Leaders & Misleaders
“Leaders and Misleaders reminds us that education is about crafting the whole person, who is much more than the sum of their practical skills. The author gives a special insight into how to pursue the ideal of strengthening and perfecting character, the inner core needed for genuine leadership.”
Sir John Graham KNZM, CBE, former All Black captain, former Chancellor of Auckland University, former Headmaster of Auckland Grammar
“Deeply reflective and meticulously researched… It is 225 pages of tightly argued proposition and intriguingly quotable quotes. The world’s book shelves may be staggering under the weight of books of this genre, but this one is interestingly different.”
Reg Birchfield in Management Magazine
“It is a book for industry leaders, to be sure, but also for educators, politicians, parents, and, indeed, for any individual who wants to think more deeply about their work and their life and what issues we should be addressing as a society. It is a life coach and a leadership program between two covers.”
Carolyn Moynihan, Deputy Editor at mercatornet.com
“Leaders and Misleaders is so much more than a leadership development handbook. It is an extremely wide-ranging philosophical work about human fulfilment – for every intelligent person, not just people aspiring to leadership in business or some other community activity. The author’s superb knowledge of philosophical thinkers and writers through the ages strongly suggests that the book would have definite academic appeal.”
Len van Zyl, former Chairman of Lindsay Smithers FCB, former President/CEO FCB Philadelphia, former CEO of SAFTO
“If you have ever been in a leadership position, you must read this book. Authentic in its messages and written with integrity, it contains substantive insights into how leaders, irrespective of the organizational context they are in, should really lead and why this should be so. For misleaders and those who are misled by them, it is a wake-up call.”
Professor Owen Skae, Director: Rhodes University Business School
“I highly recommend Leaders and Misleaders for people at every stage of their professional life. The author takes a new and honest approach to leadership in our fast changing world. The book will be read over and over again, providing ongoing guidance for developing and enriching behaviour that is vital to great leadership.”
Kobus Mentz, Director of Urbanismplus, New Zealand; Adjunct Professor of Masters of Urban Design, University of Auckland.
Is Leadership History?
Everybody knows what it takes to be a good leader; what all too few seem to know is why there are so few takers. This is why the recycling of the same old clichés in the mountains of books on leadership has failed to stem the rising tide of the leadership crisis.
The twenty-five essays in André van Heerden’s new book, “Is Leadership History?”, provide answers to this deeper question of why so few people are prepared to actually do what leadership plainly requires.
The richly informed insights in the book demonstrate the need to cultivate once more vision, virtue, and vigilance in a civilisation facing an existential crisis. By considering leadership in relation to history, classic literature, science, psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, logic, sex, virtue, and many other subjects, the author emphasises that real education as opposed to skills-training is the only way to once again produce leaders in our troubled world.
An Educational Bridge for Leaders
This book is not a leadership manual, but an effort to remedy the inadequacies of leadership manuals.
Peter Drucker once referred to Xenophon’s The Education of Cyrus as “Still the greatest book on leadership”, and he made a very good point. Over many years, I have become convinced that a book like Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia, on his experiences in the Spanish Civil War, or Simon Schama’s Citizens, on the French Revolution, will teach you more about human nature and motivation, human perversity and potential, and therefore leadership, than any of the thousands of business leadership texts that flood our bookstores and libraries.
That is why I believe that reading sixty short excerpts from history and classic literature will be of immense benefit to people who lead. In a sense, "An Educational Bridge for Leaders" is an attempt to put my money where my mouth is. After a decade of coaching leaders in business and government organisations along lines that clearly run against the grain of much that is being purveyed in the field of leadership development, I have found a chasm in the lives of most leaders I work with that I believe needs bridging.
This chasm lies between them and the well-rounded education that alone will enable them to become effective leaders. This book does not pretend to be a multi-lane suspension bridge across to the Promised Land, a convenient, once and for all ‘solution’ to the ‘problem’ of their education, but merely a modest, even tenuous, rope-bridge that will help them get across the chasm to where the on-going educational development essential to effective leadership can be pursued.
The book can be read cover to cover, or by dipping in wherever, or by following a daily reading plan. There are sixty pieces drawn from classic literature and history, and also from contemporary authors, providing one reading a day for about two months.
Everyone should be able to find the five minutes a day for the reading, but naturally, re-reading and reflection on the texts will pay additional dividends. Each piece is a door into another world, which you may wish to explore in the book from which it is taken, or in related books.
Christopher Lasch told us long ago that "denial of the past, superficial and optimistic, proves on closer analysis to embody the despair of a society that cannot face the future". Leadership is about building a better future, and we can't do that without a firm grasp of the past. "An Educational Bridge for Leaders" is indispensible if we are to overcome the crisis of leadership afflicting our civilisation.