The first wave of reviews of the book are in! Read what people are saying...
Marcia Southall

Managing Director of Employee Relations (former), American Airlines, Dallas, Texas
"Donna’s book is energizing and inspiring. It will appeal to anyone who wants an intimate peek into the thoughts, feelings, and motivations of a diverse group of powerful, proven leaders who evoke committed followers naturally. I absolutely LOVED it and have written in and tabbed it throughout. It’s a solid source of collective wisdom one can refer back to regularly. It will go on my night stand instead of my book shelf as a constant source of inspiration in the coming year."

Clare Elizabeth Carey

Director, Education & Training, Texas Cryptologic Center
"Ms. Karlin takes you into the minds and hearts of twelve diverse and fascinating leaders with her relaxed yet provocative conversations. She elicits stories and shared memories that de-mystify the experiences of seasoned and successful leaders... This is a book that inspires the reader to consider their own values, behaviors, and priorities, just as an executive coach would."

Tony Simons

Author, The Integrity Dividend: Leading by the Power of Your Word, Associate Professor, Cornell University, N.Y.
"This book is delightful and awe-inspiring. In it, a master coach has deep conversations with wise and accomplished people, and explores the meaning and techniques of life, leadership, and coaching... I enjoyed this book as a change agent who aspires to be more effective, and also simply as a learning human being. It was deeply nourishing.”

Barry Bales

Director of Governor’s Executive Development Program, LBJ School of Business, University of Texas at Austin
"These stories of extraordinary leaders are inspiring examples of people who, with passion, commitment, influence, and achievement, make their part of the world a better place. As important, these human-based leaders all have created an environment that enables, empowers, and motivates those around them to do the same. We all want to be around leaders like this.”

Michele Katz

Lawyer and Partner, Husch Blackwell Sanders LLP, Chicago, Illinois
"As an avid reader of books on leadership, business, innovative thinking and proven methods — in essence, anything that sharpens the mental sword — I believe that much like the disciple with a master samurai in ancient Japan, nothing can teach us more and help us get there more quickly than those who have successfully walked the path. Anyone interested in effective leadership should have Donna Karlin's latest book on human-based leadership. Keep it at arms’ reach as it will serve as your quick reference for authentic insight.”

Agata Halczewska-Figuet

Executive Director, INSEAD Global Leadership Centre, Fontainebleau Cedex, France
"When I first met Donna in our INSEAD Global Leadership Conference, Fontainebleau, France I was instantly struck by her generous, human-based approach to leadership. This is what she seems to care about and stand for. What matters to Donna is the human face behind every leader, and this focus helps her connect easily to leaders from different backgrounds. Thank you Donna for your willingness to explore what makes outstanding leaders who they are, and for giving your readers a unique perspective and insight on what it takes to develop generous, committed leaders capable of moving the world in the right direction.

Tom Morris

Chairman of the Morris Institute for Human Values, and Author of twenty books including True Success, The Art of Achievement, and If Harry Potter Ran General Electric, Wilmington, North Carolina
"One of the top coaches of leaders in our time, Donna Karlin has assembled an impressive array of high impact leaders in this book to talk about the distinctively human and deeply personal side of leadership. The conversations that result are insightful and powerfully inspirational, and illustrate how passionate people can inspire others to join them in doing great things."

Richard S Hartmann

Coach, Beecher, Illinois
“A deep and moving look at human-based leadership through listening to the stories of truly inspiring leaders who share their stories with authenticity, generosity and passion.”

Ridgely Goldsborough

Author of The Great Ones, Lat. America / Pensacola, Florida
"As an avid reader of books on leadership, business, innovative thinking and proven methods — in essence, anything that sharpens the mental sword — I believe that much like the disciple with a master samurai in ancient Japan, nothing can teach us more and help us get there more quickly than those who have successfully walked the path.

Donna's conversations with leaders take us on a journey of introspection and self-reflection"am I living that" and "could I do more of this" came flooding into my mind as I soaked in the shared experiences. I forced myself to stop reading and ponder the words, even at a time when I wanted to charge forward for "one more great idea.

I was once again reminded that we are one amazing global community with so much to learn from each other and on a personal note as an author, it made me want to raise my game one more level. Thanks, Donna, for your fabulous work..." 

Tuuli Sauren

Founder and Director INSPIRIT International Communications, Brussels, Belgium
"In reading Leaders: Their Stories, Their Words I feel there is hope for the world to become a better place for the generations to come. Human based leadership is being intuitive with the people around you; being your true self. These conversations are evidence that it's not about the background we come from which makes us what we are today, but what we make of and let ourselves become. When I read the book my wish was for the conversations to continue. The more people who read this, the bigger chance more people will act in a better way." 

David Drake

Founder of the Center for Narrative Coaching, Sydney, Australia
"Donna is a source of inspiration! I particularly appreciated her advocacy for human-based ways of working to complement the power-based approaches that are so prevalent in our organizations and institutions. Her style warms my heart as someone committed to the latent power in our clients’ stories."


