The Executive and the Elephant by Richard L. Daft

Richard L. Daft is a professor at the Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University, where he specializes in the study and teaching of leadership. I had the privilege of meeting Dick several years ago, when he invited me to speak to one of his classes on “Culture as a Leadership Tool.”

The Executive and the Elephant by Richard L. Daft

I currently speak a couple of times a year to his classes and it is always a treat. When he told me about his new book, The Executive and the Elephant: A Leader’s Guide to Building Inner Excellence, I knew it would be perfect for my readers.

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This is a book about leading the most important person you will ever lead: yourself. I have said this for years. Now Dick has written an entire book about it. In the very first chapter, he highlights the difference between knowing and doing:

Kings, heads of government, and corporate executives have control over thousands of people and endless resources, but often do not have mastery over themselves. From a distance, larger-than-life leaders may look firmly in control of their businesses and their personal behavior. What about up close? Personal mastery is a difficult thing.

Indeed it is. According to Dick, the reason is that each of us has two selves: one is thoughtful, circumspect, and rational. He calls this the inner executive. The other self is impulsive, emotional, and habit-bound. He calls this the inner elephant. The trick is to teach the inner executive how to calm down, train, and guide the inner elephant.

This idea of the two selves in conflict is not new. It has a long tradition in Western culture. It is also mentioned in many Eastern traditions. More compelling perhaps is the fact that each of us know this to be true from our own experience. The Apostle Paul expressed it this way:

I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. (see Romans 7:18–20, The Message)

The Executive and the Elephant explores this phenomenon in depth by first teaching you how to recognize these two selves. You can’t resolve the inner conflict if you aren’t aware of it. I found the section on the ways we mislead or delude ourselves to be particularly insightful. This is the stuff that far too many leaders are afraid to confront.

The book then teaches you how to start leading yourself. It all begins by becoming more intentional with your life, your issues, and your goals. It also explains how to discover your inner resources, expand your awareness, and become more mentally focused.

Dick provides numerous practical exercises that encourage you to visualize your outcomes, write down your intentions, and set deadlines. He provides scores of real-world examples from the lives of other leaders. I especially liked his advice about calming down and—to cite Stephen Covey—putting more space between the stimulus and the response.

Christian readers may be uncomfortable with some of Dick’s suggestions. He draws heavily from the meditative traditions of Eastern mysticism. But if you can set this aside, reframe the exercises from the vantage point of your own worldview, or just discard those that make you particularly uncomfortable, you will still find a wealth of wisdom and practical advice in this book. I certainly did.

I wish I had had this book earlier in my career. Too many books about leadership start with the assumption that leadership is something you do to others. Unfortunately, they ignore the issue of self-mastery. As a result, leaders are not as effective as they could be. There is no more powerful leadership tool than a person who is living his or her own life intentionally. This book provides a guide for doing just that.

I gave away 100 autographed copies of this book to some of the readers who commented below, who told me why they wanted the book.
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  • Mike Lane


    I would like to have this book so I can learn more about my self leadership and become a better leader in any situation I may be in, especially as a leader of a nonprofit organization.

    Thank you,
    Mike Lane

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  • Simon Schmuki

    Michael, I'm Swiss and half of my life I was way to proud of even thinking about self leadership–I really do need that book.

    A couple of years ago I left my high paying banking job for a nonprofit organization. While I know that God has put me here, it has been the biggest challenge of my live o far.

    Thank you,

  • lydiajo39


    I've worked for years to get control of myself. Sheer stubbornness and determination have not been sufficient. It sounds as if this book contains the strategic information to help me in this endeavor. I need all the help I can get.

    I've Tweeted and Facebooked this blog. I promise faithfully to read the book. And I'll post short reviews to Ephemera Captured (my personal blog) as well as any distribution channel that carries the book.

    Thank you for this opportunity.
    Judith Robl

  • Danny Wahlquist

    I would love to read this book. I have enjoyed Dan Heath and Chip Heath's metaphor of the elephant, the rider and the path to accomplish change.

  • Blair Shelton

    I always enjoy your book reviews, but just to make sure I am interested, I check amazon to see the reviews. As expected, this book also has high marks for leadership initiative. My collection of leadership books is growing quite rapidly and once I complete The Orange Revolution, another great book so far, I plan to read this one.

    It has taken some time, but people (including myself) are finally starting to discover that control of others is a myth. We can influence others, but it always starts within, making changes to what WE do and how we behave towards others. You see this lesson throughout history with great leaders letting others follow, instead of being pushed.

    I thank you for sharing this book review and I will add it to my list as must-reads.

  • Mary Byers

    As a professional speaker, I get paid to teach others to lead. I'd like to learn more about how this author teaches the concept of self-mastery. If I'm lucky enough to receive a copy of this book, you'll not only touch me, but all the people in my audiences as well since I often share a "Recommended Reading List" or even read a passage or two from books I find meaningful and relevant..

  • Philip Shane

    I have read a few articles by a few successful people which state that the greatest challenge is to conquer the self. To work towards the inside and thereby changing the outside as the end result.

    The transition from the Ego to the self. I would love to read more on the topic of being able to effectively work towards developing my inner self which I am confident will help me improve my surroundings and acheive the excellence that I am capable of.

    I am also aware that reading the book alone is not sufficient, but instead applying every little aspect of a book’s teachings is what is required.

    I promise to read this book and I also hope this book will help me do what is required to cause the change.

