PPAI Magazine May 2024

Title: Fourth Wing Author: Rebecca Yarros Community | Book Club Not Just A Flight Of Fantasy, Fourth Wing Provides A Leadership Parable Rebecca Yarros’s fantasy novel nests several valuable leadership lessons within its dragon riders’ tale. By Jessica GibbonsRauch, MAS LESSONS ON HOW TO BE a better manager and business leader don’t always come from where you expect. Within Rebecca Yarros’ fantasy novel Fourth Wing’s exciting tale are some actionable takeaways on perseverance and growth, and how they can influence your leadership journey. Why I chose this book: When choosing a book to gain new skills or insights, it is easy to assume that if you head to your self-help or business section you will find what you need. I am here to say that you can find leadership development even in unlikely places. For those who don’t know me, I’m an avid reader, and I mostly read science fiction and fantasy. (Yes, nerd and proud.) Fourth Wing and stories like it have a lot to teach about resilience and leadership from unlikely heroes. I recommend it for: Does this seem out of left field? A little. But I would recommend Fourth Wing for anyone who is searching for something outside of their traditional reads. Especially if you are looking for some hope and like to root for the underdog – bonus if you like dragons. Key points: Fourth Wing is set against a backdrop of a besieged empire embroiled in war at Basgiath War College, where our main character, Violet Sorrengail, is training for the conflict. Within the college there are four “Quadrants.” These Quadrants encapsulate specialized roles: The Scribes, committed to the preservation of history; The Healers, responsible for the medical arts; the Infantry Quadrant, specializing in ground forces and general combat; and the exclusive Riders Quadrant, reserved for the most formidable individuals trained to command dragons in battle. Dragons do not bond to “fragile” humans – they incinerate them, and the Riders Quadrant is dedicated to weeding out the weak. The narrative, however, takes an unexpected turn as our protagonist, Violet, defies convention. Despite her initial inclination toward the scholarly pursuit of Scribe school, she is redirected to the Riders Quadrant by her mother, the General, and a seasoned dragon rider. This is particularly remarkable considering Violet’s undisclosed struggle with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a chronic condition impacting connective tissue. I see industry professionals drawing from Violet’s journey within the Riders Quadrant, as it’s a tale of resilience and strategic acumen. Enduring constant belittlement from both peers and instructors, she navigates each challenge with determination and ingenuity. Her victories, achieved through a combination of intellectual prowess and unorthodox problem-solving, showcase her as a standout protagonist. Even in the face of success, however, skepticism persists among her peers. Without delving into spoilers, Violet not only survives the formidable trials but emerges triumphant. 78 • MAY 2024 • PPAI