With his top clients involved in crises, a PR “kingmaker” realizes that he has lost sight of true leadership and purpose in this business/self-help fable.
Kyle Ellis is jogging in Central Park, musing on what his confidant/driver Parker “Mac” Macintosh II calls “The Collapse.” Kyle, CEO of a hugely successful, self-named PR firm and dubbed “the kingmaker” for spotting and supporting leadership potential, has two clients requiring extra-special damage control. Kit Jackson, a Wall Street finance CEO, is accused of stock manipulation that particularly hurts his one true friend. Prime Networks chief Michael Allan receives death threats targeting him and his family after tussling with Russian mob types over a land deal. Kyle rushes to Kit’s office and flies to Michael’s Wyoming ranch. He helps to address his clients’ situations, yet also observes that both are caught up in their own power, failing to lead with integrity or purpose. But the kingmaker achieves the ultimate awakening when his wife tells him over dinner that their marriage is in trouble. Kyle realizes that he has lost his way, taking responsibility for his clients’ behavior and his own lapsed priorities. After an eye-opening health scare and with the particular encouragement of Mac and a congresswoman, one of two “kings” who have remained effective, true leaders, Kyle tries to convince Kit and Michael to join him in getting back on track. By fable’s end, there is much to celebrate—but also differing choices. Dallas-based management consultant Bridwell (The Difference Maker: A Simple Fable About Making A Difference In The Life Of Others, 2013) concocts a jet-setting corporate fable (Kyle also travels to his own ranch in Texas) that offers some sweet and simple precepts to live a more other-directed and purpose-driven life. Occasionally, the tale’s focus on glitz (dining at swanky Per Se in Manhattan, etc.) feels at odds with its overall message, although these details and some charming character nuances (particularly Kyle’s friendship with Mac) also enliven what in other hands might have been dry, didactic text. Bridwell also helpfully provides a seven-point summary of his takeaway points at the book’s end.
An entertaining saga about “the power of second chances,” and resetting life and management priorities.