  • caseykimbrough

    Greetings, I am an avid reader of your blog. I am blessed by it daily. This book has sparked something me, I do a lot of teaching on servant leadership as a practicing pastor and am always searching for tools to help comunicate the message of service. Yet also, helping others find balance between self care and service is always challenging. The duality of the self, at the core, is seeking to balance life. When we master ourselves me master the world. The use of the two selves, as you mention is an old theme, and resonates with the biblical model of Paul. The mention of the eastern connections also excites me; I am a committed Christian, who teaches spirituality at one of the local Universities.
    Reading this book, provides an opportunity to explore, leadership, duality of self, and eastern examples. I understand it is a business book; we are all in the business of making the world a better place. I sense this book can help me and others make the world a better place, as I work on the duality within, while seeking to help other. I will read this book, pass it on, and share the learning with many other people. Blessing,
    Casey R. Kimbough
    October 5, 2010

  • bigwalnutfly

    Sounds like a great read I have had my job description switch from a doer to a leader, so I need the encouragement. I also lead a marriage class at church and I am sure these principles will help the husbands in the room be better leaders and if they lead better at home they lead better at work. I really enjoy the blog, I read it nearly every day.

  • Michael W. Campbell

    My reason for wanting to read this book is because yesterday I accepted an invitation to be the new lead pastor of the Wichita South Seventh-day Adventist Church, and I believe God has called me to be a leader, but now I a m going to be a part of a leadership team with another pastor (who I have to still find) but before I can lead anyone else I want to understand better how to lead myself!

  • Bob


    As a Christian leader who speaks and trains to other leaders, I am always and I mean always reading the up to date books materials etc. Although I have created me own framework to teach leadership, I feel it is critical to stay current on what is being said. Everything I get my hands on I read. This book will be no different.

    Readers lead. Leaders read.

    Blessing. Thanks for the content rich blog.


  • terranovatimes


    I would like to have this book because I, as a young leader who is just starting to find his drive, want to make sure that I am as firmly rooted in myself as in my leadership abilities. I especially want to do so from an Orthodox perspective.

    Nic Hartmann

  • John Richardson

    The difference between knowing and doing. One of the greatest struggles in my life. It seems so easy, but when confronted with reality, so hard to do. I read the first chapter for free on my Kindle app. You now have me hooked, Michael.
    My elephant needs training and this manual seems like a good place to start. The readers of my blog have all complained about wild elephants running wild in their lives too!
    We need help!
    Help us tame the beasts!
    Not only will I read the book, but if it can actually teach me to train my elephant, I'll help others train their elephants too!
    So… before an elephant stampede starts, please send me a copy of this book….
    Giddy up Jumbo…

  • Rob Edwards

    As a pastor of a small congregation we are working through the process of culture change within the organization. I am constantly pulled between the executives and the elephants. I'm fascinated by what Daft says and believe it would be helpful, not only in understanding our culture shift better, but also my own reactions in it. I look forward to devouring it!

  • David

    I’ve realized in difficult ways that I can’t lead people well n get them beyond their own expectations if I don’t lead myself beyond my own expectations. Like Mandela was quoted saying in Invictus to the rugby captain, “how do you inspire your team towards greatness.” I humbly submit I can’t do that. In my church or family or other teams I’m in if I don’t do with me first. I’d appreciate the book. We got a whole city in quebec canada to spread the gospel to.

  • Brad

    Being new to leading and managing people I am having some struggles. I have read books, interviewed leaders and got a mentor but I feel as I am missing something. Something inside. I feel I am being called to step out and do more for my God, my church, my family and my work. What does that look like and where do I begin? From your review above, it begins with myself. I floundered for the first 35 years of my life and need to start living intentionally. When I read this book (I promise I will) I believe it will transform my perception of ME and how I intend to take that next leap.

  • Lindy

    I always enjoy getting to look and review new books. This one sounds quite interesting.

  • @wls1961

    I have often thought it is funny how we are supposed to lead others, but there is very little conversation about being able to lead ourselves. If we can't do that, surely we are handicapped at leading others.

  • Erin Kathleen O'Bryan

    How can anyone not want to read this book, (did you read the article above? That guy has talent!) I am constantly on the lookout for something, someone or some way to make me and my life richer, I don't mean in the money sense. If this book would help in that cause heck I might even buy it…if I had to I'm kind of cheap :)

  • Darren Scully

    Michael, I truly believe that i am not where I want to be, but I am RIGHT where God wants me to be. I am in a position to impact lives and further the kingdom. I am in no special place, but right in the middle of the battle and I am always looking for books like this to streghnthen me. I need to be a better leader. This book could be the missing link I am have been needing.

  • Carson Samson


    My small business is growing, and I'm beginning to take on more leadership. This is very, very new for me. It'd be a good idea to first learn to lead myself, and so this book would make a terrific resource. That, and I just REALLY want it! ;)


  • Kurt M.


    Thanks once again for recommending a book on leadership. Its come at a perfect time for me. During my 16 year tenure in the United States Navy, I had the pleasure of leading some great people. Some older than I and most younger. It seemed so easy back then. Most knew exactly what to do and you lead them through the mission without allot of heartache. Being away from that military lifestyle for the past 12 years, I have an opportunity to once again become a leader in our organization with a new group being formed. I'm not sure I'm totally prepared to lead a new team, all I know I've learned through my experiences in the military and its definitely different in the corporate world. So it seems Dick's book could prepare me to first get myself ready and then have the confidence to lead effectively this new group being developed in our organization. I would love the opportunity to read his book. Thanks for the recommendation.

