An Honest Living: Be wildly successful without being a jerk

Posted May 1, 2014 in Career Management, Decision Making, Self-Insight, What We're Reading

By: Melodie Barnett and Luisa Girotto

Reviewed by: Glain Roberts-McCabe

The Premise: Can nice guys/gals really finish first? Absolutely! So assert first-time authors Melodie Barnett and Luisa Girotto in their manifesto for a better workplace: An Honest Living. This slim read outlines the seven steps to follow including concepts like: take accountability; get personal; get what you give; and, have a heart. Set up as a practical guidebook, each chapter outlines an overview of the concept, some do’s and don’ts, case examples and ways to get started (including how to overcome your inner skeptic). Drawing on their working relationship at Cadbury’s in addition to case examples from high profile business successes and debacles, the authors do a good job making their “case in point” stick. Visually interesting and easy to follow, this book is a quick read but not light on content.

The Bottom-line: Full disclosure, Mel and Luisa are friends and I was one of their original draft reviewers of An Honest Living. When I read it at the time, I loved the simplicity of the message. What I wanted from the original draft was more “meat” on the “how the heck do you make this happen then?” side. When you’re talking about “squishy” items like honesty, trust and leading with the heart, the cynical side of me always thinks: don’t we already know this stuff? What I love about the book is the combination of real-world examples (Mel and Luisa have lived it…they’re not a couple of consultants who are pontificating with their noses pressed up against the glass) and the way they’ve addressed the “now what?” question. Practical suggestions on what you can do to build your strength in each of the seven areas are outlined along with some “yeah, but” responses that will make you challenge your own excuses. But here lies the rub. Like any book that calls upon us to act with courage and make a difference, what’s written between the pages here matters very little compared to what actions you take as a result. An Honest Living is a manifesto for any leader serious about making a REAL difference.

Rating: Recommended for anyone who would like to make their workplace a better place to be but especially for leaders who set the tone.

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