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Book Reviews People and Leadership Short Read

#WavellReviews “The Leadership Book” by Neil Jurd

Experimental Feature: Audio Read Version

Available here

Writing this review has been difficult.  I have struggled to do it for several weeks without getting anywhere. Every time I went to make a note of something important to mention, I’d get distracted.  I would find myself, ten minutes later, lost in thought about the implications of what I’d just read.  Rather than reviewing I would instead make notes about my own leadership, considering how the text accurately reflected many situations I had encountered – both positive and negative – and how I could apply Jurd’s approach.  This is not a book I wanted to rush through, nor one I could skim read.  I deliberately slowed myself down.  I read and re-read each page, sometimes several times, to absorb the content, and think about the questions it raised.

Unlike many of a similar ilk, ‘The Leadership Book’ avoids overly academic theorising about what, exactly, leadership is.  Instead, it is a practical book, with plenty of simple and useful frameworks that you can adapt and apply.  Jurd treats you like an intelligent adult.  He avoids jargon, and the book is incisive, with no padding.  This makes it both a short and a long read.  It is only 135 pages, but you will find yourself taking hours and days over it, reflecting on the content.

The Leadership Book does have its flaws; some of the Dad jokes weren’t quite to my taste, and some of the suggested exercises seem a little redundant.  It also treads lightly on some leadership topics which have been much discussed in recent years.  It highlights the criticality of diversity in high performing teams; yet there is no exploration of some of the specific biases and challenges that, for example, women or people of colour may face in the workplace.  Nevertheless, I feel these topics have already been explored by more targeted works, and personally think that Jurd’s approach of offering frameworks and enabling you to decide on actions makes this a useful and approachable book for all, regardless of personal situation.

I would write more, but I need to re-read Chapter 2, as it neatly addresses a leadership challenge I am facing right now.  This is a practical, useful little book that will be staying on my desk so I can keep referring to it.  It’s very rare that I find a business or leadership book I read more than once, but this will be a staple for years to come.  I shall be recommending it to my colleagues, and I offer my hearty recommendation to you.

 

Siân Davies

Siân Davies is a business leader and army wife, with over a decade’s experience working for some of the world’s biggest & most well regarded companies

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