  • Heather

    Last week, a colleague pulled me aside and gently urged me to strenthen my "empathy muscle" during my path through leadership. While some tasks are a snap to me, I'm learning that the same action may not be as easy for everyone else, and I must be patient through this. Sounds like this lesson is what Daft has named the "inner elephant." …This book comes at a good time for me.

  • Shawn Morris

    I'd love this book for several reasons: First, as a pastor I find that self leadership is essential to effective ministry. It often comes down to an inner battle of what the pastor in me knows we should do vs. what the human in me wants to do. Second, I know that as a leader there is always an elephant in the room, and sometimes it's me! Finally, I know that if I can learn to better lead myself that I will be better equipped and able to lead and equip others for ministry.

    Thanks for the opportunity,
    Shawn Morris

  • Sunil

    Hi Michael, I am also a writer who is keen to advance human endeavour by inspiring people to live their calling. The title is catchy and I hope it will have equally captivating material. I can blog and raise the visibility of the book through my own channels.

    Warm regards

    Sunil Robert

  • Bridget

    I can't wait to read this book! When I first started my consulting business I was often hired by a leader of an organization or a department to "fix" their employees. At some point in the process it would become markedly obvious that a significant part of the problem was the leader who hired me. That is when our working relationship would end! After about 3 years of this cycle I finally decided to have the conversation up front that if they wanted to hire me they would have to understand their role in the process and that they would be asked to take a difficult look at themselves and their leadership. It works! My clients are more satisfied and successful! If they are not willing to look at themselves, they are not my clients. This would be a great book to share with them. More importantly, however, it's time for me to take a closer look at me!

  • Kristi

    I'm a new seminary student who hopes to work for the government one day. Crazy, I know. (Perhaps I should add a disclaimer that I have no intention of running for public office.) Seminary will hopefully be a time that shapes & refines my character so that I may lead with integrity in a secular setting. I have some great opportunities to practice leadership right now, but lately my inner elephant has been getting the best of me. She's trampling all over my good intentions & she couldn't care less about it!! I'd love to get a copy of this book for advice on how to put her back where she belongs!

  • Curtis

    I'm coming off of a year where my inner elephant went on a bit of a rampage. He didn't really destroy much but he did wreak a fair bit of havoc. I'd like to be able to say that my inner exec was hanging on for dear life, bouncing and thrashing sporadically as his hat and shoes flew off in various directions, teeth chattering in his skull as he reached for his cell phone to call for help only to drop it, have it swatted into the air by one massive billowing gray sail of an ear, and smack him in the eye. I'd like to be able to say that but I don't believe that was the case…really I think he was driving.
    The elephant seems easy, either when he is doing work or clearing the room.
    This book sounds like a good opportunity to give the exec some training on how to train the beast.
    I'd love a copy.
    I'd read it within the week.

  • Juan

    Hi Mike – I recently read a book about Vince Lombardi the legendary coach, one of his first lesson is To Know Oneself, I think this book will help me great as when you make decisions at any leadership position you are (lead your family, lead a sales team, lead a church, etc). You come to the point of those subtle inner voices, one that is telling you to be careful, go slow, don't make changes and the other voice that says go for it, make change, charge forward! Change the worl. The fact of the matter is that you still need to make decision.
    I think this book will help me to understand then why of those subtle inner voices!
    Thank you – Juan

  • @joshuabyoung


    In reference to his masterpiece 'David', Michelangelo once said: "I saw an angel in the stone, and just chiseled 'til I set him free." I'm not sure if I'm as buff as David (was he REALLY that muscular?), but I definitely identify with an unhewn stone being chiseled into the likeness of his Maker.

    I am a few classes away from graduating seminary, and work full-time in a secular management position after five years of working in Christian higher education. Recently I've been thinking about going towards a PhD in Leadership with a focus on how the missional movement is redefining leadership in the local church. Would love to both read this book, as well as get your thoughts on where a good program would be.

    I hope all is well. Thanks for your consistent, quality services you provide to your readers.



  • @johnwaldo

    A famous parable is about the 6 blind men who each thought they knew what an elephant was "like" based on their experience- the man on the tail thought the elephant what like a rope, the one on the leg thought it was like a tree, the one on the trunk thought it was like a snake (and so on). If only they could have worked together to experience the elephant as whole….

  • @johnwaldo

    A famous parable is about the 6 blind men who each thought they knew what an elephant was "like" based on their experience- the man on the tail thought the elephant what like a rope, the one on the leg thought it was like a tree, the one on the trunk thought it was like a snake (and so on). If only they could have worked together to experience the elephant as whole….

    I would like to read this book to understand my "own elephant" better. I've recently been using Dan and Chip Heaths' book Switch to help others think about change by directing the rider, motivating the elephant, and shaping the path. I'd like to have more tools in my facilitator's "trunk" (haha) for my own elephant, as well as working with others.

    I work in faculty professional development in higher education, so a resource from a respected scholar will increase the credibility of the content.


  • N. D. Kloosterman

    Here's what I expect from this book: personal renewal and redirection, in terms of my own struggles for leadership from the inside out. A leader leads best who himself is led . . . and being led is the prerequisite to leading others. So, it all starts from the inside out. Thank you for the offer.

