An inspirational perspective on an unusual leadership style.

AWAKENING A LEADER’S SOUL

LEARNINGS FROM IMMORTAL POEMS

Bhalla (The Curse and the Cup, 2014, etc.), delivers a multilayered guide to “soulful leadership.”

The author, a self-described “globally recognized thinker-doer” who works as a consultant, speaker, and leadership coach, believes that people are living in a “VUCA” world: “Volatile,” “Uncertain,” “Complex,” and “Ambiguous.” The only way to navigate this new world is through soulful leadership, he says, which he defines as “a conscious desire to use power and resources to increase the well-being and prosperity of the greater many, not just the privileged few.” A soulful leader is the opposite of an egotistical leader, he notes, as the latter is identifiable by a tendency to disrupt and distract, an insistent need for rewards and recognition, poor listening skills, impatience, and an intolerance of dissent. In contrast, soulful leaders have substance, are authentic, and have a clear vision. “Soulful leaders are neither timid nor squeamish,” Bhalla says. They don’t exist in a bubble, however; they must extend their “orbit” to employees, customers, and to the planet. Bhalla illustrates the parameters of soulful leadership through fictional scenarios and real-life situations faced by leaders like Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela. Each essay also includes “Think About It,” “Talk About It,” and “Act on It” suggestions to put esoteric ideas into practice. Although Bhalla’s prose is precise, it can be textbook-dry; when discussing psychotherapist Alfred Adler’s theory on success, for example, he writes, “For him, success is a purely competitive concept, a fixation that robs moment-to-moment living of all joy, since living is deferred to some uncertain time in the future after the individual feels fulfilled by success.” The author’s approach to the theories’ applications, however, is more playful. For instance, the author intersperses poems among the essays, he says, because poetry taps into the soul “in a way that can’t be accomplished by merely appealing to the mind.” Regarding the Emily Dickinson poem “I’m Nobody! Who Are You?” he writes about establishing an “ ‘I am a nobody’ culture in your own organization and workplace.” Forward-thinking organizations will find these concepts to be timely and useful.

An inspirational perspective on an unusual leadership style.

Pub Date: July 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62865-421-9

Page Count: -

Publisher: Motivational Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 10, 2017

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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