Advance Praise for Leadership Wisdom


“I absolutely loved this book! It inspired me—and gave me countless ways to apply that inspiration. Bob Vanourek wonderfully offers a new approach by using the wisdom of literature to effectively define the kind of leadership needed today in this insightful book. Through salient poetry, philosophy, and prose—as well as his own experiences—Bob reveals how leadership is not an exact science, but an evolving and ongoing quest to find humanity at its best. Thought-provoking and engaging, this book is a superb resource.”
– Stephen M. R. Covey, The New York Times bestselling author of The Speed of Trust, and coauthor of Smart Trust


“Poetry about leadership? No way. Boring, I thought. But what a surprise. Each passage has three parts: the poem or prose reveals the wisdom of the ages; Bob’s commentary illustrates lessons learned; and the practical applications make you think deeply. Instructive, practical, and fun. Copies of this enlightening book will go to my entire family and be recommended to my former board colleagues.
– Jack Krol, former Chairman and CEO, Dupont Company; former Chairman, Lead Director, or director at eight public companies including: ACE, Armstrong, Delphi, JP Morgan, Mead, MeadWestvaco, and Tyco; and four private companies


“Bob Vanourek’s new book, Leadership Wisdom: Lessons from Poetry, Prose, and Curious Verse, belongs in every leader’s backpack. Rarely do we find advice so cogently gathered and given. From ‘Leading Yourself’ to ‘Leading Others’ with close direction on ‘Leaving a Leadership Legacy,’ this collection of leadership lessons brings new support and inspiration to leaders at every level.”
– Frances Hesselbein, President and CEO, Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute, Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient


“Brilliant! Only someone with Bob Vanourek’s leadership experience, business acumen, and proven track record could write this book. It’s simply genius. I strongly recommend it.”
– Frank Sonnenberg, Award-winning author, Former National Director, Marketing, E&Y Management Consulting Group


“After I finished reading this book for the second time, I isolated the one-line summations at the end of each section. Bob’s insights represent the best roadmap I’ve ever read to discovering the meaning of leadership. It tells me that leadership is not to be ‘pinned down’ but rather to be found by risking, venturing, listening, learning, and taking seriously what your followers tell you. A delight to read.”
– John Balkcom, former partner, Booz, Allen & Hamilton, and former president, St. John’s College


“Bob has brilliantly reminded us that leadership principles have remained unchanged since the dawn of man. This book has become my primary “go-to” reference and is a must read for every student of leadership.”
– Richard Rierson, Executive Coach & Founder & host of Dose of Leadership Radio


Leadership Wisdom is the first book I’ll be giving to not only my wife, but my three, twenty-something-aged children as well — which says it all!”
– Bryan Mattimore, author, 21 Days to a Big Idea

“Drawn from the work of poets, philosophers and other sage thinkers, and refined by the tests and trials of practical executive experience, Leadership Wisdom provides a wealth of inspiration and insight into the arts of leadership.”
– Daniel J. Sweeney, Director, Institute for Enterprise Ethics, University of Denver


“Climb onto the magic carpet with leadership mentor Bob Vanourek and glide joyfully through eons of leadership wisdom. You’ll become a more accomplished leader.”
– Bob Whipple, “The Trust Ambassador”


“The mystery and dignity of human leadership are beautifully captured by Bob Vanourek’s selections from the world’s great poetry and elegant prose and then elevated by his eloquent, personally candid commentaries. This is a treasury of leadership wisdom that all leaders should read annually. I certainly will.”
– Dr. Larry Donnithorne, author of The West Point Way of Leadership


“This century demands leaders who possess an impactful balance of authenticity and courage. This one-of-a-kind treasure surely provides a realistic moral compass to enable one to be authentic and courageous in the most challenging of times. This is a must for those executives I coach.”
– Charles Walsh, President, HOPS International LLC, International Center for Organizational and Leadership Excellence


“‘Poetry is the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge.’ So Wordsworth tells us, and so Bob Vanourek reminds us in this splendid book of classic quotations and the practical applications they provide for our lives. I know the quotations, and I’ve used at least 50 in my own life and work.Read. Learn. Be inspired. A wonderful book!”
– John C. Bogle, Founder and former CEO, The Vanguard Group


“This book uniquely weaves together powerful leadership principles, life lessons drawn from wonderful excerpts in great literature and poetry, and Bob’s inspiring life story. It is exceptionally valuable for leaders, followers, team members, parents, mentors, and coaches.”
– Michael J. Critelli, former Chairman and CEO, Pitney Bowes


“A powerful combination of the rich wisdom of the masters, an unflinching assessment of a high-powered career, and practical ideas for both the experienced and aspiring leader. I wish it had been written sooner.”
– Nancy Tuor Moore, Former CEO Kaiser Hill and board CH2M


