You are what you read

I read a lot of books. My preference is for non fiction self help, personal development, professional business, the occasional motivational book and a good novel.

The Ubuntu Collection

Recently I discovered a beautiful book series called the Ubuntu Collection, published by Hachette with support from Archbishop Desmund Tutu. I believe this series bypasses any genre. It fits in a class of its own I will call "Leadership Legacy" writing. 

The books

Captured artfully in well designed binding, the series features a range of leaders who are (with the exception of Archbishop Tutu), no longer with us, and their inspiration words.  So not only do we get to relive the life of these inspirational leaders in the dedication forwards we have the opportunity to savour and immerse ourself in their wisdom.  What strikes me is the relevance of their words today, which for some are years past the time of their life and or significant impact on humanity.


So if you have not seen these yet here are the offerings:


  • DREAM: The words and inspiration of Martin Luther King, Jr.


  • PEACE: The words and inspiration of Mahatma Gandhi


  • BELIEVE: The words and inspiration of Desmund Tutu


  • IMAGINE: The words and inspiration of John Lennon


  • LIBERTY: The words and inspiration of John F. Kennedy


  • LOVE: The words and inspiration of Mother Teresa


  • PEACE: The words and inspiration of Mahatma Gandhi


Just scanning the list of names reminds you that these were (are) people who went (go) before us as leaders not just of organisations but of people.  There passion, dedication, courage and foresight paved (pave) the way for others to make positive changes in the world. These are true examples of leaders who were (are) willing to "go there".

Applied learning

So when you take their learning and apply it to your own world how do you do it?  Well if you are a leader of an organisation, team, community, family or even just yourself, it is about more than you.  These are leaders who set out to change the way the world worked by focusing on


  • getting their message out no matter what the cost


  • standing up for what they believed in


  • working on their passion one day at a time, gradually making inroads in the right direction


  • making sacrifices for the higher good of others when necessary; and


  • still being true to themselves.


Human just like you

And underneath all of this apparent superhuman capability, these individuals were (are) vulnerable, foible and prone to the same error of misjudgments as we all are in our lives. Only when they faced setbacks, challenges or misfortune they reinvented (reinvent) the game, moved (move) in a new direction or tried (try) again - never giving up.

Wisdom to pass on

Now I am not going to claim to be the best student of history.  However I can claim to be really good at continuous self development and learning from others who share their wisdom.  I learn so much just by taking the time to pay attention to the legacy of leadership left by these individuals.  Their lives were (are) not lived in vain. Instead their words live on and we have the opportunity to adapt them to a new era.

You are invited

So my invitation to you is to pick up one of these books (I do not get a commission!) and have a look.  Even better start to read a page a day and see how you can adapt your life and live even 10% up to the standards set by these great individuals.  It may be a life long challenge but it is certainly worth it.

And who will benefit for this effort? Well you first of all. Then anyone who comes into contact with you. Lastly we may just continue the legacy of these great individuals for future generations.

Let's go there...


BooksJenn Shallvey