4 out of 4 stars
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“Be present. Be bold. Be vulnerable. Be authentic. Be your Best Self.” These are some of the key principles author Rob Salafia hopes readers will take away from his book Leading from Your Best Self: Develop Executive Poise, Presence, and Influence to Maximize Your Potential.
With a background in the performing arts, the author is currently an executive coach of the mid-career MBA program at the Massachusett's Institute of Technology (MIT). He builds upon the Best Self concept by drawing from his professional experiences in theater and business and further engages readers with the personal stories of clients he has coached, reflective questions, and simple activities. Readers learn how to apply core concepts such as Trials by Fire, Signature Stance, Playing to Be Heard, and Breath-Connect-Land as well as practice the apprentice model of learning, congruence, landing, and non-verbal signals of presence. The book's 13 chapters equip readers with tools for being extraordinary by learning to cultivate personal intrinsic gifts, expand through pressures and conflicts, transition through relating, and tell their story while actively listening to others' stories. The author stresses adopting the mindset of an authentic artist who strives for excellence rather than perfection.
This informative guide is organized, well-written, and provides a wealth of information. The author suggests that readers may either read the chapters in order of relevance to them personally or chronologically according to their needs and preference. Based on his suggestion, I intentionally read the chapters in a somewhat random order and found the content was structured in a way that the author's assertion was accurate. I found no gaps or inconsistencies, and the author's inclusion of an aerial view summary at the beginning of the book and “Final Thoughts” chapter at the conclusion insured that all points were adequately covered. While some readers may find the summarizations and recaps repetitious, I understand their purpose in this type of book.
What I liked most about this book was that though it was directed at business leaders, much of the content was applicable to personal development and relationships in general. I found this to be particularly true in the 7th chapter which contrasted performing and authenticity. With learning to lead as an authentic artist being the end goal, the author referenced these quotes. "To be nobody but myself, in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make me somebody else, means to fight the hardest battle any human can fight, and never stop fighting." e.e. cummings. Also from psychiatrist Anna Yusim, "It's my belief that cultivating authenticity in one's life is a necessary pre-requisite not only for being a stellar performer but also for living a fulfilled life," and "Aligning with authenticity in your daily life is a choice you make minute-by-minute, day-by-day." Though not always my cup of tea, I also appreciated the author's reflection style questions, as in this instance, I can see the connection they provide for readers.
There really wasn't anything that I didn't like about the book. It was well-executed and professionally edited. I noted only two errors that involved incorrectly hyphenated words on the same page, leaving me to wonder if they might be related to a formatting issue. I'm pleased to rate the book 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to readers who desire to improve their leadership skills both professionally and personally.
Leading From Your Best Self
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