Wednesday, October 15, 2014

SAL Book: The Foreword & Afterward

Self-Action Leadership:
The Key to Personal, Professional, & Global Freedom


University Master Teacher, Arizona State University

David McCullough – that famous historian and author of our time – once remarked: “The only way to teach history, to write history, to bring people into the magic of transforming yourself into other times, is through the vehicle of the story. It isn't just a chronology. It’s about people. History is human.” With these words in mind, Jordan Jensen’s comprehensive work on self-leadership, built on the foundation of his own, unique self-leadership history, is truly an exceptional work for two distinct reasons.

First, Self-Action Leadership applies the method of teaching outlined by McCullough. There are many good definitions and explanations of self-leadership out there, but Jordan’s work stands apart because he teaches us the concept through the vehicle of storytelling. And the wonderment of the story is that it is his own. In the pages that follow, Jensen articulately chronicles his own self-leadership successes. In doing so, he does not withhold the painful details surrounding the many struggles and failures preceding those successes. With unusual honesty and courageous self-disclosure, he opens our eyes to our own imperfect, yet determined, humanity by providing a fascinating look into his own. In the process, he inspires us to transcend whatever adversity comes our way to eventually realize the full extent of our life’s potential. But he does not stop at sharing his story. He goes on to utilize his narrative as a foundation for expanding self-leadership theory by introducing his own, original theory and model— the Self-Action Leadership Theory & Model.

Second, Jensen has accomplished a task that is very difficult for any author to achieve, and that is to produce a single text that is highly relevant to multiple audiences at the same time. Because of the universal applicability of basic self-leadership principles, his message is germane not only to persons struggling with OCD, depression, or other forms of mental illness, but to civic leaders, business professionals and workers of all kinds, educators, students, athletes, parents, and children—in short, to everyone. Indeed, I do believe that virtually anyone who reads this book will be able to take something away from it that will improve his or her life in a significant way. As an author myself, I am amazed at Jordan’s achievement in writing one book that carries the potential to reach such a wide variety of people—and that is the beauty of it.

This book will do much more than just teach you about Self-Action Leadership. It will cause you to think deeply about how you are currently living your own life, and how you could better lead yourself to achieve the results you most desire in the long-run. More importantly, Jensen’s compelling story and courageous personal example, combined with his percipient ability to effectively teach the corresponding self-leadership principles, will inspire and motivate you to actually do something about what you will learn. In the process, it might even touch emotions in your heart that will move you to joy and tears. It takes a talented writer to do all of these things, so I know you’ll enjoy reading this book. More importantly, I know you’ll come away a wiser person with an increased motivation to begin taking action to realize your own Self-Action Leadership potential, an opportunity we can all take full advantage of, if only we will.

About Dr. Chris Neck

Christopher P. Neck, Ph.D. is one of the world’s most prestigious and prolific scholars in the self-leadership field. He is a lead co-author (with Dr. Charles C. Manz) of Mastering Self-Leadership: Empowering Yourself for Personal Excellence (2nd-6th Editions) – the textbook on self-leadership used at colleges and universities throughout the nation.

Dr. Neck earned a Bachelor’s degree and MBA from Louisiana State University and a Ph.D. in Management from Arizona State University, where he is currently an Associate Professor of Management. At ASU, he also holds the distinctive and singular title of University Master Teacher.

Before ASU, Neck taught at Virginia Polytechnic University (Virginia Tech), where he was awarded the prestigious Students’ Choice Teacher of the Year Award NINE TIMES between 1996 and 2008 (This award is a student-voted accolade honoring the best teacher of the year within the entire University).

Dr. Neck has published nearly 100 scholarly works in the form of books, textbooks, book chapters, and peer reviewed articles. His research specialties include: leadership, self-leadership, employee/executive fitness, self-managing teams, and group decision making processes.

Dr. Neck has done training for the U.S. Army as well as major corporations such as GE/Toshiba, America West Airlines, Dillard’s, Prudential Life Insurance, Busch Gardens, Clark Construction, Crestar, American Family Insurance, Sales and Marketing Executives International, American Electric Power, and W.L. Gore and Associates. His writing has been cited in major news publications including: The Houston Chronicle, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal.

In addition to Mastering Self-Leadership, Neck is the lead co-author of Management—a seminal textbook for introductory classes in Management (Neck, Lattimer, & Houghton; Wiley, 2014) and Entrepreneuring—a seminal textbook for introductory classes in Entrepreneurism (Neck, Neck, & Murray; SAGE, 2015). He is also the author or co-author of Fit to Lead: The Proven 8-Week Solution for Shaping up Your Body, Your Mind, and Your Career (2004), Mastering Self-Leadership (2012, 2010, 2007, 2004, 1999), The Wisdom of Solomon at Work (2001), For Team Members Only: Making Your Workplace Team Productive and Hassle-Free (1997), and Medicine for The Mind: Healing Words to Help You Soar (2007).

