I’ll be right up front on this book review: I know the author.
Art Petty and I are professionally acquainted; we’re fellow leadership bloggers and our paths sometime cross on consulting projects. I’m a huge fan of Art’s writing about leadership—he’s extremely pragmatic, yet self-effacing. You won’t find bombastic pontificating on his blog. What you will see are in-the-trenches observations that are written with a sly wink and a smile. So when I found out he was publishing a second* book, I asked for a review copy.
Art has years of experience in corporate senior leadership, where he tried out the suggestions he offers in his book. The new book, Leadership Caffeine, is a collection of more than 80 essays from Art’s blog Management Excellence.
You might be thinking, “Why buy the book when I can read Art’s blog?” Here’s why: it’s packaged differently than a blog and therefore allows you to tap into some inspiration and information at a moment’s notice. Art has arranged his vast wealth of knowledge into bite-sized nuggets that can be easily enjoyed as your time allows. Think of this book as a form of caffeine for your leadership development: infusing a little jolt when you’re feeling a lag in leadership energy.
The book is organized into 10 sections:
- Developing Yourself
- Politics, Bosses and Other Realities of Organizational Life
- The Leader and Decisions
- Problems? Trying Looking in the Mirror
- The Nimble Leader
- Surviving the Tough Days
- Building High Performance Teams
- Timeless and Priceless Leadership Advice
- In Pursuit of Greatness
- The Lighter Side of Leadership Caffeine
As you can see, this isn’t your typical leadership business book. Art’s writing style is conversational and infused with humor so that you hardly even know you’re learning something as you read. (Sneaky, huh?)
The book doesn’t need to be read start-to-finish. In fact, it’s more like a magazine in that you can flip through the table of contents, see what appeals to you and go directly to that essay. Each written piece finishes with Art’s trademark “The Bottom Line for Now” summary. For example, in the essay Your Leadership Character is Forged in Defeat the Bottom Line is,
“Laugh today and keep moving forward. There are lessons to be learned from stumbling while on the road to victory.”
Now that’s what I call a good cup of leadership joe.
*His first was as co-author of Practical Lessons in Leadership.