Friday, March 21, 2008

Book of the Week: Led to Follow

I wanted to give a heads up about "my first book"--that is, the first book I edited. It was released a couple of weeks ago, and needless to say, I was pretty excited. I stared working on this book about a year ago when I first joined the unit I'm with now. It's a leadership book, but with a twist, and frankly, that twist is the main reason to buy the book.

Led to Follow: Leadership Lessons from an Improbable Pastor and a Reluctant CEO is a labor of love between two friends, leaders here in the Nashville community. Howard Olds is the beloved pastor of Brentwood UMC, a large and well-known congregation around here, and Cal Turner Jr. is a founder and retired CEO of Dollar General Corporation, the Fortune 500 discount chain, and a great benefactor of education, religion, and the arts. It was really wonderful getting to know these leaders as we worked on the book through a very collaborative process.

The book looks at leadership from the perspective of "followership." In other words, you can only be as good a leader as you are a follower, of your calling and purpose, other people's wisdom, your failures, and even the unknown. The authors address these things in six short, readable and engaging chapters, but then offer a bit more in personal essays at the end of each chapter, in which they speak from their own experiences about what it really means to lead by following things greater than one's self. These are honestly the most powerful parts of the book, as Cal talks about his personal mission to serve low-income families through the dollar store model--which, I didn't know previously, was quite a new and innovative model when Cal and his father started Dollar General--and Howard shares the most intimate thoughts and fears of his decade-long battle with cancer. He has battled it valiently even throughout the writing of this book, and though I know it breaks his heart to do so, is planning to retire this June.

I tried to post the cover here, but strangely, blogger is turning the red and gold cover shades of blue when I upload it. Don't know why. (It actually looks kind of cool, but I don't want anyone to get "that book with the blue cover" in their head and then be confused.) Anyway, it's available here from Amazon for only $10. 115 pages. Endorsed by Dave Ramsey, Will Willimon, Jim Moore, and other business, church, and academic leaders.

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