  • John Hansen

    I am looking forward to reading 'The Executive and the Elephant' as a continuation of the conversation Chip and Dan Heath recently initiated through 'Switch: How to change when change is hard'. The Heath brothers talked about the elephant in the organization; that was great. But as a leader of an organization I know that I am first in line when it comes to having the elephant syndrome! For this reason, I can't wait to read Richard Daft's book and gain whatever insight I can.
    As a pastor of a church, I am constantly dealing with my own 'elephantosis' and that of all those I lead. As you pointed out, the idea of struggling with two natures is a Biblical idea. Theologically, I know that ultimately, conquering 'elephantosis' is a matter of moving ever closer toward the eternal reality in which 'my elephant' has been crucified with Christ – and no longer lives. I am always eager to gain any insight I can as to how I can take further steps toward that reality – for myself, and for the sake of those I am trying to coach in this same struggle. I want to see the eternal reality of the Cross of Christ overtake my temporal experience more and more; I have a hunch that Daft's book will deepen awareness of the need for this, and provide nuanced understanding of specific ways to make headway toward that great reality – even though that may not be his intention!
    Another reason I want this book is because I love books that move beyond the philosophical observation and into the struggle for application. I am looking forward to the practical steps!

    My gratitude in advance, to you and Jossey-Bass!

    John Hansen

  • Jeffrey Verlander


    As the manager of a Christian bookstore, and many employees, I have always looked to read books that will help me with my leadership skills. I have been aware of my inner elephant, but have never read a book to learn how to tame it. I would very much like to read this book in order to better lead myself so that I can better lead others.



  • Jennifer

    I'm intrigued. I'll read it! I have just recently been thinking about areas of my life where I lack self leadership. This book could be a great starting point to working on those areas of my life!

  • haydeeang

    I always associated myself living a life like my hamster. I live for today, like there’s no tomorrow. Eat, sleep, work, play.. No plans nor goals. What does it have to do with an elephant? Will you give me a book cos I like to read & it’s my Bday on the 23rd! :)
    Anyway, I desire to lead people & impart to them so many things but I can’t do that til I rediscover my skill. I’m overwhelmed easily that I can’t even handle myself sometimes, & I just don’t know how to express like right now.
    Thank you!

  • Dyaji Charles Bala

    Hi Michael,
    Right now its difficult to resist another life transforming free book from you. I have three books that I have received from you and it has really blessed my life and the lives of those who borrowed to read from my personal Library. Will I be asking for too much if i ask for fourth? And maybe for some more that will come later? Well, I wouldn’t stop asking, because as far as it keeps transforming lives i will always ask.

  • dannyjbixby

    I'd like a copy because it seems like a great alternative viewpoint on leadership. Just as you said, leadership resources tend to deal with leading 'others' and not leading yourself.

    Yes, I plan on reading it myself…but I also intend on giving it to someone else once I'm done. And I can't guarantee that they will read it however.

  • Blane Young


    Leadership is not telling others what do.

    And all this time?

    All joking aside, I would like to read this book because I feel that the idea of self-mastery has been in the backseat in most leadership material. Thus, we have focused on doing instead of becoming.

  • Abe Paul

    I’m looking forward to reading more on this concept of leadership being first and foremost focused on your self. In this current economic crisis and more importantly ethical crisis we are seeing in corporate America, the idea of taming the inner elephant rings very true.

  • melissasalomon

    Sounds like just what I need to read. Resonated with something I heard and can't shake it……to lead others you must lead yourself first…….so basic, obvious and absolutely true…..! I will read it and I know it will impact me during this time of transition for me (in thinking….) I will talk about it in my network too……

  • Thomas Booker


    I would like to compare and contrast the introspection advocated (as referenced in your posting) to that of emotional intelligence (Daniel Goleman) and the self-discipline taught in the military. I believe this would be an excellent read and exposition on self-control & discipline.

    Thomas E. Booker

  • Gary Mintchell

    Looks like a book I'd add to my library sometime, anyway. I gather these ideas and share them with my readers at a trade publication for manufacturing leaders (Automation World) and on my blog ( Information on leadership is among the best read items on both. Further, I'm on the Leadership Development team for my church. We are discussing similar ideas as we prepare to develop new leaders (Sidney, OH First United Methodist). Oh, and yes, I'm not finished growing myself. I'm always trying to learn new things to apply to my life.

    Thanks for your thoughts. Appreciated it.

  • Dyaji Charles Bala

    Hi Michael,
    Why shouldn't I ask for another book from you when the three previous books have so had a transforming impart upon my life and the life of those who borrowed it from my personal library? Those books didn't just stop with me. I had to bless other lives too. This book, i believe, will be just its predecessors-A blessing. Not only to my live but in the lives of those that will visit my personal library.

  • DDF

    I now coach and mentor pastors and Christian leaders all over the country as well as several long-term cross-cultural teams in various part of the world. I repeatedly coach (talk) pastors and missionaries off the ledge, almost all of whom are mightily struggling with the person others see and hear and the other person on the inside … the one they keep taking with themselves wherever they go.

    The Executive and the Elephant by Richard Daft is just the sort of book I believe will be helpful to me and to the many pastors I coach who keep asking, "Who am I, really?" I am looking forward to reading it. I've just facebooked about this post.

  • Keith Jennings

    Michael, I promise to read the book. I also commit to reviewing it on my blog, Amazon and Goodreads.

    I have three ways I will pay this book's message forward. First, I'm building a organization to mentor young healthcare executives. Our vision is to teach them what they don't learn in business school in a Robert Townsend (remember the book: Up the Organization?) sort of way. Second, I head corporate communications for the parent organization of 12 companies. I advise each of these companies and choose the books for our company book groups. Third, I advise/coach solo pros in the growth of their organizations. No doubt, this book brings a timeless message.

    Selfishly, I need the message in this book. I live in the tension of an ongoing internal dialogue between my internal executive and elephant. (And the elephant is very stubborn.)

    Thank you for this opportunity.

