Robert S. Murray’s new book It’s Already Inside: Nurturing Your Innate Business Leadership for Life Success is more than a “How To” business book or even one that claims to reveal the secrets of business leadership. I’ve read a lot of business and self-help books over the years, and often, they tend to say the same thing. The key is how the message comes across in these books — do they inspire the reader or not? It’s Already Inside stands apart from the crowd —dare I say it’s a leader among business books — precisely because the message is clearer than in many, the examples are uniquely all Murray’s own, and he does not rely on quoting from all the other experts or repeating often told tales of previous entrepreneurs. Instead, Murray tells his own story and the stories of people he has known well who have become respected leaders. Each story is told with purpose and insight.
Murray sometimes draws his inspiration and message from what at first may seem like unlikely sources, but never does he lose his purpose. Whether it’s climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or dealing with a teenager, each situation that Murray describes offers both inspiration and practical and applicable lessons of leadership.
The majority of this book’s 36 chapters are relatively short and can be read in five or ten minutes. I recommend reading just a chapter a day and then spending the rest of the day thinking about what Murray says and how to apply his advice to your own situation. Murray wants the reader to give thought to the message, and he provides a challenge or questions for further thought at the end of each chapter. While any chapter could be read by itself and provide something of value, the chapters gradually build upon one another until the reader is inspired to use his or her innate skills to become a better leader.
What I liked best about Murray’s message was how he defines a leader — not with one of those dictionary definitions, but by using comparisons and contrasts with various business and leadership scenarios, such as how a leader is different from a manager, and how a leader can lead by inspiring, rather than threatening or micro-managing his team. Murray provides numerous stories of leaders in action, most in business, but not all. Murray’s friend from his school days, Terry Fox, Canada’s famed one-legged runner, is one model of leadership; Murray tells part of Terry’s story most may not know — how Terry’s journey began with a desire just to be on the basketball team. Other tales of leadership — including insight into NASA — sometimes focus on what not to do, when not to overreact, and how to handle corporate graffiti. Many of these stories come from surprising places, such as a run-in with rock star Billy Idol or misjudging people who later surprise you.