How Did I Miss Out on The Tao of Leadership?

Tao of Leadership Book Cover photo

As leaders, we always want to better ourselves and others. Some essential components of leadership include integrity and continuous improvement by learning new skills. Once leaders achieve full awareness, they work on positively impacting their employees. Companies invest in leadership development through training and by holding workshops, meetings, or conferences.

Naturally, to better oneself as a leader, you need mentors, self-discipline, and tenacity. Also, resources like books help hone skills. Throughout my management career, I had opportunities to participate in company training initiatives. I remember receiving some book recommendations over time from senior managers. One book, From Good to Great, I did not find “good or great.” I was also gifted The Ant and the Elephant. The leader penned a personal and inspirational message. I did not make it through any pages after the handwritten note.

How can I forget the required reading in grad school and having to write articles about books? The Drama of Leadership comes to mind, and my paper criticizing it. I disagreed with my professor and did not take away any profound insight or inspiration. Due to differing views, he gave me a low grade and displayed his lack of leadership skills. Great leaders accept criticism and open themself up to feedback, positive or negative.

Despite my corporate management days being behind me, I still find the topic of leadership exciting. This year, I encountered The Tao of Leadership by John Heider, published in 1985. The tremendous number of positive ratings and reviews impressed me. Keep in mind; this book was published long before Amazon popped up in the digital trenches. I was six years old at the time and captivated by the Boy George and Culture Club book. Although I was stubborn and bossy back then, I was too young to read or understand The Tao of Leadership.

I think I never heard of this game-changing book because of the timing. How many other Generation X’ers did not hear of The Tao of Leadership? Why didn’t anyone ever recommend this widely read leadership book to me? Heider also had a very intriguing background with the Esalen Institute and Human Potential Movement. I gave the book a chance.

I will say this. If I voluntarily read an entire book, it has something. If I enjoy a book and rave about it, that means the author knocks it out of the park. I read less as an adult because I prefer to write. Also, if you know me, it takes a lot to hold my attention. The Tao of Leadership meets all my criteria. I stand firm in saying this is the best leadership book I have ever read.

The Tao of Leadership has timeless content, just like a leader’s principles and concepts. Even today, in the digital world, this book still holds tremendous validity and value. The Tao of Leadership is widely applicable to almost anyone. If you run a household, work at any management level, or lead yourself, you will gain something from this book.

You can buy the ebook, including the Kindle version from Green Dragon directly, or order from Amazon. If you want to buy several copies, email to get prices lower than Amazon. Here’s another review by Bob Morris.


Melissa Meade has a B.A. in Psychology from East Stroudsburg University. She attended graduate school at the University of Scranton, studying Human Resource Management. Melissa has 22 years of experience in corporate management and has been writing since her elementary school days. After her company downsized, she changed professional paths and now has a freelance writing career.