  • Bob HostetLer

    I not only promise to read this book. I promise to DEVOUR it. It sounds like just the book I need, as my inner elephant tends to make a mess of his office–peanuts all over the desk, knocking over things with his trunk, and don’t get me started about the state of the executive bathroom!

    I’ll also rewet this, of course. My Twitter user name is bobhoss.

  • Keng-Sheng Chew


    I would like to have a copy. The immediate thought that came to me on leading myself is this: 'me' is the most person to lead. And I am really struggling with that at times. Hope that I will be able to draw some insights from this book. Thanking you in advance.

    • Keng-Sheng Chew

      Sorry, typo: 'me' is the most difficult person to lead.

  • BG Allen

    I really enjoy Dr. Daft. It was his text that I learned from in my MBA program. I am now an adjunct professor of management in the MBA program of Bethel College in Mishiwaka, IN and I will be teaching from the 9th edition of his text on management beginning this month.

    One of the best texts on management I have encountered. It would be a blessing to read this book & to share it with my MBA students as we walk through his text.

  • Teresa Bakker


    I agree, to many times we focus on others because it is less painful to change others than change ourselves. I would love to have a copy to read and share.


  • jtgordon

    Thanks for addressing what's so often and so easily overlooked. This makes me think of how Peter exhorts us to "abstain from desires that wage war within the soul," which is so much easier said then done. I'm a 25 year old operations manager and much of my role is team building. One of my biggest lessons has been understanding that I can't give what I don't have. I'm looking forward to learning more about leading and being lead by the Spirit within me.

  • in2l

    This topic is near and dear to me, I am currently re-reading Leadership and Self-Deception and this seems a logical and in-depth look at the same topic. In response to your comment about "I wish I had this when I was younger" I plan to pass it along to my twenty-something children.

  • Richard Wanjema

    I would like this book so that I can get more knowledge on how to lead ME and not be lead by other stimuli. The other thing is that everyone needs help and I am not to proud to admit it. I think you pick some interesting books too.

  • Joseph Iliff

    Wow! I love the idea of leading yourself before you can lead others. Makes me think of the phrase, "Physician, heal thyself." Or the idea that rather than following your heart, you have to lead your heart, because your heart can be deceived. Scripture encourages us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, which would seem to align with the idea that is it an intentional action of doing something to ourselves, leading ourselves that will make us more Christ-like. And if example is a great teacher, than someone who is able to lead himself/herself well will naturally attract followers and gain the trust of others. Christ certainly lead not just by sermons and parables, but by actions and self-control that inspired his disciples. I have more than a few leadership books on my bookshelf, but this would appear to be a unique one.

  • Suzette Jordan

    Mr. Hyatt,

    I have been working for the last several months to move ahead in my career and have realized in the process that part of the problem of my being where I am is me. Thanks for the offer of a copy of The Executive and the Elephant. I've read several of your recommended the books on leadership , but this one sounds as though it might be more fitting for my situation. Also, I love the cover. I collect books with "elephant" in the title. I promise to read it!

    Suzette Jordan

  • Jaymie Brooks Dieterle

    Sounds like a great book, and a well-timed read for me. I am currently working through LIfe Is a Verb and The Path in an effort to develop a personal mission statement. My hope is that will lead to more intentional choices and more intentional living. I think this book would tie in well.

  • Scoti Domeij

    I would like this book because I'd like to see how to apply his principles to single moms–the CEO's of single-parent homes. Abandoned by the church, lone parents have so few places to turn for support. They often embrace sources that appeases self, capitulating to destructive behaviors leading to more pain for themselves and their children. I'd like to see how the principles from this book can help single parents to lead themselves so they can be better leaders for their children.

  • cmnancymom

    Just shared this on my Facebook profile! Boy, I can guarantee that I am the person I most need to lead :) I so often think of the Apostle Paul and the comments you quoted – why do I do certain things while telling myself why I shouldn't do them? Ugh! I am such an "elephant" some times!! I promise to read and apply this book to my life as a non-profit receptionist, grandmother, and wanna-be author in waiting :)

  • Leslie Traylor

    Michael: The creative answer? My dog Baylee needs to behave better, and I know this is mostly a matter of self-leadership!

    Seriously I need this book! I have dabbled a bit into Parker Palmer's work on re-integrating ourselves and spiritual leadership.. Just last week this concept of internal leadership (light/dark) tip-toed into my sermon (I'm a pastor) through the back door of a verse in Galatians – a little leaven leavens the entire lump. The interior work precipitated by the concepts in this book will strengthen my leadership in the church. I give my word to put the book to good use.

    And besides, I need to stop snacking on peanuts!

  • Georgiana

    In living each day, I need to be constantly aware of which "self" directs my decisions. I ask myself, "Am I listening to my inner "Executive" voice, full of rationality and intellect, or am I tuning into my inner "Elephant" voice, composed of my deepest emotions and impulsions?" Depending on which one gathers my attention at the moment influences my PERSPECTIVE and how I see and analyze the matter. Emotions play a huge role and can cause me to assume, condemn, judge and falsely accuse or have me leap into a situation impulsively when it is not God's will. Yet emotions are vital to our being and part of our soul. Without them life would be dull, dreary and unexciting. I have learned that DISCIPLINE reigns in my inner "Elephant." By recognizing and working through my feelings, I can make POSITIVE, HEALTHY, LOVING decisions that would be beneficial to both myself and others and pleasing to God.
    I definitely promise to read this as I believe that life is precious and it is important to feel our blessed "Elephant" emotions and balance them with our "Executive" rationality.

