How much do I want to read more? 8/10
The core message of the book is very profound because it touches one's life direction and destiny.
We all know the importance of setting goals in one's life, and we all know most of us don't. Why is this so?
We all know setting goals is not what really matters, the essence of it is rather feeling the burning desire to accomplish those goals, and how where does this strength and clarity of purpose comes from? This book brings a simple answer:
"To develop that clarity and conviction of purpose, and the moral courage to sustain it through adversity requires something that one might not associate with leadership. That something is solitude."
We may have forgotten how important it is to be with oneself alone.
As Pascal reminded us: "All men's miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.".
At the beginning of the book, the author warns us from what we already know: "e-mails, texts, tweets, Internet and the rest, swarm us with input from other minds."
And "The bulk of these inputs are, by their nature, superficial."
So "Responding to these inputs generates as much thought as swatting so many flies. They deaden both the mind and soul."
Isn't it fascinating? What do we feed our mind with? Are we conscious about the direction of our thousands thoughts an hour? Are we doing something about it?
We can conclude serious thinking, inspired thinking can't arise without purposely seeking solitude on a regular basis.
"In years past, leaders used solitude without even being aware of the fact. Today it takes a conscious effort. One part of the solution is simply discipline — the discipline to unplug"
[quote, C. S. LEWIS]
“We live, in fact, in an age starved for solitude.”
A Note About Structure
This book is based on the experiences of leaders—some contemporary, some historical—who have used solitude to function more effectively as leaders.
Some of those patterns concern the different purposes for which leaders use solitude: broadly stated, to find clarity, creativity, emotional balance, and moral courage. Other patterns concern the different ways in which leaders find solitude, and the obstacles they face in finding it.
Anyone who leads anyone—including oneself—can benefit from solitude.
The book is divided into four parts, each of them focusing upon a particular quality—clarity, creativity, emotional balance, and moral courage—that solitude enhances.
What our contemporary and historical research has shown above all, however, is that personal leadership—leading oneself—is the foundation of leading others. And personal leadership comes through solitude.
Foreword by Jim Collins
Leading from good to great requires discipline—disciplined people who engage in disciplined thought and who take disciplined action.
To engage in disciplined action first requires disciplined thought, and disciplined thought requires people who have the discipline to create quiet time for reflection.
Stop-doing lists reflect greater discipline than ever-expanding to-do lists of frenetic activity.
Winston Churchill loved to lay bricks at Chartwell, his home retreat.
Bill Gates, during the rise of Microsoft, set aside entire weeks to just go away and read and reflect, what he called “think week.”
Warren Buffett gravitated toward the quietude of his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, and crafted a simple daily life full of reading and gestation; one of Buffett’s fondest phrases: “Inactivity can be very intelligent behavior.”
George Washington would lose himself for hours riding his favorite horse around Mount Vernon. how he thrived on a daily routine of unvarying regularity, making particular use of time alone for work and reflection early in the morning before others awoke.
First, systematically build pockets of solitude into your life.
The second discipline is to recognize unexpected opportunities for solitude and seize them.
Leadership is the art of getting people to want to do what must be done.
truly great leaders is not personality but a paradoxical combination of humility and will in service to a cause bigger than the personal ambitions of that leader.
To lead others, you must first lead yourself.
[quote, Dwight Eisenhower]
“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something that you want done because he wants to do it.”
It means, instead, to make others embrace your goals as their own. But to do that you must first determine your goals. And you must do that with enough clarity and conviction to hold fast to your goals.
To develop that clarity and conviction of purpose, and the moral courage to sustain it through adversity, requires something that one might not associate with leadership. That something is solitude.
It is, simply, a subjective state of mind, in which the mind, isolated from input from other minds, works through a problem on its own.
That isolation can be sustained, as it was for Thoreau or is for a long-distance runner. Or it can be intermittent, as it might be for a person who reads a book—which of course is a collection of someone else’s thoughts—and then pauses occasionally to think through a passage’s meaning. But what comes in between those moments of isolation must focus the mind, rather than distract it.
Leadership solitude is productive solitude, which means to use solitude purposely, with a particular end in mind.
When that process of work and isolation is successful—and when done honestly, it usually is—the result is an insight, or even a broader vision, that brings mind and soul together in clear-eyed, inspired conviction. And that kind of conviction is the foundation of leadership.
a larger vision—one that comes from within. That is where solitude plays its role. Solitude yields the clarity to know when the easy path is the wrong one. And solitude, through its fusion of mind and soul, produces within the leader the stronger alloy of conviction, which in turn braces her with the moral courage not to conform, and to bear the consequences that result.
e-mails, texts, tweets, and the rest, not to mention the Internet itself, all swarm about the leader (and almost everyone else) with input from other minds.
The bulk of these inputs are, by their nature, superficial.
Serious thinking, inspired thinking, can seldom arise from texts sent while eating lunch or driving a car. Responding to these inputs generates as much thought, and as much inspiration, as swatting so many flies. They deaden both the mind and soul.
In years past, leaders used solitude without even being aware of the fact. Today it takes a conscious effort. One part of the solution is simply discipline—the discipline to unplug, to make oneself inaccessible, cleanly and without peeking—which takes moral courage, too, since these days that defies convention.
The other part, indeed the part that must come first, is awareness—awareness of what we lose with accessibility, of what is lost inside—to the detriment, ultimately, of leadership.