4 out of 4 stars
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Take a moment to recall the leader in your life who has made the most positive impact on you. This can be a teacher, boss, coach, mentor, parent, etc. Now, recall what they did to make themselves such a great leader. Recall the wonderful thing(s) they were able to lead you to achieve. Do you want to be that person for someone else?
In Sherry Yellin, PHD's Unforgettable Leadership, readers are shown seven principles (challenge, relevance, action, novelty, interaction, using emotions, and multiple intelligences) for creating an ideal "CRANIUM culture," aka a "brain-friendly environment." A "brain-friendly environment" is simply an environment in which the brain can function at its best. Of course, the author understands that everyone is wired a bit differently, and she accounts for that throughout the book.
When we establish an environment, for both ourselves and those we lead (and it's arguable that everyone is a leader in some way), that is conducive to a higher performing brain, we open the door for a healthy, enjoyable, innovative community. Doesn't that sound like a pleasant way to work?
My favorite things about this book, apart from some of the content itself, are as follows: the organizational style, the way the author teachers through stories, the summary at the end, and the conversational tone that's implemented throughout. Each chapter begins with an anecdote (which is revisited at the end of the chapter) that portrays a culture where the principle under discussion is not being implemented. I love these anecdotes because I found them to be highly relatable. Each one I read made me think: "Yup, I've been there." Readers are then given an overview of the principle that will be explored. This is followed by a self-reflection activity (and you can write right in the book!), an explanation on how the principle affects the brain, and ways the reader can apply the principle. Additionally, the text is flooded with references, indicating that the author has done a lot of research. At the end of the book, the author recaps each principle. I especially appreciated this section, as this book is dense with content (and felt a little overwhelming at times). Finally, I loved the way the author made me feel like we were having a conversation. Her voice and humor are presented in ways that really enhance the readability of the text.
There's just one thing I disliked about this book: the author claims that creating an optimal "CRANIUM culture" isn't hard to do. I feel this may be true once the culture is established; however, the culture the author describes is very detailed. I believe it would take some serious work and practice (though all for a good cause) to build this ideal environment.
With everything in mind, I believe this book deserves 4 out of 4 stars. I found very few grammatical errors throughout, most of which were typos and spacing issues, so I certainly think this was professionally edited. Additionally, I don't consider my personal dislike to be enough evidence to justify the removal of a star.
This book contains absolutely no profanity or erotic content. However, I feel this read is more suited for adults, particularly those looking to lead their team (however big that team may be) to the next level.
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