PPAI Magazine April 2024

Growing As A Leader Through Zen Lessons By Jessica GibbonsRauch, MBA, CAS Title: Zen Lessons: The Art of Leadership Author: Thomas Cleary Community | Book Club THOMAS CLEARY’S Zen Lessons: The Art of Leadership applies Zen principles to leadership, from mindful simplicity to inner wisdom. This, is my father’s favorite book on leadership, and one he gifted to me when I took my first management role. I admire its more philosophical approach to leadership, and I think it can benefit anyone looking to grow in that role. Why I chose this book: As we continue on our journey to selfenlightenment – or at least a fun trip down the path of books that have been influential to my career – we come to Zen Lessons. This book was a gift from my dad at a milestone in my career. I have always looked up to him for many reasons, and his ability to manage people and problems with an amazing sense of chill is truly outstanding. I recommend it for: The lessons learned in this book can speak to anyone who is in or is interested in taking a leadership role. It’s good to remember that leadership isn’t always a management title. Leading is intuitive. This book will especially speak to anyone looking for more inwardly focused growth. Key points: The book delves into the core principles of Zen, emphasizing mindfulness, simplicity and the cultivation of inner wisdom. The author’s emphasis on the present moment and the interconnectedness of all things reflects the essence of Zen philosophy, providing a refreshing perspective on leadership that goes beyond conventional approaches. Cleary skillfully weaves together ancient Zen teachings with contemporary leadership concepts, creating a guide that is relevant to leaders in various fields. The chapters are concise, yet each sentence carries a depth of insight, encouraging readers to reflect on their own leadership practices. One of the strengths of Cleary’s work is his ability to distill complex ideas into clear, practical advice. He draws upon the wisdom of Zen masters and uses their anecdotes to illustrate key principles, making the book not only intellectually engaging but also emotionally resonant. The narrative flows seamlessly, and readers are likely to find themselves captivated by the anecdotes and reflections shared. Throughout the book, Cleary emphasizes the “In leadership there are three don'ts: when there is much to do, don't be afraid; when there is nothing to do, don't be hasty; and don't talk about opinions of right and wrong.” —Thomas Cleary 80 • APRIL 2024 • PPAI