  • Laura Daniel

    After 28 years in the corporate work environment, I am getting ready to go out on my own, preparing to open our own business in the field I love. In the corporate environment, I had the good fortune to rise to the VP level, and learned so much about leadership, building trust and creating meaningful partnerships. My next step will require an even greater level of self-discipline, and I believe this book will support my always developing leadership style. Thanks for considering my request and of course, I will enjoy reading it and sharing it with my fellow leaders.

  • @dcmba

    I would LOVE to read this book because this is exactly what I am dealing with right now! I am working on making many changes, all centered on teh concept of improving myself first so that I may be able to lead and help others.

  • ThatGuyKC

    Wow! Professor Daft's book sounds amazing! I promise to read this even if I don't get a free copy!

    "Too many books about leadership start with the assumption that leadership is something you do to others." This really hits home for me as I pursue an MBA and leadership opportunities in the workplace. The idea of leading & discovering yourself is new to me, but makes so much sense. I have identified with Paul's internal conflict so many times.

    Why do I want this book? I have an insatiable appetite for books that can only be abated by continuously devouring business literature, thriller novels, blogs and spiritual/personal development. I need another fix, can you help? :)

  • Jeremy Isaacs

    I would like this book because I actually have an elephant living in me…literally! I would like to be able to communicate with him…

    In all seriousness, I'm a young leader who has been presented many opportunities to teach others about leadership, but I am so aware that personal leadership (and for me this includes a personal relationship with God) should be the highest priority in our lives. Where leaders have gotten in trouble is in becoming so good at teaching others and forgetting to address the issues within.

    I would love to have this book.

  • Stephen

    I'm a young leader, 25 years old, who's learning to balance leadership of myself, of my personal relationships, of my work, and of the legacy I want to build. Just last week I made a reference to the kind of leaders I try to model myself after, but the piece of your post where you quote Mr. Daft about leaders – "From a distance, larger-than-life leaders may look firmly in control of their businesses and their personal behavior. What about up close? Personal mastery is a difficult thing." – has me hooked. I'd greatly appreciate an autographed copy.

  • Laurinda

    The Bible refers to Christ as King of Kings. We are to rule & reign. Unfortunately so many Christians look for a position of ministry and don't realize that ruling and reigning starts with self. Ruling over self is the most difficult first step in walking in the authority of Christ.

    I would definitely read this book and write about it on my blog.

  • Baljinder Uppal

    Hi Michael,
    For years I have found the self-leadership books coming out from west to be too "linear" in their layout. What I mean by that is that, underlying framework seems to be top down (figure out where you are, where you want to be, and take steps to plug the gap). They ignore the little moments that fall in between the steps laid out in those high level "linear" steps. It is those small moments that the overall process can succeed or fail. Eastern worldview on the other hand is very spherical (there is no definite beginning to the world for instance)….it acknowledges the imperfections of human beings, but still provides tools to live with or overcome those imperfections from a moment to moment basis. I am interested in finding out how Mr Daft has leveraged those eastern principles to lay out a road map for personal leadership. I am sure that I will find a good blend of both eastern and western thought processes in this book. That is why I want this book.
    Baljinder Uppal

  • Samantha

    Let me start off by saying, that I don’t really want this book, but as we speak my “friend” the elephant has me in a choke hold with her trunk. She's telling me that if I don’t write a comment on her behalf (unfortunately she does not have small enough hands) I won’t live to see tomorrow. So on behalf of my elephant friend, but more for my security please send her a book!


  • Tim Davis

    I am a continual student of leadership. I am always looking to grow, read, and learn. I also have some areas where my inner elephant is winning the battles, causing me to be less effective in my endeavors. I want to be more intentional in addressing some of these areas…and yes, i will definitely read the book.

  • MRaithel

    Hi Michael,

    I've just recently made your blog part of my weekly digest and I've enjoyed your efforts and share posts often. I find myself in somewhat new territory professionally as of late, and am interested in what this book might offer as a boost.

    I spent the last 6 years of my career managing larger[ish] groups of 40-70 employees with success but have passed management of those groups on to new leaders to focus on starting a new branch of my organization. Doing so has left me with little more than myself to manage as I get this new branch going. I find that my self-discipline much weaker when I don't have other employees nearby to use as motivational fuel and focus. If you think this book holds some valuable insight I'd love to review it and pass it along.

    Here's my commitment to you and my creative plug:

    If chosen, I will sign the inner cover. I'll then pass it on to a trusted business partner and colleague to read with the charge of signing it as well [once completed of course] and instruction to pass it along – continuing to add signatures. Once the inner cover is filled with signatures I will leave instruction for the last signor – to mail the book to you. Though a small and simple gesture, it could surely bring more readers to you, as well as Mr. Daft – and could make a nice follow up post a year from now when the book arrives at your door packed with names of leaders you and Mr. Daft have helped.

    You down?

  • Lynn Blalock

    Retirement…I just turned 62 and have closed the door on almost three decades of leading and educating others…but retirement? Cannot find it in the Scriptures. I have found much on resting…and then being restored. I believe that's what God is doing with me now. I am resting…HE is restoring…and that starts from the inside out. Only He can reach into my heart of hearts and reset the clock, compass, or GPS(: I believe this new book would be a rich resource in helping me reset my course…starting with me.

  • Daniel

    I have been preaching full-time for four years and have made a lot of mistakes. I am about to make a big move (from Western KY) and begin a new work in Central California. I have read (in preparation for this new work) Good to Great, Developing the Leader Within You (and other Maxwell Books), in addition to Carnegie, Covey, and others and I think this will be helpful to making me a better leader as I start this work. I will read it. Thanks!

