Book Review: Walk the Walk

Topics: Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy, Walking Pages: 3 (903 words) Published: March 14, 2011
Book Review
by Alan Deutschman
Leadership is about inspecting not expecting or to put it another way leaders should practice what they preach. However, few leaders seem to actually do it. In Walk the Walk, Mr. Deutschman, a consultant and ¬former ¬Fortune magazine writer, argues that ¬leaders are most effective when they rely on the power of their ¬example. People who become leaders have many options. One way a leader can lead is by becoming a ruler. Machiavellian leaders who rule tell people what to do, and intimidate, coerce or bully them into compliance. Other leaders ask their followers to help them sustain business as usual, often with declining results. Another type of leader simply holds his or her position until somebody else comes along to mop up the mess. Finally, there is the true leader. This leader is the powerful person who does exactly what he or she says he or she will do. A leader who doesn’t just talk the talk but walks the walk is somebody who stands up to opposing forces by following the values and belief systems that he or she described while rising to the top position in the organization. In the beginning of Walk the Walk, Deutschman describes an perfect example of a leader who embodies the quality that he illuminates throughout his book: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Not only did King preach a nonviolent approach as the best way to end the inequality suffered by African-Americans in the United States, but when called to task, he lived the beliefs that he spoke about in his speeches. Deutschman describes a day in September 1962 when King was speaking before a crowd in Birmingham, Alabama. While talking to about 300 black civil rights leaders at the annual national gathering of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a 24-year-old neo-Nazi stepped up to the podium and punched King in the face. He then proceeded to pummel the civil rights leader with his fists. Instead of defending himself and returning the man’s blows, King dropped his...
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