Friday, August 16, 2013

Book Review: I've Got Your Back by James C. Galvin

I'm getting to the point in my life where, when I see yet another leadership book, I tend to roll my eyes and brace myself for 175-200 pages of well-intentioned narcissism. I once read a statistic that 95% of CEOs in the United States show serious signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Based on the books many of these "great leaders" write, I would say that statistic is spot on. Even in the church world, while I believe whole-heartedly that many of the mega church pastors out there are doing their best to follow the Lord, their assumption that, because they are the pastor of a mega church they obviously must be a good leader and that if everyone just did what they did, they could lead a mega church too, is so incredibly narcissistic that I just shake my head and wonder what it is really like to follow leaders like that.

I preface this review with all that because I believe that I've Got Your Back, A Leadership Parable: Biblical Principles for Leading and Following Well by James C. Galvin is the single best leadership book I have ever read. Instead of spending pages detailing one's own personal victories and trying to generalize them into some sort of universal leadership principle, this book is a straightforward approach to how to have the heart of a good follower, which by the end of the book we see is exactly the fundamental requirement of every good leader. It strips every ounce of narcissism out of leading people and puts the onus on the leader to have a good heart, instead of being a good manipulator of others. Based on my experience as a leader and a follower, the advice in here is exactly correct and extremely practical.

Gavin approaches this topic by splitting the book into two sections. The first 3/4 of the book is the "parable", which is a narrative about a group of young people that seek out the advice of a mentor. This section is not at all gripping fiction, but I understand why he presented it this way. It wasn't horrible writing, and the information taken away from this in invaluable, but don't expect a page turning fiction read. Then the last fourth of the book is a biblical breakdown of the theology behind the leadership style he presents earlier. It's not necessary to read in order to get the ideas that he is putting forth, but if you question the theology of anything he presents in the narrative, you can look for his rational there.

I recommend this book HIGHLY to any Christ follower who is in any leadership position or even anyone in a follower position. Whether in a church setting or secular, this book is practical and accurate. This isn't the same old leadership stuff, just rehashed. This is information that I've never seen presented this clearly or in such a logical presentation before. As I'm about to go through my bookshelves and weed out the lesser leadership books I own, this one is going to stay, front and center, on my shelf forever. I cannot speak highly enough of this book!

I was given this book free of charge by Handlebar Publishing in return for my honest review

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