  • David Makela

    I believe the Apostle Paul speaks to the idea of "Building Inner Excellence" in 1Timothy 4:11-16 "set an example" which is a pattern or typos (type of). When we lead ourselves well, people will see our progress and we will save ourselves and others.

    As leaders, there is a constant tension between doing (the good works, producing results) and being (still in the classroom of silence and solitude). I am curious to hear what Daft has to say about "knowing and doing".

    I will add this to my reading list and would love an autographed copy.

    Thanks for living and leading well, you are a leader worthy of his calling and worth following.

  • Dick Davis

    A friend of mine sent this posting to me, with these comments: "This book’s idea so much relates to blind adults who 'want' to be independent but continue on with habits that work against this side of their mind. I am a little curious whether the exercises would be practical, useful, in getting beyond that mindset of 'it’s easier to just go along to get along'?" She makes a good point. Public attitudes about blindness are still so negative that it’s easy for blind people to give in to them and rationalize away failure. So it becomes necessary for my students to come to believe in themselves, set solid goals, and stick to them. That whole process takes a lot of internal discipline. I think this book would be useful in my work because that’s one of the things I teach.

  • Andrea Howard

    I would love to have this book to read and review for potential use in a leadership small group study for our church. Also, my husband is an executive pastor who mentors about 15 other associate pastors in our denomination. We are always looking for great books to introduce to this group of young men. They meet monthly and read together a book that builds different aspects of their leadership and then discuss it.

    Andrea Howard

  • Krista Hamilton

    While elephants are probably my favorite animal to see at the zoo, I fight their presence in my life daily. I cannot seem to trian them into submission or give them a proper eviction notice. Cute as they are behind bars, their rampant misbehavior in my personal life just isn’t working for me.

    I am eager to read Daft’s new book to mine it for insights on how to train the elephant inside of me. As a young woman just beginning to consider what career opportunities lie ahead, I am convinced this elephant either needs to take a hike or be taught how to tow the line.

  • @pjhickernell

    Each year around my birthday I think about what I would like to be true of myself the following year. I am 32, what do I want to be true of me at 33? This year I am focusing on growing in self-control. This is rooted in Peter's admonition in II Peter 1:6, "add to your knowledge self-control". I strive to be a life long learner and avid reader. No doubt, this book will help me as a Pastor act more like the executive God has called me to be and less like the elephant everyone needs to avoid. I commit to reading this book.

  • Jocelyn

    I read Bill Hybel's article "The Art of Self Leadership" for the first time several years ago. Now I read it at least once per year and I've made it required reading for all of my senior year college mentees. God used it in a mighty way to change my life and my husband's life! Daft's The Executive and the Elephant sounds like a close "friend" of Hybel's article. I'll likely read it even if I don't get it free by generous donation.

  • C.R.

    Over the past couple years I've realized that I'm can shape my enjoyment at work by challenging myself and others, taking on new responsibility and first taking responsibility for my own growth. My dad always recommended Covey's 7 Habits, but I finally saw it's worth for myself. Since then I've also explored Getting Things Done by Allen, Good to Great, and recently Rework and Linchpin (which I found through your recommendation). I can see how God has used their wisdom to change my frustrations at work into opportunities. I love to learn, so I'd love to read this book by Daft. Thanks for offering this book to your readers!

  • Mike L.

    I'm in a critical transition time in my career and have struggled to get some footing re: my career choices and dealing with conflicting motivations. This book sounds like it would help me work through those issues. Thanks.

  • ejellis

    I love the premise of this book. It sounds like it takes the concept describe in the Heaths' book, SWITCH, through the next several iterations necessary for self-transformation.

    The big questions for leadership evolve around capability and willingness, namely:

    1. Do I know what it takes to be an effective leader?
    2. Do I have these skills/talents?
    3. Do I WANT to be a leader? Why?
    4. Am I willing to invest the time & energy necessary to fully develop these skills/talents?
    5. Is this a divine calling? (Moses, a reluctant leader, was compelled by the answer to this question).

    I think that if more people would answer these questions honestly from the vantage points of self-examination and intentional living, there would be fewer examples of poor leadership in the world.

    After all, not everyone is meant to be a leader. And that is perfectly ok. And necessary! Where would the world be without the individual contributors?

    Thanks for offering the opportunity to vie for a free copy of the book. Now, here's me, "asking for the sale" so to speak…please send a copy to me…I promise to read it, and NOT keep it, but pass it on for others to read!

    EJ Ellis

  • Akila

    Coming from a culture where it is expected you put others first, that is what I have done all my life except it has now become unhealthy in a sort of way. As a result, while I know it is my habits that keep driving me to do certain things, the spiral just keeps going like a giant wheel that never stops.

    This book will help me to give an insight into a person I have never known – my Self and to lead myself first before others.

  • Myca Alford

    The title of this book immediately struck me – but what came to mind were things like ‘How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time’, or ‘The elephant in the room’. As a digital publishing manager (and aspiring executive!) in Christian publishing, I feel as though I spend a lot of time eating elephants so the title really appealed to me!

    After reading through your blog post, I was intrigued by the yin/yang aspect of the executive and the elephant imagery. The analogy worked on multiple levels for me…most importantly making me wake up to the fact that there are things in my life (both personal and professional) that need changing pronto. It sounds like this book may be the meditative answer that I’ve been searching for.

    Now if only I could grab the book on my Kindle, life would be perfect . . .

