Fables for Leaders

Fables for Leaders


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Fables for Leaders by John Lubans, Beatrice Coron

From the author’s introduction: “Fables for Leaders includes 100+ short stories of talking animals and trees…. and my ruminations on each. I emphasize the philosophical and ethical aspects in these stories – from across the centuries - to my own on-the-job experiences, - successes and failures - and relate them to our contemporary behavior and decision-making.
We relate to stories, we remember stories, and these fable stories may help in thinking through and solving, in untraditional ways, problems on the job.”
Whimsical illustrations by international artist and paper cutter, Béatrice Coron, capture the charm of this ancient literature and add to its comprehension and enjoyment.
Each entry -in 7 chapters- sets forth the original fable followed by Lubans’ commentary.
And, many fable feature a “My Thoughts” space to explore how this fable relates to the reader.
The seven chapter heads:
“Us and them”
“Office politics”
“The Organization”
“Budgeting and strategic planning”
“The effective follower”
“The effective leader”.
Topical sub-heads include:
“Perspective makes a difference”
“Where is the cooperation?”
“Hiring decisions”
“Performance appraisal”
“Kindness, loyalty and respect for the boss…or not”
“Have you heard of the Tall Poppy?”
“Gossip and envy”
“Are you leading or am I following?”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780692909553
Publisher: BookBaby
Publication date: 09/30/2017
Pages: 220
Sales rank: 1,086,189
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

John Lubans is a retired higher education administrator with a specialy in the management of large research libraries. A Fulbright Scholar twice over, he is a Visiting Professor at the University of Latvia where he teaches annually (since 2011) his class on “The Democratic Workplace”.
“Fables for Leaders” follows his 2010 book, “Leading from the Middle.” (ABC-Clio). He blogs weekly at http://blog.lubans.org.

Table of Contents

Introduction vii

The Crab and the Fox ix

Chapter 1 Us and them 1

Looks can be deceiving

The Cat, the Cock and the Young Mouse 3

The Lion and the Shepherd 6

The Cat and the Birds 8

Kindness, loyalty and friendship

The Dove and the Ant 9

The Lion and the Rat 11

Canine Camaraderie 13

The Traveler and the Leaf 14

Chapter 2 Office politics 17

Looks can be deceiving, redux

The Fox and the Leopard 19

The Farmer and the Snake 20

The Hunter and the Woodman 21


The Weeping Man and the Birds 22

The Fox and the Crow 24

The Prophet 26

Kindness, loyalty and respect for the boss…or not

The Goat and the Ass 27

The Dog and the Lion 28

The Goat and the Vine 30

The Sick Kite 31

Kindness, loyalty and respect for colleagues…or not

The Plane Tree 32

The Walnut Tree 34

The Bees and the Beetles 35

The Belly and the Members 37

Misplaced Pity 39

Have you heard of the Tall Poppy?

Proud Blackberry 40

Capons Fat and Lean 41

The Athenian 42

Gossip and envy

The Horse and the Ass 44

The Pigeon and the Stone Lion 46

Envy and other deadly workplace sins

Kookaburra and Crow 48

Father and Sons 50

Chapter 3 The Organization 53

Perspective makes a difference

The Kid and the Wolf 55

The Man and the Lion 56

The Dog-Catcher and the Dog 57

Where is the cooperation?

The Travelers and the Purse 59

The Lion and the Three Bulls 61

The Blacksmiths and the Mouse 63

Who owns the bragging rights?

The Mule 64

The Wolf and His Shadow 65

The Snake and the Egg 66

Hiring decisions

The Raindrop and the Snowflake 68

The Horse and the Goats 70

The Sow and the Wolf 72

Performance appraisal

Jupiter and the Two Sacks 74

The Musicians 75

The Grasshopper and the Owl 78

A Hedge-hog and a Snake 80


The Lion, the Bear, and the Fox 82

The Two Roosters 84

The Hare and the Hound 86

Strength in adversity and number

The Monkeys and Their Mother 87

The Bear in the Tree 88

The Crow and Pitcher 90

The Three Villages 92


The Beech Tree in Winter 96

Chapter 4 Problems 99

What is the problem?

