The End of an Era… And Perhaps the Beginning of a New One
[SUMMARY: After 3 decades, my first book, “The Power of One: Authentic Leadership in Turbulent Times” is going out of print. It’s had quite a run! GET THE COLLECTORS EDITION. The last 100 copies are going on sale… click here to buy.]
[Click here to read “Tale of Two Gifts“]
It had to happen at some time…
I just got a notice from New Society Publishers that they are taking my first book, “The Power of One: Authentic Leadership in Turbulent Times” out of print.
After 30 years.
In a world where a book’s print run may last only 30 months, the idea of a book being in continuous print for 30 years is phenomenal, if I do say so myself. I believe the long run is a testament to the ideas contained in the book, as well as a show of faith by the publishers in the power of those ideas.
When I got the word, I pulled a copy off of the shelf and started reading it. A lot of my examples are quite “dated”, including references to “President Bush” and Saddam Hussein. (While my written comments were about the first Bush presidency, they also applied to the second! And both Gulf Wars!) Some of the ideas need examples more pertinent to the world we live in today.
But… the book also contains this:
The time has come for a new understanding of power and leadership. The old ways simply don’t work anymore. The old explanations don’t explain anything….
Our current system is no longer adequate for our needs. Our society has gotten far too complex for any one person to understand. We act, having no idea WHY we act.
We drift, bickering, fighting, arguing about who is to blame for the present morass. All of us must share the blame…
We fail, because deep down inside, we don’t feel the problem even has a solution. We propose alternatives as a gesture, out of guilt, with the deep belief that nothing will change for our efforts.
We continue to place implicit faith and trust in institutions which constantly fail us. We do this, because the alternative is to admit our own failures.
This simply must stop.
The times call for a revolution. A revolution in consciousness. That is the purpose of this book.
From the Introduction
The above is as true today as it was when I wrote it 30 years ago. The need for authentic leadership is as great as ever. The stakes are higher than ever. The pull the elevate our consciousness is a profound as ever…
A Tale of Two Gifts
A Gift to the “Velvet Revolution”… and a Gift Back
“The Power of One” played a small but important role in global politics. In early 1990, I visited Czechoslovakia, to witness their bloodless, nonviolent and positive transformation of governance: The Velvet Revolution.
While in Prague, I asked to speak to the revolution’s leader, the former dissident, prisoner and now President, Vaclav Havel. Havel agreed to meet with me, in part because I was one of the few Westerners seriously writing about his ideas, prior to the revolution. I sat for 3 hours outside his office door, while a crisis raged inside. When the possibility of meeting finally collapsed, I left him a handwritten note and a copy of “Power of One”. (For more information on my meetings with Havel, please click here: Vaclav Havel
He read it. So did everyone else in Prague Castle. (I was told that his staff read the book not only because I referenced Havel and the Velvet Revolution, but also in order to practice their English, finding that the writing style conveyed complex concepts in an easy to read format.)
Fast forward 6 years, when Havel invited me to be one of only 40 delegates to “Forum 2000”, a major political event in Europe. People were lobbying hard to get a seat at that table. (Hillary Clinton and Henry Kissinger representing the US. The Chief Rabbi of Israel and the Grand Mufti of Cairo. Prime Ministers, Nobel Laureates… and me.). Havel invited me precisely because the prior year’s Forum 2000 conversation was so… boring. I did my best to introduce some new concepts to a bunch of folks making safe stump speeches. (I guess I did okay. He invited me back the following year, to co-facilitate a global gathering of youth leaders.)
And, that gift of one little book led to Havel providing the Introduction to my next book, “Creating a World That Works for All”.
A Gift in East Africa
A few decades ago, I was working as a consultant to the United Nations, facilitating community participation work in East Africa. At the end of a week-long workshop, I gave a copy of “Power of One” to one of the participants, whom I referred to as my “Wise Man”. When he accepted it, I said, “In payment for this, you have to write to me and tell me what you think about it.” He agreed.
However, after a couple of months had passed, I gave up on the idea of hearing from him. A year and a half after my gift, I received an email from him. “Sorry for the delay,” he said. “After I read your book, I thought it important that everyone in my village read it also. That took some time.” He then passed on the village’s consensus of the book. (They loved it!)
I really felt honored that an entire village in East Africa would take the time and energy to read and digest the book. (Those who could not read in English had others read and translate for them. How many of us would read and interpret a book for a neighbor who could not read?)
A New Edition?
“The Power of One: Authentic Leadership in Turbulent Times” has had quite a run. The “first edition” consisted of 50 copies, run off at Kinko’s (remember that?), with a construction paper cover and a plastic clip binder, because I couldn’t afford regular binding. With the money I made from the initial launch, I made more copies. Eventually, the book was picked up by New Society Publishers, where it has resided all of these years.
As I thumbed through the book yesterday, I saw lots of still relevant ideas and concepts, wrapped in some examples that I’m sure sound like history lessons to young people today. And, through the wisdom of hindsight, I can see both our concepts and our challenges with much greater clarity than before. I have enough gray hair and enough life experiences to see that our need for “authentic leadership” is even more acute today than 30 years ago.
So… Do I re-write a book that I think can safely be called a “classic”? Or, let this one go out of print, and write a different book on authenticity in leadership? Or… Let this whole issue go? We’ll see what happens over the next few days and weeks. (And, as usual, I will appreciate your comments below.)
Last Chance! Making a “Limited Edition”…
As New Society Publishers prepares to take the book out of print, they have stopped taking orders for the book. That means that the 100 copies that I have are the last of their kind. Whether it is reborn as a new edition or as a totally new book, this form represents THE LAST OF “POWER OF ONE” IN ITS CURRENT FORM. The end of the era.
Now is your time to buy a piece of history. Right now, my plan is to sell these 100 books as a “limited edition” numbered offering. This will include:
- a personalized autograph
- a series number
- the inclusion of these “end of copy” notes.
- a small surprise
The limited edition will cost $24, including shipping & handling.
If you are interested in purchasing a piece of our transformative history, please click the “Buy Now” button below, where you will be taken to PayPal to complete the transaction.
Also: Would you like to purchase my other books? I’ve got a new “shopping cart”, where you can avoid Amazon (if you wish) and purchase from Commonway direct! To buy any or all of the titles, click below. (To buy multiple copies and/or different titles, click the “continue shopping” button when in PayPal.):
PS: If you want “Power of One” at the regular price, there are still a few books available via Amazon and other online sellers.