How Do Great Leaders Move Forward? Dan Schawbel Says Get “Back To Human”


It takes me a while to get through business books. There is so much competing for my attention: Ozark on Netflix, pics of my friends’ kids on Instagram, my daily skinny, non-fat, vanilla latte, hot from Starbucks.  However, every now and then a book gets my attention, as has Dan Schawbel’s soon to be released book, Back to Human: How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age Of Isolation.

On the face of it, when I first read the title, this book covers topics I am passionate about.  As a former VP of People, I believe the best modern leaders model humanity, vulnerability and empathy to effectively lead, which frankly, can be hard to do the more pervasive technology is in our lives. That being said, Dan’s book hit the mark in many ways.  So much so, I actually read it in a few days, which is saying something.

I’ve always been a fan of Dan’s work. He’s got real street-cred.  I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him speak at a variety of leadership/HR conferences and have always left impressed.  A millennial who gets it, Dan has a specific mission for his work: “To support my generation from student to CEO” and it shows.  His combo of research, case studies, and anecdotes from heavy-hitters of the corporate world (Facebook, Uber, Walmart) is a good one for all generations to find effective.

Here are a few reasons I liked the book and think you will too:

  • Leaders who need this book (um, all of you), must have resources interesting and quick to absorb. There is barely time in a leader’s day to go to the bathroom let alone read a 30-pound book. Back To Human, brings the goods to you quickly.
  • If you need stats, this book has them in droves. To change cultures, to implement new work philosophies or to introduce new initiatives, you must have stats to prove credibility. Dan is a researcher, so statistics are on every page; usable statistics that are easy to understand.
  • The book is tactical and practical. The chapters are fashioned to help all leaders actually implement human work practices. Checklists, assessments, self-reflection exercises, example questions, and templates all included. Bingo.
  • Dan stays true to his mission. He models how much more effective work can be if it is purposeful to the individual.  This is powerful to me.

I only had one negative. Although, the included statistics are a must have, I will say at times they were a distraction from the actual story being told. Some great real-life examples of bringing humanity to the workplace were muddied by numbers that limited some emotional impact for me. 

But a mighty fine resource for all leaders, generations and modern work influencers alike.  Dan is indeed the man (I couldn’t resist, sorry Dan)!

Dan’s book will be available to all you fabulous, life-long learners on November 13, 2018. This is the perfect time to get ideas for your 2019 workplace strategy sessions.  Pre-order now on Amazon (on Kindle it’s only $14.00, I mean, come on).  

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Dawn Hrdlica-Burke

VP People & Culture/ Talent Consulting at Kinetix. Advisor. Speaker. Writer.

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