Today we talk about Leading and standing alone, a book by Michael Lewis Wright, published with our publishing house Europe Books.
Europe Books had the pleasure of interviewing the author Michael Lewis Wright, to get to know him better, when he decided to write his personal story in his book Leading and standing alone, as well as what was the first book her read and what it taught him.
Below you can find our interview. Take a seat and enjoy your reading!!!
- When did you decide to write your personal story?
In the fall of 2016, just months before my father’s passing, I promised my dad that I would record his life’s story by writing a book. My father was a homeless orphan by the age of seven. During his youth, he wandered about until he finally set into a situation allowing him to have consistent food and shelter. My father went on to have a successful life and career as a leader and educator for 50 years before his passing. He completed his doctorate in education, was a superintendent of schools, a college professor, and a writer. About six months after my father’s death, I finally began writing his life story. Given I am his son, our stories intersected, creating more than my father’s biography. The book is a compelling story of leadership and lessons of overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds. The book also captured the essence of life in the American Southwest, the culture, and the people who lived and continue to reside there. This work shares many home-spun stories and sayings that shaped my life and the lives of countless others, including cowboys and other country folks.
- What particularly significant experiences in your life find expression in your book?
The central theme that recurs in my work is leadership and what that means in simple terms. We all lead different lives, and each of our lives tells particular stories. Some of the stories we tell that are handed down from one generation to the next resemble hand-me-down clothing. Some accounts are stretched out of shape, some have holes, and some fit perfectly. In all cases, life is filled with stories, sayings, and the telling of both. Everyone’s stories matter to those they lived with and loved, and these stories are worth both sharing and preserving. That’s the central focus of my efforts, the preservation of my father’s life story, his beginnings and how his life was shaped by acts of kindness, and the influence of heartfelt leadership focused on serving others. Today, perhaps more than ever, the world is starved for service-oriented leadership. Leaders focus entirely on the people they serve and the welfare of others.
- What are the messages you wanted to send out with your book?
Perhaps, the most central message is that despite being dealt a bad hand in life, anyone can rise above disadvantaged circumstances, provided they are willing to work hard and be humble enough to accept help when offered. Furthermore, even with focused effort and determination, nobody makes it through life without the help of others. Everyone, at some point or another, will need to extend their hand to be lifted from where they are to enable them to arrive at a place they are trying to achieve. And, when that moment comes, every day after that, those that have been helped should never forget to extend their helping hands in the direction of someone in need of a hand up, assiting others get their start in life. The message is also about a leader’s responsibility to their people. Selfless leaders are always more effective than those seeking only personal gain and enrichment. Authentic leadership, therefore, seeks to serve rather than be served.
- What was the first book you read, and what did it teach you?
The first book I recall reading independently was The Ghost of Dibble Hollow. I was about 8 years of age, and the story was first to read to me by my angelic mother. Our mother read to her children daily, including at our bedtime. Her readings created a love for reading and story-telling within my siblings and me. This story about a young boy and his adventures stirred my imagination. I read the story of the Ghost of Dibble Hollow repeatedly after that. The book became of great interest to me. The work encouraged a desire within me to both read and write. The book is well-written, placing the reader in the middle of the story. I learned to imagine, create, and dream about places and stories I would like to tell one day about the people around me and the little Arizona town where I lived. Years later, I found and purchased the book with the hope of sharing the story with my grandchildren and preserving the fond memories fostered within me in those years before, which have now long passed.
- Are you working on a new writing project?
Yes. I’m in the very early stages of writing another book about relationships and their importance to leading and following others. I hope to continue writing books that connect with people through story-telling and sharing down-to-earth examples that resonate with folks from all walks of life. Far too often, I think books written about leadership are intended for a very narrow audience. I hope to change that. Through GamePlansUSA (my consulting firm), I hope to write and share concepts of leadership that may be applied to all aspects of life, not just in professional settings. Far too often, we as leaders become far too myopic within our efforts, failing to take a few steps back to view the big picture purposes of our work. In the end, leading is about helping others and directing the efforts of organizations toward shared purpose and vision. I hope to continue writing and creating tools for this purpose.
Europe Books thanks the author Michael Lewis Wright once again for taking the time and answering our questions. We are really pleased to have walked alongside him on the editorial path that led to the publication of his book Leading and standing alone. We wish him the best of luck for his book and for his future works.
To you, my dear reader, I wish that this book will leave you with a message of hope and confidence in thinking that we can all overcome the most difficult times!. Just don’t give up, work hard and be humble in accepting the help of others and, at the same time, be ready to give your support if someone should ask for it!
So, my dear reader, all I have to say is to enjoy this inspiring reading!