Take your soul to work

(Simon & Schuster, 2015)

According to Dr. Erica Brown, ‘when you lead from the inside out, you realize the best in yourself and others’, and it is for this reason why she has written ‘Take Your Soul to Work’ which is a collection of 365 meditations to empower and inspire leaders to lead spiritually.  

As Dr. Brown explains, the philosophy behind Take Your Soul to Work is simple: ‘When you feel strong, inspired and well-supported, you can transcend the politics and pettiness of organizational life and realize the best in yourself and others. You can lead with more grace and greater competency, forgiveness and love’.  

What follows is 365 meditations on topics such as ‘On Power’ (Day #5), ‘On Discipline’ (Day #22), ‘On Mistakes’ (Day #33), ‘On Change’ (Day #70), ‘On Conflict’ (Day #132), ‘On Sacrifice’ (Day #135), ‘On Communication’ (Day #173), ‘On Setbacks’ (Day #235) and ‘On Anxiety’ (Day #275), with each meditation being followed by a person challenge in the form of a question or assignment.

Dr. Brown quotes ideas and teachings from a wide range of thinkers, but though many of them are Jewish ideas and thinkers, it should be noted this is a book written for a broad audience. To give just a few examples of the ideas in this book, in her meditation ‘On Power’ Dr. Brown quotes from Abraham Lincoln who once wrote that ‘nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power’, and she then distinguishes between power and influence, noting that ‘as a leader, you will be changed by power. Strive instead of influence.’

In her meditation ‘On Sacrifice’, Dr. Brown refers to the writings of contemporary philosopher Moshe Halbertal who distinguishes between the act of giving and sacrificing, noting that leaders give but don’t always receive, and that it is this is the type of sacrifice that leaders must get used to.  

Finally, in her meditation ‘On Anxiety’, Dr. Brown refers to Proverbs 12:25 and notes that the hebrew word ‘yashkhenah’, translated loosely as ‘weighs him down’, either means to suppress, to ignore or to articulate.  As she explains, ‘you can overcome worry by suppressing it, ignoring it or articulating it’ but she adds that the Talmud prefers the child because ‘any other method of dealing with them will just postpone the inevitable’.

Take Your Soul to Work is brimming with wise, sensitive and practical ideas to help leaders succeed as their best selves in whichever sector they work, and it is a beautiful book that I would encourage people to read or give to others as a gift.To order a copy of this book from Amazon.com, click here.