Orrin Woodward, New York Times best-selling author of ‘Launching a Leadership Revolution’ and Oliver DeMille, best known for his book ‘A Thomas Jefferson Education’ and the movement by the same name, have an uncanny ability to construct simple solutions to seemingly complex problems. In ‘LeaderShift,’ they focus that ability on problems plaguing the United States. The result is a simple set of solutions woven into a thought-provoking parable designed to be reach beyond the sphere of those that study history and politics out of their own ambition and into the lives of everyday Americans that are concerned about the future of our country.
I know most book reviews give a summary of the basic plot of the book, but I’m going to skip this part. While the story is both funny and compelling, my purpose in reading the book was to discover Woodward and DeMille’s proposed solutions to America’s problems. The reason I was/am so interested in hearing their opinion is that I know that they are both devoted students of history, economics, and human nature. Before reading Leadershift, I was hoping that it would be different than the majority of the books discussing America’s problems in that it would focus on the root of our problems, not the symptoms while, at the same time, being completely non-partisan. They delivered.
The solutions they offered, 28 in all, are refreshingly simple. I’m not going to list them all here. You’ll have to get the book and read it if you want them. However, most of them rest on a few simple premises. First, Woodward and DeMille argue that unless we have limited government, we will have limited freedom. Second, that no government is limited if its taxing powers or money printing ability are unlimited. Third, taxes are only effectively limited when a hard limit to taxation is set and checks and balances are created between the local, state, and federal level.
As a student of history and economics myself, albeit a relatively new student, I was pleasantly surprised at the boldness of the proposed solutions. A few of them, however, didn’t settle well with me at first. I would be surprised if you immediately agree with all of them. Agreeing is not the point though. The point is to get you thinking and hopefully inspire you to dig further into the topic of freedom.
If you’re anything like me, by the end of LeaderShift, you’ll be chomping at the bit for more. Those of us that already like reading into politics, history, and economics will probably want more depth. Take heart though, LeaderShift is the first of three books. Think of it as the primer for a much larger discussion on freedom in America. In the mean time, go the LeaderShift website and get some of the free downloads, follow Orrin’s blog and sign up for newsletters from The Center for Social Leadership for more discussion around the topics introduced in LeaderShift.
Overall, if you are truly concerned about the future of freedom in the United States (or anywhere else), pick up a copy of LeaderShift. Read it, digest it, argue with it, discuss it, and share it. Don’t stop with LeaderShift though. It is not the end-all, be-all of books on freedom. However, it is a significant addition to the Great Conversation and one that I strongly recommend everyone read.
Here is a fantastic interview with Orrin and Oliver discussing LeaderShift.
Update 4/26: It looks like LeaderShift hit the New York Times Best Seller list at #12.
Update 4/30: It looks like LeaderShift hit #2 on the Wall Street Journal Non-Fiction Hardcover best-seller list.
Update 5/2: Leadershift not only hit the New York Time Best Sellers list, but has climbed to #9.