cover image The Big Five for Life: Leadership’s Greatest Secret

The Big Five for Life: Leadership’s Greatest Secret

John P. Strelecky, . . St. Martin?s, $24.95 (226pp) ISBN 978-0-312-37814-1

CEO Thomas Derale is the hero of Strelecky’s inspirational, fictional tale (after The Why Café) of a terminally ill beloved leader and the business, life and leadership advice he dispenses to his dedicated disciple, Joe, who narrates. The bulk of the story consists of Joe’s conversations with Thomas in his final weeks, flashbacks to dialogue over the course of their friendship, even television interviews the “famous” CEO gives in his last days, during which he imparts his words of wisdom. Thomas’s thousands of employees are called “travelers,” progressing on a journey together, and his utopian advice includes the mandate to identify both a personal and corporate “Purpose for Existing” (PFE)—which should always be aligned to promote productivity and fulfillment. The “big five” of the book’s title are “the five things that we want to do, see, or experience in our life before we die,” which Derale Enterprises’ employees have printed on the back of their business cards. Though the potential corniness of acronyms such as PFE is offset by Thomas’s benevolence, readers with a preference for stories of imperfect CEOs running real companies might find Thomas’s advice more suited to the realm of life coaching than running a business. (Jan.)