TheManager’s Leadership Book Review
In what may become a regular feature of AskTheManager.com, we tackle the sometimes thankless task of reviewing the work of a published author. While you could argue that we’ve provided book reviews in the past with our Ten Best Leadership Books or our Ten Best Decision Making Books lists, this time it’s different… this time it’s about a single book: whether we love it or hate it, you’ll know where we stand.
The Tazie Effect, by Heather Whittaker
The first thing you realize when you are about to crack open The Tazie Effect is its incredible lack of girth. Just 66 pages separate the beginning of the first chapter and the end of the last – and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Too often leadership books are written for the glorification of the writer, not the education of the reader. The Tazie Effect focuses concisely on nine specific areas where leaders can develop their craft. More pages would be unnecessary.
Written with the belief that we can learn much about leadership from a six-pound blind dog who is called, among other things, Tazie Roo, The Tazie Effect attempts to weave solid leadership advice with examples about how this pooch lives her life. This, unfortunately, is where the book barks up the wrong tree. (Fortunately, this is the only place where it falters.) The connections between this little dog and the leadership advice doled out by Ms. Whittaker are tenuous at best. At worst, those who don’t love dogs the way the author does might be turned off by the amount of attention paid to and credit given this pup. In some ways it’s like the tail wagging the dog.
Stop Dogging this Book!
Okay, now let me throw the author a bone… Once I got past the precious Tazie Roo’s inability to teach me real leadership skills and simply read the material provided, I was impressed. Ms. Whittaker is clearly a gifted leader and a gifted writer, and her book deserves the attention it will surely receive.
Whittaker weaves in real world (human) leadership examples very well and provides lessons that any leader – young or old – can easily understand and incorporate into their work lives. Her words are well chosen and the advice she provides is solid. The Tazie Effect is void of unnecessary magic bullets, tips or tricks, and instead focuses on long term, life changing principles in the simplest form.
While The Tazie Effect is not the next One Minute Manager, I can see the value organizations will likely place on this book as a housebreaking tool for new managers and as a reinforcement of the skill sets of their senior leaders. (You can’t, obviously, teach an old dog new tricks.) It also seems likely that progressive companies could build their leadership development programs around its concepts, using the book as a cornerstone of their efforts.
If you are a canine-loving leader who can’t resist speaking baby talk every time you come face-to-face with a four-legged friend, then this book is definitely for you. If you’re like most managers in the American workplace, and you’re more concerned about what happens to you than to some little dog, then this book is… still for you.
Let’s face it, with so much psychobabble BS passing itself off as leadership development; it’s nice to find a quick, effective read that meets the needs of its intended audience – even if they’re not all dog lovers. With that, I can confidently and doggedly recommend this book to anyone looking to improve their leadership skills.