Leadership Values: An Introspection

A Philadelphia Fire Chief's Forty-year Journey to Understanding and Practicing Authentic Leadership

Non-Fiction - Occupational
256 Pages
Reviewed on 11/22/2019
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Author Biography

Before Leadership Values: An Introspection was self-published, I had an interesting experience with two large publishing houses. The first publisher was very complimentary toward the book but eventually rejected it because “It’s just not what we’re looking for.” The second publisher wanted to publish the book but insisted on modifications. They said, “It’s just a little too creative (What!?). But more importantly, there’s not enough science in your book. You need to add some more charts, graphs and scientific study outcomes. Gary, so much of this information is just your opinion.”
We went back-and-forth for two months with me repeatedly noting that so many of the books published today are “just somebody’s opinion.” I reminded them that people live through a specific or noteworthy event or period and then write about their observations, thoughts, emotions and learning. The publisher countered with, “That’s true, Gary, but you’re not famous.”
In the end, I both won and lost that battle with the publisher: I lost because they declined to publish my work … and I won because I did it my way.
So that’s what Leadership Values: An Introspection is: a book full of observations, thoughts, emotions and genuine learning …. penned by a nobody…. presented in non-scientific language.… but laser-focused on real-world leadership challenges.
I’m proud of the thoughtful experience-based explanations I developed for understanding the fourteen values. But I have to admit that for most readers – it’s all about the stories.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers' Favorite

Matching the power, authenticity, and personal intimacy of Dale Carnegie’s iconic gem elucidating great leadership (friendship) qualities and values, Gary. F. Appleby’s contribution to this tremendously important subject, Leadership Values: An Introspection, is every bit as timely, perceptive, and applicable to becoming a better human being as was Carnegie’s little masterpiece. In a similar “do-as-I-do, not-as-I-say” exemplary style, Appleby invites you into a very comfortable, self-assessing, non-judgmental counseling session on how to be a much better, more effective leader. With plenty of real-life examples – both supportive and cautionary – to clarify and illuminate his points, Mr. Appleby leaves no confusion whatsoever as to his meanings and suggestions.

In the place of honor among 14 specific leadership qualities discussed by Gary F. Appleby in Leadership Values, integrity reigns supreme, though integrally connected with the rest. As a powerful statement indicating his commitment to this primary quality, the author – a lifetime firefighter promoted often to higher stations of responsibility and authority – chose to self-publish his deeply thoughtful, highly intelligent book, rather than compromise his own values for the concretized whims of a market-obsessed, mainstream publisher. The consequence for the reader is a much more accessible, intimate, and interesting treatment than is likely to be found in most other self-help books. Doing this, Appleby brings honor to the role of the independent author and provides to any professional leader a major new resource more personally rewarding and interactive than lesser examples he might encounter. Proving, as the author adjures, that “Staying true to your positive values is the rudder that steers you toward correct decisions.” Writing Leadership Values was a powerfully correct decision.

Romuald Dzemo

Leadership Values — An Introspection: A Philadelphia Fire Chief's Forty-year Journey to Understanding and Practicing Authentic Leadership by Gary F. Appleby has a quality that aligns beautifully with the author’s job — it is fiery. Beginning with an experience on a cool, summer night in 1968, when another firefighter and the author advanced a hose line deep into the basement of a burning West Philly church, a moment when he thought he'd die, the author takes readers on a nonstop, exhilarating journey as Chief and shares leadership lessons he has drawn from that journey.

In this book, the author shares his experiences, the thrills and joys, the failures, and the lessons in between. The book explores the theme of personal values and the place they hold in leadership. Gary F. Appleby provides life lessons for reflection and prompts readers to examine the leader in them. While the book is based on the author's experiences, it offers lessons that cut across the different fields and that help readers find clarity in identifying and building their own kind of leadership. The writing makes for an interesting read, combining street smarts with humor and intelligent thinking with focused writing to provide both enlightenment and entertainment. The prose is crisp and the voice compelling. The author combines the art of great storytelling with the ability to write succinctly to create a page-turner. This book identifies and develops those values that define effective leadership. Confidently written and with a message that is skillfully articulated. A great read, indeed.

Christian Sia

If you have to read one book in leadership, then it should be Leadership Values: An Introspection - A Philadelphia Fire Chief's Forty-year Journey to Understanding and Practicing Authentic Leadership by Gary F. Appleby. Unlike many books I have read on leadership, this one stands out because it has flesh, it is written from real human experience. The author starts with a gripping story when he almost lost his life in a fire. It was a fellow firefighter who saved his life. Sharing his real-life experiences, the author offers valuable lessons on leadership values, articulating brilliantly on topics such as integrity, vision, decisiveness, self-discipline, accountability, optimism, courage, honesty, trustworthiness, pride, compassion, loyalty, humility, and enlightenment.

This is a fascinating book and as the author shares his thoughts and insights on leadership, he allows readers to see how they played out in his own experience. The stories are eye-opening and filled with lessons, but they are also entertaining. The writing is fluid and simple and I loved how ideas are broken down into bullet points and short paragraphs that can be easily scanned. Each chapter has a series of questions for readers to think about. Gary F. Appleby has a strong message that will help readers shape the way they relate to themselves and others, understand how and where to lead others, and he passes this message across in a very effective manner. This book is simply brilliant, packed with information and insight. It is one of the most relevant books I have read on leadership and one that every leader needs to read.