In his personal life, Chris is a husband and proud father of a son and daughter. An avid runner, he has also completed 12 marathons including the New York, San Diego, and elite Boston. To-date, his longest continuous run is 40 miles.

For more information about Dr. Neck and his work and consulting services, or to contact him personally, please visit his website at


Dr. David G. Anthony, CEO of Raise Your Hand Texas
By: David G. Anthony, Ed.D.CEO, Raise Your Hand Texas

When Jordan originally invited me to review an 802-page manuscript of this book, I balked a bit, wondering when I would possibly have time to review such a tome. It is interesting to note how some of life’s most important, rewarding, and ultimately enjoyable tasks initially appear so uninviting. In the end, I opted to set myself to the task, and I am so glad that I did.

As I poured through the pages, my mind soon became flooded with memories, thoughts and experiences from my four-plus decade career as a teacher, principal, superintendent, and now CEO. From then on, there was no way to put the work aside. As I reflected further on Jordan’s “Pedagogy of Personal Leadership,” I found myself wishing I had enjoyed access to the book when I was a 21-year-old teacher working with high school seniors, and when I was a 25-year-old principal working with teachers and students.

As I continued to read, cliché’s like, “Leaders are born, not made” were removed from my gray matter and discarded. Instead, I thought of Shakespeare: “To thine own self be true,” and “Discretion is the greater part of valor.” Shakespeare got it. Furthermore, my mother’s admonition of, “How do you ever expect to be loved by others if you don’t love yourself,” could just have easily been, “How can you expect to lead others, if you can’t even lead yourself?” In short, Jordan has eloquently articulated the need for, and importance of, leadership, character, and life-skill education in American businesses, schools, and homes. More importantly, he has outlined an explicit theory, model, and pedagogy to provide leaders, educators, parents, and individuals with a tangible toolbox and roadmap for immediate application.

As I delved deeper into Jordan’s book, the passages called up a memory of an interview where I was asked, “What are the most important things you hope your students learn?” I was principal of a school at the time, and I said, “My hope is that all of our students are highly literate and numerate and understand the importance of self discipline, responsibilities, and consequences. Then, no matter what goals they set, they will have the recipe for success.” I was under thirty years of age and my comments were crude compared to Jordan Jensen’s polished presentation, but not considerably off target.

If Jordan’s career had preceded mine and I could have used his book as a teacher, principal and superintendent, I would have positively impacted more students and teachers during my 37-year career by providing them with a key to potential success and significance. It is highly encouraging to see that this book has now been written for a new generation of leaders, educators, professionals, and students to use as a guide to their personal development. It is even more encouraging to know that its author exemplifies the principles he promotes.

I thank Jordan for inviting me to read this work. He has earned my endorsement. Reading this book may be the most worthwhile thing you do this year. I hope the message of Self-Action Leadership makes its way into the minds and hearts of students, parents, and business professionals everywhere. Its presence in the literature is a service to our Country.

About Dr. David Anthony

Dr. Anthony grew up in rural Louisiana (Florien). He graduated from high school in 1970 prior to attending Panola College in Carthage, Texas, where he played on the basketball team. He later completed a Bachelors degree in English and history at East Texas Baptist College in Marshall Texas. In 1977, he earned a Masters Degree in Secondary Education from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana.

From there, he served as Principal of a K-12 school in Converse, Louisiana, where he began a 9-year journey that included leading his school from “Worst to First.” Along the way, Anthony earned his Doctorate in Education Administration from Northwestern State University in 1986, and became a Superintendent. He served as Superintendent in High Island, Texas, Mount Pleasant, Texas, and Texas City, Texas, before taking over in McKinney, Texas where he oversaw growth from 9,800 students to 18,000 students during his tenure of five and one-half years.

Anthony’s successes in rural Texas and suburban Dallas (McKinney) caught the attention of Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, where he was hired as Superintendent in 2004. With over 112,000 students, Cy-Fair ISD is the third largest School District in the State of Texas and among the 25 largest Districts in the entire United States.

Anthony served at the helm of Cy-Fair ISD for seven years before accepting a position as CEO at Raise Your Hand Texas, a non-profit education advocacy organization that works to strengthen public education in the State of Texas by training public school leaders to lead transformational change at the campus level. Raise Your Hand Texas also advocates for public policies aimed at improving the education of all Texas students.

Anthony is a graduate of the Aspen Institute and Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program. A husband, father, and grandfather, Anthony resides in Houston, Texas.

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