Actually, the title is more than somewhat misleading, since a considerable part of the (rather slight) book is about the sayings of other, non-Chinese thinkers about forms of leadership. Also, I must confess I find the style in which the reader is addressed a bit infantile. Moreover, as in (too) many (recent) books about leadership, the claims made (also about the author's own originality of thought...) and the advice offered are rather vague, generalistic. As far as simple self-help books go, this one, as many of Adair's rather similar works, is usable. As an analysis of Confucius's complex thoughts on leadership, it simply is not up to date on modern scholarship.
I had the pleasure of recently meeting John in person, hearing him speak and getting my book signed. It was clear he is on a great quest for the truth on leadership, and this is another step into his lifelong journey, after originating as the first world professor on leadership 40+ years ago. I understand John is also the first western professor to teach at the Communist Party School.
This is a very rare book - there are few that ever bring Eastern wisdom to the fore as well as wonderful Ugandan and African proverbs throughout. Perfect for global diverse leaders - this is a wonderful fresh step away from the flurry of books that are all based essentially on the role of the leaders as the Western extrovert ideal. This is beautifully written, easy to understand for all leaders and professionals alike - with very useful models such as task, group/team and individual - to reflect on. The core messages are pepppered with stories and wisdom from Confucius and many other writers and a fascinating focus on language and word origins, such as the word "lead" stemming from path and to show others the way and "strategos" coming from Greek for a leader of the army. The role of practical leadership, dialogue and education soon become paramount.
Proverbs/Phrases that stay in my mind: " A plan is a very good basis for changing your mind, " an elephant can only be eaten on mouthful at a time". Napolean describing a leader as a "dealer in hope".
As I have worked with several great leaders in China I wish to share this with - mostly I was deeply moved by John's request for me to ask them to give him feedback on his book, and he clearly welcomed challenge if he was not on the right path. How many authors are so authentic and open in their thirst for a lifelong truth? Definitely worth a read - and great for reading both busy and reflective leaders to gain value from - and read in many different ways, being also very well structured and summarised.
As John puts it himself, the role of leader is about a spirit of "the willingness to put one's ego in the background"...I think he's clearly doing that...and as Ugandan Proverbs offer: "the best person to teach leadership is a leader"...
thank you John for a wonderful book! all the best Sammy