Absolute Impact: The Drive for Personal Leadership

Absolute Impact: The Drive for Personal Leadership

5.0 1
by Matthew May
Absolute Impact is a leadership fable which explores the deeper issues involved in achieving significant positive impact in work and life. Through an entertaining dramatic dialogue, four unique characters-each with a distinctly different perspective-debate the central challenges to self-leadership. Complete with discovery exercises and evaluative tools,


Absolute Impact is a leadership fable which explores the deeper issues involved in achieving significant positive impact in work and life. Through an entertaining dramatic dialogue, four unique characters-each with a distinctly different perspective-debate the central challenges to self-leadership. Complete with discovery exercises and evaluative tools, Absolute Impact unveils the timeless keys to accomplishing your life's greatest work.

Editorial Reviews

A time of recession is, for many, a time for reflection. Add to a poor economy the fears of disease and terrorism, plus the backlash against corporate institutions-and the Matthew Mays and Po Bronsons (What Should I Do with My Life? [BKL O 1 02]) proliferate. It is clear that consultant May has constructed his fable to help those 71 percent who'd rather be doing something else with their lives and 77 percent who can't bring their true selves to work...Certainly, the topic of personal leadership in this age of heavily scrutinized CEOs is an intriguing one, with May examining how to capitalize on talents and reign in ambition.
"Have I made the most of what I have to offer the world?" This is the question the reader is asked to contemplate at the beginning of Absolute Impact, a study of the fundamental meaning and purpose of life and work. The book stresses the qualities and characteristics of good leadership, and the journey of self-examination and discovery intended to result in a clearer perception of ones� innate talents, abilities and passions. The setting is a mythical kingdom where an aging prince faces the task of preparing his young son to take his place on the throne. The prince gathers three of his most trusted advisors to help him clarify what his son must learn and what qualities he should develop to enable him to lead justly and ably. In essence, the prince wants his courtiers to help him discover how one learns to know oneself, what is the meaning of goodness and justice and how to live life with the most impact on those around you. Each contributes to the dialogue from the perspective of his own unique talent, and through a process of synthesis arrive at answers, or at least guidelines to find the answers, to these sublime questions. The author is quick to point out that the answers will ultimately be unique for each individual. May writes with an eloquence similar to the great classics of the English language. The book is well organized, easy to read and entertaining even as it asks the reader to ponder deep and difficult questions. Included as an appendix is a section called Artenza�s Tools (named for the courtier representing courage and perception) consisting of tests, diagrams and goals to help the reader gain a better understanding of personal talents, abilities and objectives in life. Also included is a bibliography containing most of the great works of human potential and philosophy as a guide to further reading. This book deserves to go beyond the self-help or motivational section of most bookstores. Absolute Impact is recommended reading for anyone wishing to lead a more satisfying, rewarding and productive life.
Publishers Weekly
According to executive consultant May, too many people today are withholding "personal excellence" from their work. "Leadership must move beyond simple effectiveness and directing the performance of others to become more about making the most of our unique abilities to positively impact the lives of those to whom we are connected in work and life," he writes. After studying "high impact individuals" for two decades, May has penned a book on charting one's own course through life in a quest to "discover, deepen, and direct that which truly drives us." The book uses an allegory about a prince and his court who meet to discuss the challenges facing the prince's heir. The four main characters represent various personality types-"a man of vision and reason," "a man of service and duty," "a man of spirit and truth," and "a man of action and artistry"-and readers may indeed recognize themselves in the portrayals. For those who take a shine to theatrical stories, May has much to offer..."
University of Michigan Business School
Matthew May's Absolute Impact provides a thought-provoking, introspective journey on leadership-and life itself. Through the parables and wisdom of a character taking his last breaths, May invites the reader to probe some of life's most fundamental questions while they still have a chance to do something about answers that may unsettle them. May's narrative style avoids the too-frequent, heavy-handed lecture trap, instead allowing readers to question themselves with personalized privacy and pace. For the willing reader, the excellent exercise tools can open the door to a better life and a better legacy. Done right, this is not a "quick read"-but an important one.
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
The Drive for Personal Leadership
Leadership consultant Matthew May has looked beyond the standard discussions and lessons about organizational leadership and discovered a deeper essence that leaders must embrace to become successful. Instead of listing a number of how-tos and bulleted points that describe the steps leaders must take to get the job done, May has taken a more philosophical approach to leadership. Instead of embracing or challenging the strategies and tactics of the modern business gurus who currently dominate the field, or even challenging their approaches, May seeks guidance from earlier sources. Who does he turn to for leadership inspiration? In Absolute Impact, May reaches back 2,500 years to the lessons of Plato to guide him to a higher level of leadership.

