The Tao of Personal Leadership

Book Description

"For more than two thousand years, political and business leaders have drawn inspiration from the ancient Chinese classic, the Tao Te Ching. It has endured because its principles about the patterns of living systems--the flow of energy that occurs in the natural world as well as in families, relationships, businesses, and nations--are as true today as they were centuries ago. The Tao acknowledges that the world is constantly changing, and a Tao leader must how to blend these changes into new patterns of harmony.
A Tao leader is not someone who knows all the answers--in today's world that is impossible. Instead, he or she is someone who can assess a situation, bring people together, build consensus, and discover solutions that draw upon the talents of everyone involved. A Tao leader is a facilitator, communicator, and team builder who realizes that our greatest resources are our minds and hearts, together with those of the people around us..
Tao leaders don't shrink from the unknown, they embrace it. Living on the edge, leading from the edge, they respond to uncertainty by seeking their balance in dynamic interaction with the challenges of life.
In The Tao of Personal Leadership, Diane Dreher combines the ancient wisdom of the Tao Te Ching with lessons from successful leaders, past and present, to provide us with new approaches to conflict resolution, community building, empowerment and growth, and renewal. The Tao of Personal Leadership shows how we can all become leaders, courageous and resourceful individuals who make leadership an art: challenging and inspiring those around us to fulfill humanity's highest potential."

Reviews


Entrepreneur: "West meets East in Diane Dreher's intriguing The Tao of Personal Leadership (HarperBusiness, $13 paper). Yes, the title alone may raise your skepticism barometer a few degrees--but The Tao of Personal Leadership is genuinely rewarding. 'In contrast to modern books on leadership that focus on power plays, one-minute solutions, clever strategies and game plans, The Tao Te Ching affirms personal leadership, the enduring power of character,' writes Dreher of the 2,000-year-old Chinese classic in which sage Lao-tzu illuminated the Taoist philosophy of life.
And, truly, character is what lies at the heart of this book. 'Becoming a Tao leader means daring to take risks,' Dreher asserts. 'It means making mistakes and then returning to the music. It is the courage to live with integrity, to be honest, to live what we believe, in the dozens of small choices we make each day.'
As you might imagine, Dreher quotes liberally from the Tao Te Ching throughout The Tao of Personal Leadership. As you might not imagine, the quotes themselves are fairly easy to understand and infinitely relevant to modern-day leadership."

Amazon.Com Business and Investment Editor: "The 81 simple but profound poems of the Tao Te Ching have provided inspiration and guidance for some 2,500 years. Now, educator and consultant Diane Dreher has reinterpreted the timeless observations of Lao-Tzu in an effort to give postmodern business leaders a novel yet practical road map to corporate management and personal fulfillment. The result, The Tao of Personal Leadership, proves the advice of the ancient Chinese philosopher is as relevant today as when it was written."

Library Journal: "Dreher wonderfully combines her interest in the Tao and her ability to write in this excellent work. The author offers practical, sensible, simple advice in being a Tao leader. She delivers discussions of centeredness, coping with stress, making time for meditation or rejuvenation, the importance of vision, community, and self-respect--all in a readable style. Reading her text is like taking a deep, cleansing breath. The examples and quotations from the Tao Te Ching are beautifully incorporated into the overall message. Leaders and aspiring leaders should read this book. Dreher makes more points and illustrates more truths in fewer words and less meandering than any other recent book on the subject of effective leadership. Readers will want to refer to this book again and again."

USAir Magazine: "Balance is the basis of the 2,000 year-old philosophy known as Taoism, whose principles describe the pattern and flow of energy that occurs in the natural world as well as in people, relationships, institutions, and nations. Diane Dreher's The Tao of Personal Leadership puts those principles into the context of general systems theory, which has been the basis for research on leadership in the United States for the past half century--the idea that an organization functions as a unified whole, and a change in one part results in a corresponding change in the whole system as it adjusts to regain balance. Taoism can enable leaders to perceive opportunities and possibilities as well as risks and dangers in periods of great change and uncertainty. The cultivation of such qualities as zanshin (the ability to recognize and flow with change), t'zu jan (spontaneous insight into the nature of things), kyo (building community by being in harmony) and aikido (conflict resolution) through meditation, centering, and exercises derived from ritual practice encourage the enrichment of business, community, and personal life as well as the fulfillment of human potential. Unlikely to win top billing in a middle manager's library, this book may prove most useful to those seeking a broader perspective when the pink slips are handed out."

Booklist: "Taoism, the 2,000-year-old Chinese philosophy, has millions of adherents and has influenced artists and writers not just in the East but also in the West. Its principles have been 'applied' to enterprises as diverse as baseball, sex, and investing. Those who see natural patterns in life or in a specific activity are drawn to it. Though many are superficial dabblers, others, such as Dreher, live their lives in the 'way of the Tao,' seeking harmony with nature and accepting simplicity and spontaneity. Dreher has degrees in English, holistic health, and spiritual counseling, and she teaches classes and conducts workshops on Taoist principles. Here she suggests that those principles and various aspects of Taoism (centering, harmony, joy, renewal, community, vision, etc.) are particularly suited to effective leadership, making the difference between leaders and managers."

Selected Works

Nonfiction
"A most helpful book for finding both your passion and your calling for life."
--Gerald G. Jampolsky, M.D., author of Love Is Letting Go of Fear
Spiritual
"A simple and comprehensive vision of personal and planetary peace...Dreher's examples work as meditations as well as road maps"
--Minneapolis Star Tribune