April 2022 Book Review Corner

The AMCI Reading Corner is a crowdsourced resource share aimed to serve as a platform for the AMCI community to share book recommendations and reflect with personal takeaways. Starting with monthly postings, more ways to engage will be shared as the idea grows.

This month, Justin Lewis of Smith Moore & Associates shares his review of Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up by Jerry Colonna

Turning 18 was a big deal for most of the people I know, myself included. It meant we could go to war, vote, buy cigarettes, and be adults. There you go, it's magic! Yesterday you were a boy, today you're a man. Go adult. Whaaaa? I was not prepared. Living in California I still couldn't buy alcohol or gamble. I thought, maybe I'll feel like an adult at 21. Aftershock and Jagermeister came and went. Still no adulthood. Friends got married, had kids. I'd snuggle babies, play catch, throw kids in the air (safely!). Still, no adulthood. Then I moved in with my girlfriend, we got married, got "real" jobs in the tall-building part of the city. Had brunches (with the friends who didn't have kids) and kind of did whatever I wanted, when I wanted. I guess somewhere in there I started feeling like an adult.

The problem I was having, and didn't realize until a handful of years ago, is that I never grew up. I don't mean in the Peter Pan sense; I'll never lose the part of me that runs and jumps on shopping carts, plays pranks, or throws kids in the air. I mean the part of me that knows how to look inward and sees me for who I am. Being able to diagnose your inner turmoil is the tire change of growing up. I needed to be able to dig in and treat my inner-self with love, kindness, and compassion. The author of this book calls this process Radical Self-Inquiry and it's the key to growing up.

Jerry Colonna's walk through life inspired me to dig deeper at every turn as I worked through his book. He is the exact person that I want to go on long walks with, vent frustrations, and have him say almost nothing while I work out my issues. A strong, stable force of good will, supporting me. As I turned these pages I feel like I got a chance to go on a lot of walks with Jerry. I cried. I laughed. I got angry. Angry at the world, my parents, at myself. While going on this emotional rollercoaster I could imagine Jerry, standing right next to me, taking it all in. Kindly. Empathetically. Extending to me, and all my warts, the grace that I need, and never felt I deserved. Everyone needs love, safety, and belonging, and I can feel it coming off Jerry as I read his words.

Along with all of the "soft" stuff about feelings, this book is a manual to tackling your own inner demons. As you read and follow the journaling prompts you see how you are getting in your own way. You begin to recognize your flaws. You begin to treat yourself and others better.

Jerry’s writing differs from many "self-help" type books I've read in the past. Many of those want you to disown the parts of you that don't "align with your goals." To cast aside the parts that tell us to be "lazy" or "weak." Instead, he offers a different path. A solution rooted in thousands of years of Buddhism: Embrace your whole self. Warts and all. Listen to the Crow that says you're not good enough, and hear what it’s really trying to say. When you realize everyone has their own Crow, you can find your people everywhere.

Want to dip your toe in the water with some of your own radical self-inquiry? Try these questions. I recommend journaling about each of them, multiple times each:

  1. How am I complicit in the conditions I say I don't want?
  2. What am I not saying to my colleagues, my family, my life partner that needs to be said?
  3. What was the story my family told about being real, being vulnerable, being true?
  4. Which of my unconscious patterns might be showing up in my organization?
  5. How have those patterns benefited my organization? How are they holding it back?

Books too much? Jerry has been on the Tim Ferriss show https://tim.blog/2019/06/11/jerry-colonna/ and On Being https://onbeing.org/programs/jerry-colonna-can-you-really-bring-your-whole-self-to-work/

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