A leadership guide with an autobiographical foundation.
In his nonfiction debut, Pakistan-born physician Khan lays out his concept of “natural-born leaders”—people who are “optimistic, selfless, and do not seek external rewards or glory,” and instead seek “a sense of internal satisfaction and happiness.” According to the author, such people are “target-oriented, fully focused, self-confident, and intrinsically motivated to accomplish their tasks,” and the main goal of his book is to help his readers identify and enhance the natural-born leadership qualities inside themselves. Khan himself says that he “unlocked” his own leadership skills while working as an internist, pulmonologist, and chief of medicine in Saudi Arabia, but he says that he began the process in childhood, when he embraced responsibility and its rewards. The author takes readers through the various stages of his career in medicine, from residency to upper management, and draws lessons about self-confident leadership from a variety of trying circumstances—lessons that Khan asserts are crucial in the modern era, when the world is suffering from a “crisis when it comes to leadership.” Some of Khan’s points can seem muddled; for example, he appears to believe, as the book’s title implies, that the ability to be a natural-born leader is achievable by anyone, which seems to conflict with the idea of a “leadership crisis”; if everybody can be a natural-born leader, then the world should already be full of them. Fortunately, the quality of the other major narrative strand of Khan’s book—his personal experiences dealing with patients, fellow doctors, and supervisors over a career spanning half a century—more than compensates. Their behind-the-scenes glimpses of the medical world are consistently gripping, whether they demonstrate the “unlocking” of leadership traits or not.
Khan delivers a highly readable mixture of motivational manual and medical memoir.