May has written a fable that challenges leaders to question their roles and look into themselves for answers about who they are and what they need to do to achieve their goals. By asking deep questions about the meaning of life and each person's role in shaping his or her own destiny, May's story opens up layer after layer of human nature to reveal one's true calling.

His story is based on an elderly prince who is nearing the end of his life and who wants to ensure that his son, Maximus, will be able to satisfy his own true calling to accomplish his life's greatest work. In a discussion with three of his advisers, each embodying a different human nature and style of thinking, he reveals the questions all leaders must ask and the answers that can bring them to the application of crucial leadership concepts.

A Continuum of Variation
May, through the wisdom espoused by his sagacious prince, describes the process of seeking leadership wisdom and points out that the best way to do it is to look for the differences between the leaders who are recognized for their achievements, and not their common denominators. Although every successful leader had a plan, May points out that, since their circumstances were unique to that leader's situation, more can be learned by studying the leader than the leader's process. His prince explains, "Rather, we must discern patterns in a continuum of variation, delineate the dimensions of common uniqueness, and construct our model thusly."

As the courtiers in May's fable learn from their prince, "everyone, regardless of their station or situation, is in a position to truly lead - lead themselves as well as others - in their work, and in their personal lives, and to do so with uncommon excellence."

While May's prince and his courtiers wrestle with the deeper meanings of leadership, in the same way that Plato and Socrates ponder the deeper meaning of justice and truth in Plato's Republic, May presents the lessons they reveal in brief sidebars that accompany most of the pages of Absolute Impact. These short summaries of the knowledge that transpires in the page's text serve as helpful reminders of the learning taking place within his characters. By providing these guideposts throughout his fable, May provides readers with constant reminders of the deeper meaning of the dialogue that transpires, including these three primary truths:

  • To release your personal energy through creative engagement in meaningful work, you must learn to GOVERN YOUR GIFTS!
  • To make the most positive difference in the lives of others, you must learn to SHARE YOUR STRENGTHS!
  • To create a new reality and accomplish all you envision, you must learn to ANCHOR YOUR AMBITION!

A Universal Pathway
These three principles serve as a universal pathway on which all leaders can challenge themselves, according to May's prince. To realize absolute impact, May writes, all three self-driven strategies must be well executed, and the key to success lies in how these strategies are applied.

Once May's leadership fable is complete, he offers several tools that can make the knowledge he has revealed grow and thrive in those who have taken his lessons to heart. These tools include 27 evaluative questions and activities that can be used over the course of a year to help leaders properly examine and discover their gifts, purpose and ambition.

Why We Like This Book
Absolute Impact presents a unique look at leadership and offers timeless truths about it in a thoughtful, stimulating story that embodies the search on which everyone must set out to discover his or her inner strengths. May's thorough knowledge of philosophical discourse and its ability to transmit deeper meaning makes this a fascinating read. Copyright © 2004 Soundview Executive Book Summaries

Product Details

Peloton Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.58(w) x 8.48(h) x 0.95(d)

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Absolute Impact 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
THIS IS A WONDERFUL BOOK!! It is not one of those boring analytical self help books!! Absolute Impact is written from a very interesting point of view. It has characters that you will identify with and learn from throughout the story. I learned so much...Thru Mr. May's epic you can discover your stregnth and purpose and how to achieve your own personal absolute impact. The literary, mythological and philosophical references throughout the book make it so interesting and educational. It sheds light on things you read in school but never really understood...until now. It has impacted me and this is a book you will read again and again as you go through each station in your life. This would make a wonderful Christmas present for everyone.. I haven't ever read a book like this and this one takes the gold!!