“For those who seek to lead and make a difference in a clamorous world, leadership’s exemplar, Bob Vanourek, is the North Star providing simple, powerful and timeless lessons to guide the way.”
– Walt Hampton, J.D., best-selling author of Journeys on the Edge: Living a Life That Matters and The Power Principles of Time Mastery: Do Less, Make More, Have Fun


“In a day when the road to leadership is often mistaken for the highway to celebrity, this book sets one on the path oft not taken, except by leaders willing to journey to that potent place heart and mind align.”
– Karl Bauer, Fire Chief and Executive Fire Officer, Eagle River Fire Protection District


“Could the ongoing global crisis of trust be alleviated through a new leadership framework? Vanourek brilliantly combines timely and timeless lessons for current and future leaders, learned over his own career as a corporate CEO. Each story offers a leadership lesson and an opportunity for deep introspection on a new and better way forward.”
– Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO and Co-Founder Trust Across America Trust Around the World


“I love it. It is hard to say anything new in the well trampled literature of leadership, but Vanourek has come up with a brilliant idea that he has skillfully executed. After identifying some of the most memorable poems, writings and political speeches of our collective world culture, he has extracted from them nuggets of wisdom that can inform and inspire leaders of any generation. Building on his successful career as both student and practitioner of leadership, Vanourek proves to be a deft pilot as he guides us across a landscape that includes Robert Frost, Lewis Carroll, Shakespeare, the Bible, Abraham Lincoln, and Nelson Mandela. In his commentary on each reading, he converts their wise insights on the human condition into actionable principles that we can all benefit from in leadership and in life. This book is a must addition to anyone’s leadership library. It is an engaging journey for all those who think deeply about how to inspire people and mobilize change.”
– Richard H. Chandler, Adjunct Professor, University of California Irvine, and former CEO


“Brilliant. Vanourek’s sensational new book provides a historical dimension to each of these classic poems and verses, exposing dimensions that lead to deeper, more enriching meanings. The real value comes from the ‘practical applications,’ challenging us to employ these timeless ideas to achieve greater results in today’s turbulent world. A breakthrough in the clutter of leadership books.”
– Eric Chester, Author of On Fire At Work: How Great Companies Ignite Passion in Their People Without Burning Them Out


“In this elegant, meticulously researched, and well-crafted book, Bob Vanourek has captured the timeless wisdom of the world’s great poets and novelists. What’s more, he has applied this wisdom to the challenge of leadership, using his own deep experience to draw out lessons and immediate, practical takeaways. This is a heartfelt book that shuns the superficiality of many modern tomes on leadership to re-connect us with our core values and our underlying purpose. Thank you, Bob, for stepping into the arena once again and daring greatly!”
– John Blakey – Vistage Chair & Speaker, Author, The Trusted Executive


“Take one part compendium of meaningful and memorable literature, add one part reflective memoir and useful self-help, stir, and bake. Bob Vanourek has cooked up a meal that is full of insight for anyone who wants to lead effectively and make a difference in the world.”
– Marty Linsky, Faculty, Harvard Kennedy School, co-author, Leadership on the Line and The Practice of Adaptive Leadership


“A highly useful resource for leaders at all levels as they seek to hone their leadership behaviors. The selection of authors and use of personal examples provide an exceptionally useful learning resource. Especially valuable are the questions challenging the reader to deeply explore their individual leadership values and practices in their quest to become highly effective.”
– Sarah Smith Orr, former Executive Director, Kravis Leadership Institute and Visiting Professor, Claremont McKenna College and Adjunct Professor at The Drucker School, Claremont Graduate University


“A book of wisdom and profound leadership insights for passionate minds.”
– Richard Barrett, Author of The New Leadership Paradigm


“A much needed collection of wise lessons that inspire and encourage us to find our own wisdom, our own voice.”
– Richard Leider, Bestselling author of The Power of Purpose, Life Reimagined, Work Reimagined, and Repacking Your Bag


“Scripture declares there is nothing new under the sun, and Bob Vanourek’s exceptional collection of the wisdom of the ages supports that notion. His commentary makes these insights relevant today by connecting them to 21st century leadership needs.”
– John Horan-Kates, Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Vail Leadership Institute


Leadership Wisdom is just that. Wisdom. Presented in a thoughtful, creative way that makes it easy read to read in digestible bites. Bob’s leadership experience resonates and adds depth.”
– Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE, Past President, National Speakers Association


“Terrific insights for leaders in our military and the public at large, now and in the future. A home run.”
– Jack Chain, General USAF, Ret., former Commander-in-Chief, Strategic Air Command