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The Humanitarian Leader in Each of Us


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Table of Contents

Introduction - The Moment: The Same Look I Saw in the Mirror PART ONE: MAKING A CONNECTION Chapter I Leveraging Life's Experiences: A Generation of Orphans Chapter II A Sense of Fairness: Bags of Magic PART TWO: MAKING A COMMITMENT Chapter III Believe We Can Matter: It's a Gift That I Have, and I Use It Chapter IV Open to an Opportunity: Busy in Baghdad PART THREE: MAKING A DIFFERENCE Chapter V Taking the First Small Step: A Seventh Grade Speech Chapter VI Perseverance: These Are the Cards That Were Dealt Me Chapter VII Leading the Way: Shame Hung Over the Sanctuary Chapter VIII A Positive Force: The Accumulation of Good Chapter IX A Larger Life: No Gravestone Has a Job Title or Salary on It Chapter X Getting Started: A Spectrum of Involvement Epilogue Beyond Our Research

About the Author

Frank LaFasto, Ph.D., recently retired as Senior Vice President of Organization Effectiveness after 30 years with Cardinal Health, Inc., a multinational health care company. An internationally recognized author and lecturer on management issues, Frank has more than 35 years' experience helping organizations build and sustain successful teams. Frank has written two best-sellers on the subject: Teamwork and How Teams Work Best, co-authored by Carl Larson. He currently consults with private and public sector organizations to help them build effective teams, lead critical change initiatives, and develop executive talent. Frank resides in Lake Forest, Illinois. Carl Larson, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of Human Communication and past dean of Social Sciences at the University of Denver. His most recent work includes When Teams Work Best (Sage 2001), Successful Communication and Negotiation, and Collaborative Leadership: How Citizens and Civic Leaders Can Make a Difference. Larson consults in both the public and private sector. He received the Driscoll Master Educator Award given by the students at the University of Denver to the university's outstanding professor.


A powerful, moving, and substantive book that puts leadership in the hands of everyday people. LaFasto and Larson's work is grounded in theory yet crystal clear in describing the core dimensions of humanitarian leadership. This book expands the domain of leadership and encourages all of us to make life better in some way for others. -- Peter G. Northouse
As someone who comes from a long line of public servants, I found the message of service to others in this insightful and original book inspiring and hopeful. The problems we face in our global community are complex and often seemingly intractable, but LaFasto and Larson make a convincing case that individual citizens, of any age and from any walk of life, can have a positive and often lasting impact. So many of us want to help, but don't know where to begin. The deeply moving stories of the remarkable people profiled in this book help point the way. -- United States Senator Mark Udall

"This short book gives me hope that giants continue to walk the earth, lending a hand to those in need of extraordinary help." -- Dr. Matthew Goldstein, Chancellor, City University of New York
"It is gratifying to see so many of the leaders in this book engaged in the vital work of improving the health of men, women, and children around the globe. The commitment and compassion of these humanitarians make me believe in a future in which people everywhere enjoy long, productive lives." -- Dr. Brian Williams, former Epidemiologist, World Health Organization; Fellow of the South African Centre for Epidemiology and Analysis

This book should be required reading for every student in every University in the country. President John F. Kennedy told us "There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction." Now La Fasto and Larson have made sense of this position and made it easy for each of us to understand the power we have within us to make a real difference in the real world.

-- Harry Leibowitz

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