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“Success, like happiness, cannot be pursued.  It must ensue.  And it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself.”
– Viktor Frankl


Chip Conley is a fascinating individual. Besides being a successful entrepreneur and a best selling author, he is also the founder of the Modern Elder Academy, the world’s first midlife wisdom school. In a recent post he wrote about his favourite leadership book … which also happens to be my favourite book, specifically, Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search For Meaning”.

For those of us who work in the philanthropic sector or serve on a board/committee of a charity, I thought his words of wisdom might be helpful.

My Favorite Leadership Book by Chip Conley

Jaws drop when I answer the question, “What’s your favorite leadership book of all-time?” Improbably, I consistently answer, “Man’s Search for Meaning”  by Viktor Frankl. What does this rumination on life inside a Nazi concentration camp written by a psychologist have to do with leadership? Frankl chronicles how meaning can be the fuel for life even in the most challenging of situations. He articulates that character can overcome circumstances, which is an extremely valuable lesson for leaders.

But, more than that, his three sentences on emotional modulation, spoken after the book came out, represent the wisest summary of maturity I’ve ever heard. I quote: “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is your power to choose your response. And, in your response lies your growth and your freedom.”
Tape those sentences to your bathroom mirror and hold them close to your heart, especially when you’re going through a challenging time. As a leader, you are the emotional thermostat for those you lead, setting the climate control for your entire organization.