Leaders are Made Not Born

40 Simple Skills to Make You the Leader You Want to Be

Non-Fiction - Self Help
242 Pages
Reviewed on 12/03/2019
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Author Biography

A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, Mike was a career naval officer, decorated combat pilot, and served in senior positions on staff in Washington, D.C. Following his military service, he embarked on a career as an aerospace systems engineer and executive with several Fortune 500 companies.

With a desire to help others develop as leaders, Mike earned his PhD in Organizational Leadership and started a leadership development consulting firm, specializing in executive coaching, mentoring, and development.

Mike’s passion for writing, developed throughout his career and in his doctoral studies, resulting in his writing Leaders Are Made Not Born now in this second edition. He also recently wrote the award-winning Quick Tips for Leaders: To Make a Difference. In addition, he has been a guest columnist for the San Antonio Express News business section, and an author of numerous articles on leadership in social media, blogs and newsletters.

When he’s not writing, Mike spends as much time as possible saltwater fishing with his wife, Lynne.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Leaders are Made Not Born: 40 Simple Skills to Make You the Leader You Want to Be by Michael J. Farlow is a self-help book that will help with sharpening your leadership skills and giving you a confidence boost. The author believes that everyone can be a leader in their own field and in any way they want to be. This is a very practical book that doesn’t just share ideas, but actually shares skills and practices that can help you become the leader that you desire to be. The author believes that you just need to have the determination, the motivation and the desire to become a leader and that is enough reason for you to work a little extra hard to get the results you want.

While the commitment of the reader is very important, the author also puts a lot of emphasis on educating yourself before taking a step further. This, in my eyes, is a very important and encouraging step, as education and learning something has a greater impact than just following a set of tips. He shares 40 skills that a leader should have and he details every skill so that it becomes easy to understand and adopt. The skills he mentions are skills that we all have; it is just a matter of honing them and making them better. What I really liked the most about this book is the expert advice given to the reader in the simplest of words so that anyone and everyone can understand it and implement it. The author gives sound and practical advice that is great for people of all genders and ages.

Randy B. Lichtman

Leaders are Made Not Born: 40 Simple Skills to Make You the Leader You Want to Be to Make a Difference, Second Edition by Michael J. Farlow, Ph.D., is excellent for the individual supervisor/manager to read individually or could also be used as a supplement in a business class on supervision and management. In the introduction, the author refers to a problem with managers being promoted based on their excellent technical knowledge with a lack of supervisory skills and is correct that this often will occur in industry. Since people are often seen as strong in their technical areas, it is assumed they will be just as strong in guiding others—which may not be a correct assumption, as supervision requires a different set of skills to engage with employees and get them motivated to be successful. The author is very effective in breaking many of those important supervisory skills down to 30, which are well explained in this book. The book is further broken down into three parts: Part I consisting of 31 Basic Skills; Part II - People are Key, which consists of 9 skills focusing on Emotional Intelligence; and Part III - Coaching and Mentoring—the Differences.

The tone of the narrative is in a relaxed coaching/friendly uncle type style that explains the concepts well, including some of the author’s own experiences, as chapters are told in the first person. The case study examples are effective in illustrating concepts well and contain excellent thought-provoking questions for individual or group discussion use. The “suggestions” are brief statements of material on how to utilize the concepts discussed. I highly recommend Leaders are Made Not Born by Michael J. Farlow, Ph.D. as an excellent book for both new managers and established ones alike. It presents important fundamental skills that should be good to learn for those who are new and a reminder for those who have experience. I recommend it not only for individual reading and use but also as a supplement to a management text in a supervision and management course.

Mamta Madhavan

Leadership is the highest form of the art of dealing with people and something more advanced than management. Leaders Are Made Not Born: 40 Simple Steps to Make You the Leader You Want to Be by Michael J. Farlow, Ph.D. is an insightful and thought-provoking book that gives readers 40 simple techniques to become the leader they want to be. This book will not only help to save one's job but also open doors to more successful career outcomes for readers who are looking for changes on the career front. People have the notion that leaders are born but, actually, that is not true. Leaders are usually made. The author's thirty-plus years of personal experience in the business world, research, working as a coach and mentor and based on his own study give easy, quick, and illustrative examples of leadership and the basic nature of leadership and how to use it practically.

The book is divided into three sections; the first section has guidelines to improve leadership skills, the second section covers emotional intelligence and dealing with employees in the organization, and the third section is about the advantages and differences in coaching and mentoring. This is an excellent tool that will help people grow and make excellent contributions to their families and communities. The author makes it interactive by giving introspective questions and brief leadership-related discussions which will pull in readers and make them participate in the series of suggestions in the book. The author deals with the topic extensively and methodically, making it easy for readers to practice the 40 tips. His writing style is neat, crisp, and detailed and that conveys his advice and tips clearly. Are you ready to go out and make a difference?

Gisela Dixon

Leaders are Made Not Born: 40 Simple Skills to Make You the Leader You Want to Be by Michael J. Farlow is a non-fiction business book for developing and nurturing the right leadership skills. Michael has drawn from his own experiences and talks in the introduction about what inspired and motivated him to write this book. The book is then divided into three major sections: the first one is a large section divided into chapters about improving leadership skills; the second section discusses the importance of people, and the third section is on coaching and mentoring. Each of the skills chapters is brief with an example as a case study and also a list of questions and suggestions that are meant as self-learning tools. At the end, there is an appendix that discusses an important aspect which is Emotional Intelligence.

Leaders are Made Not Born is a good book, especially for people who might be in management positions or striving to be there, but who need that extra coaching or help on how to truly become a great and effective leader. I liked that the chapters on skills are short and to the point, with a lot of thought-provoking questions and exercises that are meant to encourage independent thinking and application. Michael speaks from a place of experience and this comes through in the book. He keeps his writing short, concise, and precise, which I liked. This is definitely a book I would recommend to anyone who wants to take their career to the next level or who just wants to learn what it means to be a genuine leader of people.

K.C. Finn

Leaders Are Made Not Born is a work of non-fiction in the self-help and business genres, and was penned by author Michael J. Farlow, Ph.D. Subtitled '40 Simple Skills to Make You the Leader You Want to Be’, this well-organized work contains essential principles and creative ideas that anyone can put into practice to improve their leadership skills for the business world. After a brief word on the initial problems that many people typically face when trying to be effective in their leadership goals, the book splits into three major sections which break the skills down into personal development, interpersonal skills with others, and coaching and mentoring.

One of the things I enjoyed most about this book was the fact that author Michael J. Farlow encourages leaders not only to think of themselves as a model for confidence but also to consider their interactions and treatment of those who work as part of their team, wherever they fit into the supposed hierarchy. ‘Intelligence Other Than IQ’ is a particularly wise and emotive sub-section, one which seeks to place value where it is well deserved, and help effective leaders view the real assets of their team members. The narrative voice guiding the work is also very friendly and approachable, with a variety of good examples and descriptions of those skills in action, which makes the whole volume straightforward and easy to understand and apply. Overall, Leaders Are Made Not Born comes highly recommended for managers and aspiring leaders who want to make a wholesome and unselfish difference to their workplaces.