What happens inside a person that allows
him/her to exhibit acts of greatness?
During my career as a Human Resource professional, I literally knew thousands of people. I saw people walk in the door and go on to be outstanding leaders. On the opposite end, I saw people do just the bare minimum. I’ve asked myself the question above over and over. Why are some people great and others mediocre? Is it something they are born with? Or is it something that anyone can learn? When I saw the synopsis on this book, I knew I had to read it.
The authors, Judy Rodgers and Gayatri Naraine, set out on a world-wide search to find those people whose “quality of character” drove them to go beyond greatness. The authors established their criteria and sent it to a list of people they already considered great. They asked those people to give them names of others who were . Their goal was to interview those people identified and understand what drove them to the “beyond greatness” characteristics.
After a small sampling of interviews the authors didn’t feel like they were any closer to what they were looking for. They felt the need for further reflection and decided to meet with two friends or thinking partners. One was Humberto Maturana, a renowned biologist, and Dadi Janki, an international spiritual leader. And so the subtitle of the book: Conversations with a Man of Science and a Woman of God. There was substantial agreement between the two and I thought these conversations were the real heart of the book. Rodgers and Naraine took what they learned from them on their future interviews. They went on to interview a wide range of people.
There are several conclusions shared in the book. Here’s one I like:
. . .we concluded that this phenomenon of greatness is beyond analysis. In the same way that you can’t teach someone how to fall in love, you can’t teach someone how to have a life that is filled with greatness. It is not teachable, but it may be learnable.
And then there is this final conclusion:
At the end of our search, we concluded that what an observer sees when he or she witnesses greatness is love. Love appears as the foundation of greatness in human behavior.
There is a lot packed into this slim volume. It’s a book filled with sentences that require they be underlined. I found myself underlining whole chapters! It’s not what you would get if you were looking for a Phd. dissertation on the subject. But it was a great discussion of the characteristics and it addressed most of my questions. After all, that’s why I wanted to read the book.
I am one of twelve blogs on the Book Tour. For a complete list of the other blogs on the tour, visit TLC Book Tours. If you are interested in more information about the book and the authors, visit their website at Beyond Greatness.