discovery and reflection. This is a mind-opening adventure that will benefit readers both in their business and personal lives.–Frank  R. van Vliet, Director of Leadership and Organizational Development, Baltimore Aircoil Company

From Amazon Readers:

When a brilliant old friend of mine recommended this book to me, I knew it had to be good. I just finished, and now I know: “good” is an understatement. This is one of the three top leadership books I’ve ever read, and it surpasses the other two because its lessons will help me be not only a much better leader, but a much better person as well (though I guess I have those two backwards in order of importance!) First there was the shock of realizing the true meaning of the notion of distributed knowledge (which I thought I’d long ago embraced and internalized, having read Hayek, Read and others on the subject): No, I can’t and don’t know everything, or anything close to everything, and nor do I have to! In fact, it’s best if I don’t even try! Then came the amazing lessons about letting go of the ego and truly focusing on the people around me. The Inner-Work of Leadership proved to be a grab-bag of phenomenal ideas.

Professor Brownstein has inspired me to apply his techniques not only with the people I “lead” from an org chart standpoint, but up the ladder as well, with the leaders above me. Along the way I can recommend they read an inspiring book…As an aside, I found it intriguing how many of Brownstein’s sources and recommended readings were from authors I’d already discovered – not only in the leadership realm, such as Charles Koch (who wrote one of the other two of my favorite leadership books), but much farther afield, including Viktor Frankl, Christopher Alexander, and even Dr. John Sarno! But even with all that previous common discovery, his book tied it all together and gave me one of those rare and valuable moments of, “Of course – it should’ve been so obvious!” that so often mark the truly groundbreaking.

Thanks so much, Professor Brownstein. You’ve made my life better. How many authors can ever claim such a thing?

The Inner Work of Leadership is an outstanding contribution! One of the most important books I have read. As each page turned the narrative took me gently, deeper and deeper into the world of conscious leadership. Its words inspire the open hearted and open minded to make their inner work their primary responsibility in life. Powerful possibilities tumbled out of my mind as I was drawn to reconsider the world of authentic collaboration, cooperation, creativity and productivity. The prize, a more loving, sustainable workplace and world, became clear as the critical nature of shared purpose unfolded. A world of abundance beckoned as you read in example after example the convergence of doing what works with what matters in a context of love, understanding, wisdom and common sense.

Having taught management principles to a great many students over the years, from freshmen to grad students as well as to professionals in the field, I can say with some confidence that there are few books as refreshing as Barry Brownstein’s The Inner Work of Leadership. It is readable without being simple-minded, accessible while full of ideas, and built around a variety of useful lessons and exercises. With all that, it still leaves plenty of room for the reader to make personal discoveries. As such, The Inner Work of Leadership is more a guidebook than an instruction manual, and one that will be worth turning to again and again.

There are many books which try to teach managers how to lead. That is, they try to teach tactics–what to do in this or that situation. Some are simply courses in manipulating or maneuvering others. The better books turn the topic inward to examine what it is to be a leader, covering common traits and habits that leaders share. A few–a very few–explore what it takes to become a leader. This is such a book, and if this were all, it would be worth the cover price and then some. But The Inner Work of Leadership goes further. In its pages, Barry Brownstein explores the personal choices, attitudes and inner obstacles that affect not only the level, but the mode of that becoming. That is because he is genuinely concerned with a leader’s happiness in life, and not just his or her effectiveness at work.

Perhaps most uniquely, this book sheds light on many key aspects of organizations–especially how their members think together, produce and use information, and relate to each other and their leaders. From insights on the cloudy, distributed quality of knowledge to the benefits of cognitive diversity to the culture and purposes around which an organization coheres, the book is rich in insights that will have you asking “why haven’t I noticed that before?” Finally, with this new knowledge, the leader will start to discover what it is to lead as a member of the organization, rather than as something over it or apart from it.

As noted above, discovery is a principle theme in “The Inner Work of Leadership.” Guided self-discovery is what the book offers, not quick fixes or fad tactics. Read seriously, this book will help leaders better know themselves, reduce stress, improve relationships and live more satisfying lives, all while becoming more effective at directing and listening to their organizations. “The Inner Work of Leadership” is highly recommended.

Many years prior to reading this book, I’d participated in what seemed like very good leadership and management training programs, but they ultimately fell short of helping me get to a proper understanding of my finiteness as a manager. In “The Inner-Work of Leadership,” Brownstein achieves a profoundly good “root-cause analysis” of where the struggles of leadership come from, and shows how we can shepherd our own evolution toward a more healthy experience, which results in a truly vital and dynamic organization. This book is full of challenging and helpful ideas; I hope it finds a huge audience.

Within the pages of The Inner-Work of Leadership, Dr. Brownstein provides guidance to the reader on how to develop their unique talents and skills to support the art of leadership. Rather than focus on the trends in leadership principles (which are essentially the qualities of high level managers) that can be applied by anyone, Dr. Brownstein believes effective and inspirational leadership can only be achieved through the reader focusing on the “inner-work”. “Inner-work” consists of the reader candidly examining behaviors as well as internal thoughts, feelings and motives to help identify patterns which support success as well as ones that create barriers. It is only through the continued focus on the “inner-work” that allows the reader to fully develop their true sense of Self and their innate abilities which support their unique leadership style. Leadership goes beyond that as being described as a verb and essentially is a state of being or a mindset that envelops the individual. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Inner-Work of Leadership and welcomed the philosophical change regarding leadership today. I would recommend this book to those that find the everyday self help books on leadership and management lacking, for those who want more and are ready to take the next step by committing to life long changes that impact the reader both personally and professionally.

This book is great! It offers a “road less traveled” in business literature. Heck, it offers a road never traveled in business literature and that makes all the difference. A difference in how you look at your work environment, in how you approach business projects and in how you interact with your co-workers. Imagine improving your effectiveness at work and increasing your job satisfaction at the same time. Read it. Re-read it. Change is possible.

From the Midwest Book Review:

It takes more to be a leader than a take-charge attitude. The Inner-Work of Leadership: A Guide to Personal and Organizational Transformation is a guide to taking charge of oneself so that one can take charge of others. A clear mind with moving thoughts is a key tool in realizing one’s potential as a leader and the importance of solving one’s own problems before taking on the problems of others, Barry Brownstein gives readers solid advice for becoming a better leader. The Inner-Work of Leadership is an invaluable tool for any potential leader with doubts.