Being a huge history buff, I was really looking forward to reading Anatomy of a Lean Leader as Illustrated by 10 Modern CEOs and Abraham Lincoln by Jerry Bussell and Emily Adams. After seeing multiple copies floating around the offices of the last company I was contracted to work with I looked forward to sending acopy to my dad knowing how much of a history buff he is, especially when it comes to Lincoln. It should be said right off the bat, this book is long on CEOs and short on Lincoln, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The book is short, about 150 pages, and very readable. Each chapter is comprised of a specific trait that a successful lean leader should possess (Respect, Probity, Holistic Thinking, Continuous Learning…etc.) focuses on a specific manager and how that person embodies that trait. This approach, of a particular manager and a particular trait, allows for very clear conveyance of ideas from the author and also makes it easy to go back and reference a specific quality of lean leadership.
As I said before, the downside of this book is that Abraham Lincoln doesn’t make as much of an appearance as you would expect, given that his name is in the title and his picture is on the cover. Each chapter is structured in roughly the same way: state a characteristic and why it is important to lean management, introduce a CEO who embodied that characteristic and how they applied it to their situation and then a couple of paragraphs about how Lincoln applied that facet of leadership in his own situation. That’s not to say that the examples of Lincoln’s leadership cited in the book don’t fit in the context just that Abraham Lincoln’s leadership in the face of great adversity is storied and a more in depth analysis to applying Lincoln’s leadership skills to a lean environment would have been interesting.
Ultimately, however, this is a business leadership book and not a history book and the insight given, especially how leadership skills can be applied in practical scenarios, make Anatomy of a Lean Leader a quality read that anyone with any amount of lean experience can appreciate. So if you’re in the market for a book about leadership but can’t or don’t want to spend a lot of time pouring through pages or dissecting heady philosophies give Anatomy of a Lean Leader a read.