My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Dickson provides a lengthy approach to a practical guide on humility, and he nails it. His arguments are not ones that are easily dismissed, nor argued against. In fact, his assertions, and his thesis overall, are solid and well established by his research. Dickson does not make assumptions, but rather backs up each statement with scores of character profiles to prove his point. He not only showed how humility has historically gone from being rejected to being part of the virtues of today, but showed how companies themselves can reflect humility.
He shared two anecdotes to this degree, one regarding Bill Gates being fairly humble in a factual situation, and a polar opposite that showed arrogance and disregard for customer care, regarding Steve Jobs and Apple with the iPhone 4 and their “antennae-gate” controversy. Dickson maintained a seasoned approach and managed his topic well, giving practical advice for learning humility, which centered on not only the character profiles, but also the impact of Y’shua in history.
One area of critique regarding his material would be Dickson’s assertion that humility is common sense. Humility should be common sense, but as has been evidenced throughout history by power-players, politicians, and the like, such is not necessarily the case. As Dickson pointed out with Steve Jobs, arrogance and pride does exist. In fact, both are found within the structures of leadership far too often today. Granted, this book was written years ago, but not much has changed in the world, and such a worldview shift takes much longer than the distance between this critique and the publish date of the book.
Arrogance and pride do well to manipulate and confuse those caught in their web, and hide humility. The issue comes with Dickson’s definition of humility. Humility is about serving others, not the self. Taking positions of leadership to benefit others, not the self. However, as George Orwell famously wrote, “power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Dickson acknowledges the change in history with Y’shua, but seems to fail to consider that the human condition was without a Messiah prior to His arrival, and thus why humility was frowned upon pre-Christ. As such, humility would be frowned upon today if not for that time-changing event. However, just because it is not publicly frowned upon, does not mean that it is not actually frowned upon by people in power. Much like how companies tote “going green” as a manipulative strategy to gain consumer support, so do companies focus on humility as a marketing strategy as well. Otherwise, Dickson wrote excellently, and the work is evidenced as a whole.
The book retains value in an academic context. For those studying leadership, this book is a must in every regard. Dickson’s work is singular in its simple and practical method, and a quick easy read as well. The book does contribute to pastoral ministry as well, as a marker for what all leaders and volunteers (that is everyone in ministry) should know and implement in their own lives regarding humility. The future of society, and the church, depends on true humility being possessed and utilized by leaders in businesses and religious organizations, especially the government. These three groups struggle with power in today’s society: corporations, churches, and government. If influential individuals in each group were to read this book and practice it, great change could occur that would drastically improve public, consumer, and spiritual life.
Disclosure: I have received a reviewer copy and/or payment in exchange for an honest review of the product mentioned in this post.