I am an admirer of Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem “If.” First I read its Sinhala translation while I was a schoolboy and I felt it was exclusively written for me! Later, when I came to a stage I could understand the original English version; I just fell in love with the poem. In fact, I use this as the main inspiration to me whenever I am dejected and hopeless.
When I came across the book “If You Will Lead: Enduring Wisdom for 21st-Century Leaders,” I was overjoyed and read it as fast as I could. It is a book filled with inspirational stories about the people who won despite being challenged by many a negative force. All the people discussed in this book are leaders who achieved their goals while being forced to abandon their struggles on the way to success. But their “never say die” attitude took them along to where they wanted to be. This is a good book to read if you want to be a leader. You will understand that sky is the limit if you wake up your inner sense and align all the forces to a well set goal.
The book gives examples of legendary leaders like Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, and Nelson Mandela who achieved extraordinary heights despite being at the receiving end for most of their lives. The book also tells you how American presidents such as Washington, Roosevelt, Jefferson and Reagan fought against all odds to achieve what they aspired. The book is written in a simple style and you won’t be able to pause reading it till you get to the end. The author uses the style of storytelling to inspire the readers to make the reader feel that they too can achieve more or less the same heights that the role models in the book achieved.
We are at a time we do not meet that many exemplary role models to follow. You would say I am wrong as you could argue that the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are good enough to be role models. I agree with you. They are living legends we have today. But the leaders talked about in this book never had the luxury and the sophistication today’s leaders have access to.
Doug Moran, the author of this book talks about “If Sixteen Leadership Attributes” that Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If” talks about. When I read the poem I did not understand its value in management, but only as a set of guidelines one should follow to resist failure and win. But now, after reading this book, I treat both the poem and the book as the best management lessons I took. If you want to upgrade yourself from a good leader to a great leader, consider this book as your Bible.
Thanks Nuwan Samaranayake, my friend in the United States for giving me access to read this wonderful book.