As I am working on my latest book, (a fable about Moose-on-the-Table) I reflected back to 2003 and the the publication of last book, The Leader’s Digest. I was asked if the arrival of my fifth book (technically this is my seventh since the “new” Firing on All Cylinders was expanded and totally rewritten for the second edition, and we produced an extensive workbook for The VIP Strategy: Leadership Skills for Exceptional Performance) had become routine and is less exciting. Like first love or a first child, a first book is charged with novelty and high excitement. But like the arrival of any child, each one is special. The fifth (or seventh) is no less a welcome addition to a growing family.
When we sent out the announcement about the “new” The Leader’s Digest in February of 2003, I said that after months of hard labor it was a bit like giving birth. One woman gave me feedback objecting to a man making that comparison. Point taken. Obviously I have never personally gone through giving birth. I talked this feedback over with my wife, Heather, who has been deeply involved with the conception, labor, and delivery of all my books. The “new” The Leader’s Digest was especially challenging for us because we ran into a big wall of new problems getting permission to use material from other sources. In all my past books, we never encountered any problems. This is one of the reasons I am enjoying the freedom of writing my current book as a work of fiction. I can just make stuff up!
In the past few years, the publishing industry has changed and publishers have put huge restrictions on use of their material as well as charging, in some cases, astronomical fees. So we had to make numerous changes and revisions that we’d never had to make before (with both the “new” Firing on All Cylinders and the “new” Pathways to Performance I used many times more material from other publishers with not one permission problem). After going through many weeks of huge amounts of extra work and major pain, Heather declared that giving birth to our three kids was easier!
Now that the “new” The Leader’s Digest has been out for a few years, it’s gratifying to have over 30,000 copies in print and demand rising over last year. We have a number of Clients like Barrick Gold are using it as a text for their worldwide training of thousands of their managers (a program we designed for them). The Leader’s Digest expands our Leadership Wheel model and the approach of the “new” Growing the Distance: Timeless Principles for Personal, Career, and Family Success.
When we published the “new” Growing the Distance in 1999, I felt that this book was by far the most fun to write and most closely reflected my quirky humor (a few Dad Jokes did slip in), stories and experiences, and personal philosophies. It was a very personal book using our newly developed Leadership Wheel. There are now close 100,000 copies of the “new” Growing the Distance in print. In the last few years I have been gratified to get continuous feedback on how the book has helped so many people, across a wide range of ages and occupations (you can view some of the letters and messages I have received.
Most of my speaking engagements and workshops have built upon or used the book and the Leadership Wheel in some way with ever stronger results and feedback.
In addition to the content of the “new” Growing the Distance, I continually get very positive feedback on its magazine style format. I call it a browser’s digest. Readers really like the short, modular sections with snappy headlines and introductory headings, story sidebars, pithy quotes, supported by the main text. This allows for “grazing” or in depth reading according to the interest areas, focus, or available time of each reader.
So it was a no-brainer to write the”new” The Leader’s Digest in the same format again using the Leadership Wheel as the supporting structure for the book. Where Growing the Distance is about personal leadership, The Leader’s Digest is for leading others. Many readers have found them to be a dynamic duo of leadership development. I tried to fill The Leader’s Digest with similar humor, stories and experiences, and personal philosophies. The one difference with The Leader’s Digest from its older twin, Growing the Distance, is that this book has more research and contemporary material supporting the leadership approaches outlined there.