Rebecca Carrel

Carrel & Partner , Leadership Coaching - Crisis Management Training - Research, Bern, Switzerland
"Each chapter deserves an attentive reading to soak up the wisdom, the vision, and the pure story which is offered. Moving quickly from one to the next had an effect similar to that of meeting people at a cocktail party where I’m thinking, “Well, here’s a person with something to say,” just when the next introduction sweeps away my attention. The nice difference here is, Donna’s party has only fascinating people. In my opinion, one of the most valuable lessons of this book is the message: Uncover your passion, find work that expresses that passion, and do it with people and for people. The enthusiasm of these leaders for what they do is palpable and contagious!”

Michael Luongo

Award winning writer, editor and photographer New York, NY
"Donna has brought a group of leaders to the table to tell their stories in an informal, inspiring manner. Whether you're a coach yourself, a business leader, or someone in any field, the journeys these men and women took can offer guidance for your own career path, no matter what stage of your career you're in. The stories help identify specific situations which were turning points or epiphanies, and who were those in their lives that impacted their growth, and how their leadership styles, in spite of the differences, helped to inspire others. This is a fantastic read for anyone in business for him or herself, managers in companies small and large, and for anyone looking for inspirational business leadership guidance."

Alejandra Solano

Strategic Talent Director, Deloitte, Mexico
"This book provides a safe, unstructured, intimate place of reflection for a leader… Not answers to find knowledge, but rather questions to find wisdom within.”

Rey Carr

Peer Resources, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
"Leaders: Their Stories, Their Words—Conversations with Human-Based Leaders™ clearly demonstrates how ordinary people can do extraordinary things. Few have the skill that Donna has to elicit from her dialogue partners the depth of personal insight, the stories of accomplishment, and the experienced-based principles of success. The leaders in conversation with Donna share their motivation, influences, and unique histories in ways that reveal their compassion, caring, diversity, and engagement with people around the world.”

Gilly Weinstein, MSc, CPPC, PCC

Executive Coach & Connector, Brussels, Belgium
"So much has been written about Leadership over the past four decades, it’s not even funny, with most books bleeding like tired buzz words one into another. Here at last is a book in an entirely different league. Leaders: Their Stories, Their Words, hones in on the most important and least well-articulated ingredients of leadership by diving into the hearts and souls of those who have had, and continue to have, an impact on this world. Not necessarily through their brilliance, great ideas or skills but by virtue of their humanity—being present to themselves and others, listening, respecting, appreciating differences, tackling tough conversations, seeing the brilliance in others,

Donna dares to go well beyond the How of leadership and gets squarely underneath the What. Through her crisp, authentic and meaty questions Donna generously invites her readers to see (and feel!) what makes a true leader. Forget leadership principles, how-to’s or theories, the true mettle of a leader is far more subtle than that. By fearlessly naming what she sees and asking the Big Questions, Donna distills and makes accessible the myriad subtleties that comprise human leadership. Conversations with Donna (and these are absolutely not your garden variety interviews) will pull the reader in to the point of feeling that he or she is actually sitting right there, quasi-fireside, alongside these incredible human beings. I challenge anyone to walk away from this book feeling anything less than humbled, moved, inspired and called forth. Getting to know the heart, gut and souls of these leaders is exactly the kind of thing that will propel one to reach further, take longer strides and practice one’s humanity in a far deeper way. The world could use a lot more of that."

Steve Harper

Speaker/Author: The Ripple Effect: Maximizing the Power of Relationships for Your Life and Business, Austin, Texas
"Leaders: Their Stories, Their Words is a must read for any leader looking for the secret to success. Donna Karlin, through her amazing interview style, brings her readers into an intimate conversation with some of the world's greatest minds. Through these amazing interactions, countless pearls of wisdom are revealed and the motivation of what is possible will capture the reader's imagination in a way no other traditional business book quite does. Personally, I am already anticipating the sequel."

Jay Patel

Organization Development and Talent, NBN Co, Australia
"A timely book for a new generation of leaders who want their people to step up and succeed.

Through a collection of insightful conversations, the spirit of individual leadership is explored in a span of subjects ranging from global business through to genetics, intelligence and security.

Each chapter explores the essential dimensions of leadership. Like a great investigator, Donna Karlin uses the principles of ‘Shadow Coaching’ to insightfully and forensically map the attributes of leadership. The summary reflections connect the aspects of wisdom, dignity and respect.

This book leaves the reader with a unique experience – perhaps what it would be like to listen to Steve Jobs and Nelson Mandela in conversation on the true art of leadership. It is a catalyst to challenge and inspire others to exceed their own limits and to become something more. It takes to reader to the heart of leadership – People and the power of ‘humanness’ and connections.

Read it and see your people soar..." 

M. Brian Keller

Bilingual Adjudicator and Mediator - Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
"When I started reading this book, I had no idea what human-based approach to leadership is. Having read the book, not only do I now have an understanding of it but I also appreciate the positive role it can play not only in business but in almost all human interaction. This is the rare book that educates, enlightens and entertains at the same time. Donna has clearly selected her interviewees with care. Each of the interviewees brings a different background, and many offer different approaches, to human-based leadership but together they powerfully demonstrate how important and how successful that type of leadership is. Donna has the gift of listening to what people tell her and is able to extract what is relevant from what she is being told. Her follow-up questions are insightful and serve to bring out the best each interviewee has to offer. Once you start reading this book, you will have a difficult time putting it down."

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