Being neither Catholic nor an executive of any level, this might seem an odd book for me to pick up, but I am glad that I had the simple pleasure and gentle learning experience this book afforded me.
As a young Hindi woman, during a time of aimless confusion in her life, Ruma Bose spent an extended period of time volunteering with Mother Teresa and her Sisters of Charity in India. Ruma has subsequently gone on to become a successful business woman. A dinner party conversation during which she sketched out the leadership style of Mother Teresa was the genesis of this book, on which Ms. Bose asked her mentor, Lou Faust to collaborate.
The book’s structure is very simple. It is divided into eight chapters, each of which correlate with one of eight principles found by Ruma Bose to define the leadership philosophy of Mother Teresa. These principles are:
Dream it Simple, Say it Strong
Dealing with the Devil to get to the Angels
Wait! Then pick your moment
Discover the joy of discipline
Communicate in a language people understand
Pay attention to the janitor
Use the power of silence
At the beginning of each chapter Ruma recounts an anecdote from her time with the gentle woman who began and grew one of the world’s largest charity organizations. These brief snippets let the reader see various sides of Mother Teresa from a CEO standpoint. Lou Faust and Ruma then draw parallels to real world business situations.
The book left me with mixed feelings. It is useful in that I do not think you need to be a CEO to apply these principles to your life, and this broadens the scope of those for whom this will be an enjoyable read. However, the book, at a scant 144 pages, does not provide any concrete suggestions for implementation, neither on a personal nor a business level. For me, the book was primarily an informative look at Mother Teresa through an alternative lens. If you are fascinated by this special woman the book is well worth your time.