you're reading...

Book Reviews

The Leader Who Had No Title: Book Review

Leadership Without a Title

Riding the train to downtown each day gives me loads of time to think about life and read about business. Recently, I picked up a book that I have been meaning to read for a long time: The Leader Who Had No Title by Robin Sharma. Originally, I had Sharma’s book The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari in my hands but LWT (Lead Without a Title) spoke to me a little louder!

Recently, I seem to have read books that have a “story” format like The Wealthy Barber, The Celestine Prophesy and Life’s Golden Ticket (each good books in their own ways.)

Short Summary

The Leader Who Had No Title follows the story of Blake who is a young Gulf War Veteran trying to find his way in the world. Through the bookstore that he works (who hasn’t dreamed of doing this one) he meets Tommy – an eccentric top performer within the organization. Tommy takes Blake to visit his own mentors Ana, Ty, Jackson and Jet who teach Blake about the LWT philosophy.

Using a series of acronyms SPARK, IMAGE, HUMAN and SHINE (see below), the four mentors and Tommy bring Blake from an individual who can’t see past the daily grind of the workplace into a true “everyday leader.”

The main point is that it’s not a title that gives you leadership ability. Specifically, you should not wait to get a leadership title to be a leader. Leadership comes from the belief that your role is important, you are proud of yourself and want to succeed.

A genius idea alone has zero value. What makes it priceless is the quality of follow-through and the speed of execution around the genius idea.” (pg 73)

Why it spoke to me

This book had a great effect on my own position within the organization that I work. Everyday, I have the opportunity to either push one step forward or, alternatively, be negative and move everyone a step back. Let’s be clear, it’s not like I don’t know the correct answer for this – stay positive! Sometimes it just takes another boost of motivation to set you back on the right path.

The second great thing that I came to realize is that being a leader is far more than just the title. Even within your own personal relationships – home, friends, colleagues – the ideas in this book apply to each of those.

Action Steps

To sum it all up, I would recommend this book as a nice easy read with great quotes and key-points. I don’t think that the story kept me as involved as some other story format books (where you learn as they learn) but I finished it in a few days and have gone back a few times to read some key points.

Here are a few action steps and key quotes I’ve taken from the book:

“If you want to win, you need to help others win. And part of that is doing all you can do to build a high-performance culture within your organization.” (pg 136)

“…become more connected to those moments where your natural genius most fully presents itself. Live for those moments and you’ll begin to experience more of them.” (pg 69) – see Marcus Buckingham for lots more on Playing To Your Strengths.

“He never caught a glimpse of the leader he could have been. So he kept on working and living exactly the same way. No reaching. No venturing. No expanding….All because he just wouldn’t dare to leave his comfort zone.” (pg 100)

“…spending even five minutes during that first hour of your day celebrating all the good things in your life will put you into an acute state of happiness.” (pg 183)

The Acronyms


Speak with Candor
Adversity Breeds Opportunity
Respond versus React
Kudo’s for Everyone


See Clearly
Health is Wealth
Inspiration Matters
Neglect Not Your Family
Elevate Your Lifestyle

I’ve also found a few other blogs who reviewed this book:

Rob Christeson of RobChristeson.com recommends this book for people who don’t believe that they can make a difference in their everyday lives. Read his book review for The Leader Who Had No Title.

Perry Holley at PerryHolley.com says that “The Leader Who Had No Title” is for each and every one of us, regardless of position or title, to develop how we lead ourselves so that we positively influence as many people as possible in our day to day life. Read his review on this book by Robin Sharma