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The Humanitarian Leader in Each of Us

The Humanitarian Leader in Each of Us
7 Choices That Shape a Socially Responsible Life

August 2011 | 208 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

From the authors of the best-selling books 'TeamWork' and 'When Teams Work Best'.

Click here to watch Frank LaFasto, Susie Scott Krabacher and other contributors to the book in conversation at the World of Children awards, hosted by UNICEF, November 1st, 2011 in New York.

"This short book gives me hope that giants continue to walk the earth, lending a hand to those in need of extraordinary help."—Dr. Matthew Goldstein, Chancellor, City University of New York

"So many of us want to help, but don't know where to begin. The deeply moving stories of the remarkable people profiled in this book help point the way." —United States Senator Mark Udall

"A powerful, moving, and substantive book that puts leadership in the hands of everyday people."—Peter G. Northouse, Western Michigan University, author of Leadership: Theory and Practice

Susie Scott Krabacher, a former Playboy centerfold, devotes her life to helping women and children in the desperate slums of Haiti. Ryan Hreljac, at age 6, launches an organization to build wells in countries where water is scarce. Larry Bradley, a U.S. army major in Iraq, mobilizes an international effort to save the life of one local boy. Victor Dukay, himself orphaned at a young age, builds a center in Tanzania for children who have lost parents to AIDS. Inderjit Khurana, a teacher in India, creates a network of train "platform schools" to educate impoverished street children.

How do seemingly ordinary people come to take such extraordinary action? Best-selling authors Frank LaFasto and Carl Larson embarked on a 5-year quest to find out. In this book, they offer a fascinating look into the origins of humanitarian leadership in the lives of 31 individuals.

Based on their groundbreaking research, LaFasto and Larson trace a path of 7 pivotal choices. The path begins with connecting deeply and personally with the needs of others and culminates in leading the way for more people to get involved. The first 7 chapters of this book tell the stories of this remarkable group of leaders and describe their choices. The final 3 chapters explore the impact of 31 people on the world's problems, the relationship between helping and personal happiness, and practical advice for getting started in a helping effort.

In this inspiring book, LaFasto and Larson show how each of us can translate our own good intentions into good deeds--and enrich our own lives along the way.

Introduction - The Moment: The Same Look I Saw in the Mirror
Chapter I Leveraging Life’s Experiences: A Generation of Orphans
Chapter II A Sense of Fairness: Bags of Magic
Chapter III Believe We Can Matter: It’s a Gift That I Have, and I Use It
Chapter IV Open to an Opportunity: Busy in Baghdad
Chapter V Taking the First Small Step: A Seventh Grade Speech
Chapter VI Perseverance: These Are the Cards That Were Dealt Me
Chapter VII Leading the Way: Shame Hung Over the Sanctuary
Chapter VIII A Positive Force: The Accumulation of Good
Chapter IX A Larger Life: No Gravestone Has a Job Title or Salary on It
Chapter X Getting Started: A Spectrum of Involvement
Epilogue Beyond Our Research

A powerful, moving, and substantive book that puts leadership in the hands of everyday people. LaFasto and Larson’s work is grounded in theory yet crystal clear in describing the core dimensions of humanitarian leadership. This book expands the domain of leadership and encourages all of us to make life better in some way for others.

Peter G. Northouse
Western Michigan University

As someone who comes from a long line of public servants, I found the message of service to others in this insightful and original book inspiring and hopeful. The problems we face in our global community are complex and often seemingly intractable, but LaFasto and Larson make a convincing case that individual citizens, of any age and from any walk of life, can have a positive and often lasting impact. So many of us want to help, but don’t know where to begin. The deeply moving stories of the remarkable people profiled in this book help point the way.

United States Senator Mark Udall

“This short book gives me hope that giants continue to walk the earth, lending a hand to those in need of extraordinary help.”

Dr. Matthew Goldstein, Chancellor, City University of New York
Chancellor, City University of New York

"It is gratifying to see so many of the leaders in this book engaged in the vital work of improving the health of men, women, and children around the globe. The commitment and compassion of these humanitarians make me believe in a future in which people everywhere enjoy long, productive lives."

Dr. Brian Williams, former Epidemiologist, World Health Organization; Fellow of the South African Centre for Epidemiology and Analysis
World Health Organization and Fellow of the South African Centre for Epidemiology and Analysis

This book should be required reading for every student in every University in the country. President John F. Kennedy told us “There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.” Now La Fasto and Larson have made sense of this position and made it easy for each of us to understand the power we have within us to make a real difference in the real world.

Harry Leibowitz
Co-Founder World of Children Award

Seems best as a reference book rather than text.

Dr Karen Froelich
Management and Marketing, North Dakota State University
August 28, 2013

great way to teach social justice through story.

Dr Marilyn Bugenhagen
Leadership Studies, Marian University
August 20, 2013

Students loved using this text. Maybe more practical than I have used in other courses, it really served my Civic Engagement class well.

Dr Corday Goddard
Humanities Fine Arts Div, St Norbert College
August 15, 2013

This book is very practical, readable and even pleasant to work through. It's organization and content encourages a great deal of personal reflection, and the book succeeds in providing a true sense of experience to the reader. For a course whose structure and delivery matches it, this book could be a useful component of the required readings.

Dr Keith Hunter
School Of Management Business, University of San Francisco
July 30, 2013

The book is very well written and practical, but it would be better suited for either a globalization and change course, an ethics in leadership course, or something more specific than the general leadership course I was developing. I will continue to look for the right course to introduce this text, because I think it is an important work.

Professor MaryJo Burchard
Business Administration Div, Fresno Pacific University
July 24, 2013

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1: Leveraging Life’s Experiences

Chapter 2: A Sense of Fairness

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