Sunday, August 9, 2009

Tao Books: The Tao of Leadership

The subtitle to John Heider's The Tao of Leadership is Leadership Strategies for a New Age. Ostensibly, the book is aimed at business and professional leaders, but Heider's take easily applies to everyone across the board. That said, if more corporate honchos heeded Heider/Lao Tzu's advice, we would live in a far more humane and peaceful world.

What I genuinely like about Heider's rendition of the Tao Te Ching is its readability. It's written in everyday language in such a way that almost anyone can understand the message and this message is very true to the original text. The illustrations are simple, but each one corresponds nicely with the selected verse.

However, what I view as the best aspect of this book is the fact that each verse is its own commentary. Unlike most other books of this genre, there isn't the division of the verse here and then the commentary there. You don't have to do any of this back-and-forth. It's all in one place!

In looking around the internet for some information about the author, here's what I found:
John Heider lives in Lawrence, Kansas with his wife, Donna Luckey. He has taught at Esalen Institute for over 30 years. He is best known as the author of The Tao of Leadership, which has sold some 500,000 copies worldwide. John has a small psychology practice in Kansas and gives workshops designed to foster spiritual health.

John's interest in Taoism and Oriental studies began when he was at Harvard College in the mid-1950's. His doctoral research at Duke University explored the effects of meditation on creativity. After an internship in clinical psychology, he traveled to California and spent four years (1967-1971) at Esalen Institute. Esalen nourished his interest in the meeting of Western psychology and Eastern spiritual practices.
Since publishing The Tao of Leadership in 1985, Heider has written a second book, The Tao of Daily Living. It employs the use of stick figures to help the reader more easily grasp the concepts of Taoism. If the book is as good as The Tao of Leadership, then I'll be on the lookout to get a copy for myself.


  1. I just got another copy of Tao of Leadership from Paperbackswap. I think I have mine around here somewhere but couldn't find it and wanted to read it again. This copy is a bit beat-up so don't think I'll return it to PBS. If someone wants a free copy, they can just provide me a snail mail addy and I'll be happy to pass it along!

    I checked the email follow up to my gmail so just reply here and I'll get it in my email box and mail you back for an addy if you want the book...


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