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Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader: Lessons from Google and a Zen Monastery Kitchen Paperback – 8 Mar 2019
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Praise for Marc Lesser's book Know Yourself, Forget Yourself
"After a lifetime of Zen study, Marc Lesser has distilled the life lessons of Buddhist practice into sane, eminently useful, result-oriented procedures that will cut through confusion, anxiety, and self-defeating behaviors....I can't recommend this book highly enough."
-- Peter Coyote (Hosho Jishi), actor, writer, and Zen priest
"Marc Lesser shows us a path through the contradictions within us....A wonderful and profound book."
-- Van Jones, president of Rebuild the Dream
"In our work together at Google, I have seen firsthand Marc's extraordinary melding of Zen teacher and business leader."
-- Chade-Meng Tan, Google's Jolly Good Fellow and bestselling author of Search Inside Yourself
"Know Yourself, Forget Yourself is a treasure trove of applied wisdom."
-- Joan Halifax, founding abbot of Upaya Zen Center
"Marc Lesser's life experiences as a Zen student and priest, CEO, small business owner, consultant, and executive coach give him a unique perspective on how to enhance your life by increasing your gifts to everyone you engage with."
-- Ben Cohen, cofounder of Ben & Jerry's
"Marc Lesser has given us a leadership bible that, if practiced, will tap into the power of our own inner awareness and gently nudge us to transform ourselves, our relationships at work and home, and in the process, our country and world. This book is a gem."
--Congressman Tim Ryan, Thirteenth District in Ohio, author of A Mindful Nation
About the Author
Marc Lesser is a longtime Zen teacher and the cofounder and former CEO of the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute. The author of several books, he now leads ZBA Associates, a company providing executive coaching, consulting, and keynote speaking. He lives in Mill Valley, CA.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This book speaks to me because of the blending of Zen + Leadership, which is a reflection of his own journey both in Zen and business contexts. His wisdom addresses both my desire to frame a concept (7 Practices, framed in 3 Parts), and pair it with a depth of practical and actionable practices.
Pg 67 “The Zen tradition has a dialogue in which a student asks the teacher, “What is the teaching of a lifetime?” The teacher answers, “An appropriate response.”
How simple. How elegant. The teaching of an entire lifetime can be captured in the way you respond.”
Great bridge Marc presents leading to four common obstacles:
+ Lack of awareness of others or the situation
+ Feeling judgmental and self-critical
+ Becoming afraid and reacting without thinking
+ Fearing change
The rest of the ‘Do the Work’ chapter explores how to work with them by:
+ Listening openly
+ Prioritizing self-compassion
+ Cultivating emotional awareness
+ Seeking alignment
The explorations are filled with helpful examples that support it really landing. A great example of his approach in this book.
Marc’s teachings emanate from sharing of his own experiences having shaped and successfully built multiple organizations. I highly recommend the combination of this book, and Know Yourself, Forget Yourself for everyone looking to bring Zen practices into their life as a more awakened leader.
And that's one big thing about Marc's new book: He writes so clearly and personally, from such a wide range of experiences (deeply personal as well as professional), that I found it easy to connect his recommendations to my own life and experience. Clearly, in addition to all of his other fine attributes, he's a great teacher.
And now that I think I get it, I have work to do. "Seven Practices" is not a long book -- the meat of it is only 190 pages -- and it doesn't require any special knowledge -- perhaps only a nub of awareness that coping successfully with the stresses of being human, much less being an effective leader, in this crazy world isn't something that just happens. I am, for sure, a beginner, but I am already profiting from my time with this great little book. I highly highly recommend it.
Marc Lesser’s new book, "Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader", combines the author's experiences and powerful lessons from Google and a Zen Monastery kitchen. On page 2, Lesser asks the question, How do we create and sustain [the business culture] everyone says we need? He writes about creating “a supportive positive culture—a culture of real trust and care, of transparency and integrity, of accountability and achieving results.”
On pages 22-23, he emphasizes The Power of Practice. He further notes that “our practice sought to integrate all our actions with our values and intentions. … I’ve distilled seven mindfulness practices:
* Love the work
* Do the work
* Don’t be an expert
* Connect to your pain
* Connect to the pain of others
* Depend on others
* Keep making it simpler.”
Much of the power of this book comes from the author’s emphasis on success stories from the trenches plus exercises, experiments, and activities to help readers understand and live the practices daily.
On page 178, Lesser has an experiment that focuses on three steps:
“1. Turn toward the difficulty—face it and see it head-on.
2. Accept—allow yourself to see and feel the pain of this difficult situation; this takes courage, and mindfulness practice helps
3. Let go of blame—this includes yourself and others.”
The author goes on to emphasize, “Be both relaxed and alert.” He notes that this is what athletes work to achieve: “To be aware, awake, ready to meet each situation fully.” Lesser writes about the importance of appropriate relaxation which helps one avoid “overreacting or being tense or not fully present.”
I heartfully recommend this book, "Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader" for every person who seeks to lead others and themselves to higher and fulfilled living.