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Lead Yourself First


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"Lead Yourself First makes a compelling argument for the integral relationship between solitude and leadership." --The Wall Street Journal

About the Author

Raymond M. Kethledge is a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and was a candidate for the Supreme Court in 2018. He formerly served as a law clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy and founded his own law firm. He lives near Ann Arbor, Michigan. Michael S. Erwin is a graduate of West Point and served three tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is now the CEO of the Character & Leadership Center, the president of the Positivity Project, and the founder and chairman of Team Red, White & Blue. He lives in North Carolina.


I've never met an effective leader who doesn't see solitude as crucial to their work in the world. Through a series of fascinating case studies, Ray Kethledge and Mike Erwin make a powerful case--and an urgent plea--for placing quiet time at the beating heart of every leader's daily schedule. -- Susan Cain, author of QUIET
A thoughtful new book Lead Yourself First . . . tells the stories of many inspiring leaders throughout history who relied on solitude at crucial moments in their lives, from Winston Churchill and Pope John Paul II to Martin Luther King Jr. and Aung San Suu Kyi . . . But as the authors point out, you don't have to lead armies, corporations, or artistic movements to benefit from solitude. * The Washington Post *
Lead Yourself First makes a compelling argument for the integral relationship between solitude and leadership. -- Andrew Stark * Wall Street Journal *
This thoughtful self-improvement guide from Kethledge, a Sixth Circuit judge, and Erwin, founder of the nonprofit Positivity Project, is a must-read for leaders who take their leadership roles seriously. It is a book to digest slowly, a powerful narrative . . . . This book is a rare gem, offering an optimistic message. * Publishers Weekly *
Solitude is the birthplace of clarity and perspective. As a leader, I've experienced this truth and as a researcher I've seen the power that solitude brings to leaders. The tough part is that it takes real courage and discipline to make solitude a practice. In this important book, Ray Kethledge and Mike Erwin show us how it's done and the profound difference it can make in our organizations. -- Brene Brown, Ph.D. Author of DARING GREATLY and RISING STRONG
In Lead Yourself First, Ray Kethledge and Mike Erwin explain why it is so important for leaders to get away from the technology and to reassess and reorganize their own thoughts, in order to make the right decisions. This book offers great insights and comes at a critical time for business leaders. Certainly a must-read for any leader who feels the crush of information overload. -- General Stanley McChrystal (retired), former Commander of Joint Special Operations Command
Lead Yourself First is a beautiful, empowering, and engaging book. In my heart, I've always known the importance of solitude. Amid the world's constant noise, I've trained myself to look in the mirror and create silence and space when things are at their brink. This inspiring book reminds us that everything we need is already inside of us. -- Kerri Walsh Jennings 4-time Olympic medalist in Beach Volleyball

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