Saturday, July 9, 2011

Book Review: Mandela's Way

Today's book review is Mandela's Way: Fifteen Lessons on Life, Love, and Courage written by Richard Stengel

In his introductory remarks, Stengel refers to Nelson Mandela as possibly the "last pure hero on the planet". Despite the laudatory remarks, one of the best things about this book is the it takes a realistic look at such a hero. There is no doubt that Mandela is an amazing human being who has helped his country and the world as a whole. Even so, Stengel does not shy away from showing Nelson's humanity. The hero of this book is not a picture perfect cutout, but a human being who has suffered and learned so much - yet remains human in ways every reader can relate to.

For those who are beginning their leadership journey this book is an encouraging read. Nelson's leadership strengths are described in ways that make them accessible to newer leaders, but the depth of suffering and pain that forged the leader he became is also clear. Nelson's journey is relevant to everyone who wants to make the world a better place, even if the reader will not spend thirty years in prison for her ideals.

In his own preface to the book, Mandela talks of ubuntu, the African notion that "we are human only through the humanity of others." This profound humility is much of what makes Mandela an effective leader and also Mandela's Way a strongly suggested read for aspiring leaders.

Happy reading!

David M. Dye

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Twitter: @davidmdye
David shares twenty years experience teaching, coaching, leading, and managing in youth service, education advocacy, city governance, and faith-based nonprofits. He currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for Colorado UpLift and enjoys helping others discover and realize their own potential.

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