An executive coach by trade, Martin, in his debut, takes a look at the lighter side of leadership.
As Martin explains in the first chapter, busy executives and business leaders don’t have time to plow through yet another dense academic tome about how to succeed as a coach or leader. Instead, Martin chooses to teach by storytelling. The book is a collection of strange-but-true tales collected during his years as an accountant, a manager and finally as an executive coach. While the names may have been changed to protect the guilty, the stories are, for the most part, too bizarre to be fictional. There’s Alfred Wang, the CFO who called to cancel a meeting because he’d just remembered he was getting married that day; Stefan the Spreadsheet King, who was bogging down a crucial labor negotiation, until the police arrived to arrest him for failing to pay alimony, car insurance and speeding fines; and Charlotte, whose passionate affair with a co-worker tanked her career when she emailed him a love letter and accidentally sent it to the entire company. Not meant merely as entertainment, the stories come packaged with a few words of wisdom for any executive. For example, Charlotte’s story emphasizes the importance of double checking every business email before hitting send. In Alfred’s case, he was a resident of Hong Kong, where marriage tends to include so many wedding ceremonies that forgetting one is a distinct possibility. Martin uses this anecdote as an example of what can happen when different cultures clash and there’s a lack of understanding on one or both sides. In each chapter, the parables provide a clear, and usually amusing, example of the business realities Martin is trying to impart. His nonlinear approach results in a book that can be picked up and put down and read in bits and pieces without losing any of the material’s benefits. As Martin puts it, “[R]eal leadership is much more of an art than a science....This book is just a gentle ramble through the buzzing, steamy global business jungle.”
An entertaining romp through corporate life that covers pithy truths in a sugar coating of funny, memorable anecdotes.