Book Review: Toy Box Leadership

I was recently asked by co-author Michael Waddell to review Toy Box Leadership.
This new book is definitely worth picking up and I will explain why.
(This post contains no affiliate links and I received no compensation
of any kind except for a free review copy of the book.)

The premise of the book by Waddell and Ron Hunter, Jr., is that
childhood toys taught or exemplified many of the skills necessary to
lead well. Some examples are direct correlations (a rocking horse
describing lots of work without actually achieving anything) and others
are more figurative (LEGOs describing relationships that start with

Seriously? Toys And Leadership?

The connection between childhood toys and leadership lesson
fluctuates from poignant to cheesy to fondly familiar. But the
important thing to remember is that this is not the point. The connection between the toy and the particular lesson is secondary to your ability to absorb and recall the idea.

The toys simply provide an easily recognized and easily remembered
framework of leadership strategy. The metaphors are certainly stronger
than, say, a purple cow or square apple.

Let’s Just Say It

We need to own up to a basic fact: every book on leadership will
contain some similar fundamental truths. Communicating goals to your
employees, for instance, will universally be a positive thing while
emotional rages around the office will be regarded as uncouth. Stating
this universality is not a knock on this or any other business book –
it simply is.

If we admit to some similarity, then one of the differentiators
becomes the book’s ability to be memorable and to find a place in the
reader’s life. This is ultimately what makes Toy Box Leadership successful.
Toys fit with the intended audience (Lite-Brites rather than Xbox 360s)
and flow smoothly into the each particular subject on leadership.

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