Great Leaders Live Like Drug Addicts: How to Lead Like Your Life Depends on It

Great Leaders Live Like Drug Addicts: How to Lead Like Your Life Depends on It

by Michael Brody-Waite
Great Leaders Live Like Drug Addicts: How to Lead Like Your Life Depends on It

Great Leaders Live Like Drug Addicts: How to Lead Like Your Life Depends on It

by Michael Brody-Waite


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What if you learned that to lead well, you’d need to live like a drug addict?

During treatment for drug addiction, Michael Brody-Waite learned three principles that became the difference between life and death:
  • Practice rigorous authenticity
  • Surrender the outcome
  • Do uncomfortable work

Leaving rehab, Michael entered the workplace where he was shocked to see most business leaders doing what he had been taught would kill him. He began to see striking similarities between drug addiction and what he calls “mask addiction.” Leaders everywhere were hiding their authentic selves in order to get what they wanted. They were doing things like:
  • Saying yes when they could say no
  • Hiding their weaknesses
  • Avoiding difficult conversations
  • Holding back their unique perspectives

Instead of chasing drugs, leaders were chasing professional, financial, and social success from behind a mask—to the detriment of themselves and the people around them. Thanks to his recovery, Michael’s three principles gave him an unlikely competitive advantage throughout his career, resulting in a level of success unexpected for a “drug addict.”

In Great Leaders Live Like Drug Addicts, Michael explains what drug addicts do to recover and provides a step-by-step program you can use to break free from your mask addiction to thrive in both work and life. He equips you with the tools you need to live and lead mask-free—tools to enable you to stop following others, lead yourself, and become one of the dynamic, growing, authentic leaders this world desperately needs.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781948677318
Publisher: Forefront Books
Publication date: 05/26/2020
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 109,256
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

At the age of twenty-three, Michael Brody-Waite was a full-blown drug addict. Every day he drank a fifth of vodka and a twelve-pack of beer, he smoked two packs of cigarettes and more weed than any human should, and he did whatever other drugs he could get his hands on. He had been kicked out of college, fired from his job, and evicted from his apartment. He had no money and no home, was throwing up blood, and believed he would be dead before his thirtieth birthday.

Then, on September 1, 2002, after running out of options and fearing death, he checked into rehab, entered recovery, and has been transforming himself every day since.

Michael’s TEDx Nashville YouTube video “Great Leaders Do What Drug Addicts Do” is the number one talk in the history of TEDx Nashville. It has been seen by over one million people in over twenty-five countries and provides insight into his seventeen-year journey from addiction and near homelessness to successful entrepreneurship. This talk sparked the #MaskFreeMovement and brought awareness to Michael’s Mask-Free Program, built on three principles inspired by his recovery, showing leaders how to achieve balance, reclaimenergy, and thrive in work and life.

In 2010, Michael left a Fortune 50 company at the height of the recession to cofound and lead InQuicker, a healthcare SaaS company that allowed patients to self-schedule appointments online. Under his leadership, the organization grew to 20,000 percent revenue growth in less than six years. This exceptional growth landed InQuicker a spot on the Inc. 500 list of Fastest Growing Private Companies. Additionally, the organization was named one of the “Best Places to Work” four times and recognized as Healthcare Company of the Year. In 2015, InQuicker was sold to a publicly traded company. After selling his company, Michael served for three years as the CEO of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, a 501c3 that helps over 2,000 entrepreneurs every year start or grow a business.

Michael is an acclaimed speaker, Inc. 500 entrepreneur, award-winning, three-time CEO, a leadership coach, and an author. His accomplishments include being named Most Admired CEO, named to the Top 40 Under 40, and being recognized by the Nashville Chamber of Commerce as Healthcare Entrepreneur of the Year.

Today Michael is on a mission to teach individuals, organizations, and communities how to lead themselves by living mask-free. In his personal time, he is focused on being the best husband, father, and recovering addict he can be. For more information, please visit to learn how the Mask-Free Program can help you or your organization thrive.

Read an Excerpt

Authentic, authenticity, inauthentic, masks, hiding, imposter syndrome, faking it, fake, self-confidence, lack of self-confidence, drug addiction, drugs, failure, success, recovery, rehab, overcoming obstacles, win, lose, winning, losing, weak, weaknesses, Nashville, Entrepreneur, Ted Talk

Table of Contents

Introduction 7

Chapter 1 I'm Mike. I'm A Drug Addict 13

Chapter 2 You're _____. You're a Mask Addict 27

Chapter 3 The Addict's Advantage 47

Chapter 4 The Mask-Free System 71

Chapter 5 The Mask-Free Sponsor 105

Chapter 6 The Mask-Free Society 131

Chapter 7 It Only Works If You Work It 155

Chapter 8 A Tale of Two Divorces 183

Afterword 209

Acknowledgments 212

Meet Michael Brody-Waite 216

Your Mask-Free Living Offer 218

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