Summarizing Barbie Brewer’s new book, Lead and Let Live: Leadership Lessons for the Future of Work, the professional and the personal are more alike and more aligned in terms of values, mores, and methodologies than one would think. “Without going through what I’ve gone through—without experiencing all that I have experienced as a woman, a mother, an executive, an entrepreneur, an industry leader, and a human being who lives, eats, breathes just like you do—I wouldn’t be who I am today. Yes, it took a crisis to force me to focus on what’s important in life, and I mean really focus with laser-like intensity, but don’t we usually end up learning the most enduring lessons from our darkest moments? Search your heart and see if you agree. If you’ve experienced crisis in your life (who amongst us hasn’t?), you know what I’m talking about.


Within those dark moments, silver linings can always be found; you just have to look for them. I, for one, always tend to find them,” she writes. “My goals for this book are simple: I want these lessons to endure; I want to share them in a way that will make a qualitative difference in your life and in the lives of others; I want these words to resonate in a way that will help make leaders more responsible, entrepreneurs more courageous, young people more confident, communities more connected; and, ultimately, to help make the world a better place in which to live and work.

 What started as a series of goodbye letters to my two children has evolved into what I hope will be a book that infuses new energy into not-so-new conversations about principle-centered leadership, expanding opportunity, organizational success, human decency, and compassionate, responsible, purposeful living. If you’re looking for new ways to lead, for fresh ways to focus on issues like organizational change and the redistribution of opportunity, or even if you’re seeking some simple guidance on how to become the very best version of yourself, join me on this journey. I hope you can feel my outstretched hand. Reach out and take hold of it now so that our journey can begin. Not tomorrow. Not next month. Not the second you cross off that last task on your to-do list. Let’s begin together. Now.”


She also writes, “I want each lesson that I share in this book, whether a lesson about life or a lesson about leadership, to have humanity, a heartbeat. Each story, anecdote, and experience I share must have a pulse. That’s why it’s important for me to begin, well, at the beginning, to take you back so that these lessons can unfold, in your mind, from a place of deeper context. I want to share a little about my past, right at the beginning of this book not least because these pieces of my past make up the person and leader I am today.”

By making things personal, it bolsters Brewer’s left-brain arguments. The tonality of the book is a marriage between professional and personal, and evidence in and of itself of the soundness for what Brewer advocates in full…

Garth Thomas