The Fisherman and His Nets 101

The Dogs and the Crocodiles 102

The Cat and the Fox 104

Jumping to conclusions

Wax and Brick 106

The Man and the Satyr 108

The Crow and the Serpent 109

Solutions: Is there a better way?

The Wasp and the Snake 110

The Ass and His Driver 112

The Two Bulls and the Frog 113

Change: It happens!

Rocks & Change 115

The Rope and the Cleat 116

The Wolf and the Housedog 118

The Fallen Tree 120


The Frogs and the Well 122

Chapter 5 Budgeting and strategic planning 125

Good times and bad

The Grasshopper Saves for a Rainy Day! 127

Dog and the Stick 129

Exceeding your resources

The Flying Beetle 130

The Cowardly Lion 132

When more is less

The Frogs Asking for a King 133

The Trees and the Axe 135

The Mice and The Oak 137

Luck or not?

The Lark and the Farmer 138

The Woman and Her Hen 140

Chapter 6 The effective follower 143

Are you leading or am I following?

The Head and the Tail of the Serpent 145

The Jay in the Feathers of the Peacock 148

The Two Monks 150


Heracles and the Wagoner 152

The Fox Gets Left Behind 154

The Swan, the Pike and the Crab 156

Group think

The Sun and the Frogs 158

The Ass, the Cock and the Lion 160

Pushing limits

How the Rat Got Its Tail 162

The Tortoise and the Eagle 163

Cat and Mouse 165

The Ahead-Of-His Time Carpenter Bee 166

Happiness: Will I know it when I see it?

The Ass's Wish 168

The Bee in Love 170

Aesop and The Bow 172

Chapter 7 The effective leader 175

Advice giving and getting

The Fawn and His Mother 177

Neptune and the Curlew 178

The Hawk, the Kite, and the Pigeons 179

Less blame, more action

The Boy Bathing 181

Jupiter, Neptune, Minerva, and Momus 182

The Jar Who Went to Court 184

The Shipwrecked Man 185

More humor, please

An Eele and a Snake 187

The Dog and the Reeds 188

Remeber your roots

The Kudzu Vine and the Oak Tree 190

Sources 193

Fabulists 197

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Fables for Leaders 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Angie Gallion Lovell for Readers' Favorite By nature I am a fan of fables, fairytales, and legends so when I came across John Lubans' Fables for Leaders, there was no way I could pass it by. The book is segmented into chapters which are then subdivided further. For example, in the chapter titled The Effective Follower, one of the sections is titled “Are You Leading or Am I Following?” and that subsection has three fables pertinent to that concept. The individual fables are further segmented by the retelling of the fable, followed by the accepted interpretation with an analysis of how the fable applies to modern business, and closes often with a tagline gleaned by the author. The organization of Fables for Leaders was creative and thoughtful. Beyond the organization, I loved the texture of the work. The illustrator is Beatrice Coron and her paper cut artwork is done black on white and it is intricately simple and elegant. The font used is calligraphic, which added to the “timeworn” feel. The whole experience of reading the fables made me want a roaring fire and a cozy nook. While Fables for Leaders is beautifully rendered and aesthetically pleasing, the real treasure is found in the hints of wisdom John Lubans reminds us of. We’ve all heard the tale of The Grasshopper and The Ant, certainly, where one saves for the winter and is prepared when bad weather comes, and the other who does not save for winter finds himself in dire straits because of it. What Lubans does, masterfully, is take the cliche and make it relevant for today, and readily applicable for persons in leadership roles. There is great wisdom within these pages and the amazing thing is that we all know it, but Lubans provides us with the next step to take this intrinsic knowledge, this long forgotten wisdom, and retool it for our current lives. He opens the door to us and explains how the fables we learned at our mother’s knee were training us to live a most productive life. I want John Lubans' book, Fables for Leaders, for my own personal collection, and I want it printed on parchment.