Book Review: Smart Leadership by Mark Miller

Mark Miller, bestselling author of Win the Heart, Chess Not Checkers, Leaders Made Here, Talent Magnet, Win Every Day and at least a half dozen other titles has given us a new one called Smart Leadership: Four Simple Choices to Scale Your Impact.

Unlike many of his books, this one does not use a fable to present the ideas. Instead, Miller structures the entire book around four choices:

  • Confront Reality
  • Grow Capacity
  • Fuel Curiosity
  • Create Change

For each of these Smart Choices, after a chapter that introduces the Choice itself, there are two chapters that present fundamental ways to activate it.

As is typical of Miller, no concept is left in the abstract. For every Choice, he provides everyday tools to help bring ideas to life. At the end of each chapter, there are “Be Smart” paragraphs containing ways to immediately apply the thinking in useful practices.

Another key element of the book is the recurring theme of quicksand. This refers to the growing list of challenges that leaders face that can leave them paralyzed and unable to move forward. It is this quicksand that the book is trying to help leaders overcome.

Ultimately, this book provides a vehicle for self-reflection that leads to discipline around choices that will make leaders more effective. With wide-ranging topics including values, influence, goals, asking good questions, burnout avoidance, life-long learning, vision, communication, and a growth mindset, Miller addresses just about everything quicksand might throw in a leader’s way.

I have read just about every book Mark Miller has written and would rate this one among his best. If you are a leader, get this book and see what areas you can develop and improve. If you know someone new to a leadership role, give them a copy so they can get off on the right foot.

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