  • Aaron s


    Frankly, I’m just nit creative. I cannot write you some made up or exagerate reason why you should give me this book. Simply put, you should give me this book because I love leadership mateial and read it veraciously, have a limited income and thereore am unable to own as many books as I would prefer on the subject and consequently am unable to read as many as I’d like. Furthermore, I respect your opinion on books since I’m sure you read many and you mentioned in a recent post you don’t endorse items you do not genuinely believe in. More than likely I wouldn’t have picked up this book on my own but as per your recommendation, I would read it and find value in it.

    Thanks for the consideration,


  • michaelkreynolds

    There is no question that the greatest attack on leadership is self-delusion. We often think there is Godzilla at the door, when it's only a gecko and it corrupts our thinking. I think there is a great value in learning how to deal with the "old man" (as Paul the Apostle refers to it) when it comes to leading others.

  • Gary

    Michael, When I graduated from college in the 1970's my major was Management Science and Peter Drucker's "Management By Objectives" was a teaching that stuck with me throughout the years – How much better a leader I would have been if I had also been taught the principles of "Personal Mastery" – My walk with Christ has been refocusing my attention to who I am in Him, and what His intentions are in my life. I would like to have this book to help me further develop the ability to draw on the powerful resources I have in Him, rather than my "git er done" elephant.
    Thank You,

  • Dayton Mix

    I recently picked up the Maxwell Leadership Bible and have started walking through it, using that study Bible as my primary Bible in my office (I'm a pastor). But as I've gotten into it a bit, I keep finding myself with that question of "So how do I lead ME first???" Based on your enthusiastic endorsement, I am looking forward to a chance to read this book. Please consider me for your give-away.

    Dayton Mix

  • Mike


    Elephants are fascinating creatures. I have had to privilege of riding an African elephant through the African bush. However, staying on top of my own inner elephant has proven to be much more difficult for me. One of the chief reasons that I read your blog is that you seem to have your elephant tamed and firmly under control, and I admire that in you. From my perspective having a harnessed elephant could perhaps be the best explanation for your leadership influence and success. I would love to have a copy of the book and promise to read it, should I be chosen.

  • Jeff Smith

    Hi Michael,
    I'm editorial manager at Awana, an international youth and children's ministry. Awana is reaching and discipling kids and teens in 109 countries. Each day my team develops messages for the Web, social media and print. The goal for these materials is to convince pastors to start Awana at their church and reach and train even more children and youth through God's Word. Such work requires inner excellence more than anything. I could really use this book to further prepare me to convince pastors to invest church dollars and resources in the eternal value of youth and children's ministry.

  • Kurt

    This book sounds like a home run Mike! It addresses the issue all of us have wether or not we will admit it. I admit it. I'd love the opportunity to read this book… Thank you for bringing this book to our attention and the opportunity to be considered for an autographed copy! (Can't do that with an e-book! :-)
    ~ Kurt

  • Susan

    Timing is everything. Yesterday my boss chided me for laughing too loud at a management meeting. He said it was unprofessional. Guess I need to get my inner elephant under control and this book looks like it would be a great help. Thanks!

  • Brian Hinkley

    I really appreciate the wealth of information provided throughout your site. Thank you!

    I have never considered myself a leader. I believe that everyone is a leader though, whether they want to be or not. I am currently soul searching to improve myself. I like the idea behind this book in that you need to lead yourself. I expect to see tremendous growth in myself by the end of 2011. Growth that I can pass on to others. I am adding this book to my queue to read whether or not I get a copy from here.

  • kolarcation

    Would love to see how this book differs from Chip and Dan Heath's book on change, Switch. Loved it! The Path, the Rider, and the Elephant from Switch were very helpful…although I sometimes still find myself stranded by my elephant…and let me tell you angry elephants do not make good company.

  • Pingback: Executives and Elephants « TwinRAM()

  • paul miklautsch

    i am blind to my two selves and interested in learning the differences to improve me. I have control over myself, not others. Anything i can do to grow, i would appreciate. Paul_Mik

  • Paul Johnston

    Leadership is all too often measured only by corporate success …. whereas the exercise of leadership is truly a snap shot of the internal systems we hold dear. Those systems and beliefs can easily fool us into thinking we are doing the right ethical and moral thing, when in fact we are not.

    This book speaks to that internal clock that we need to pay attention too much more closely, I would really value the help this book can offer to continue exploring "the inside."

  • Johnny

    Michael, I'm young and have very little experience being a leader. However, I have stepped into a few new leadership roles this year that been both challenging and rewarding. I'm trying to soak up as much wisdom as I can to better lead & serve the people God has put under my influence. I would love a copy of this book.

  • Mark Heywood

    Hi Michael.

    The hardest person I have have ever led is myself! One of my biggest strugggles is moving from knowing stuff in my head and applying it. I would love this book to help with my following of Christ, marriage, parenting, work and church leadership.

    Thanks Mark

  • Jeff

    I would like this book for a multitude of reasons. First, as CFO of my company I need to take advantage of all sources that can help me become a better leader so that those I serve can be more successful. Second, as the creator and instructor of our internal leadership class, I am always in search of resources to use and share with my colleagues to help them achieve higher levels of leadership. Third, as a father, I want to exemplify good leadership to my children so they will be better prepared to be leaders in their lives. Fourth, as an adult active in teaching and working with our church youth group, I want to have better tools to help all of these kids find a path in their lives to grow and make a positive, Christian impact on the world. Finally, as one who feels our western culture has done great damage to the cause of Christ and believe that eastern thought is often more closely aligned with Christ's teaching, I'm all about a book that pulls from eastern teachings.

  • Sarah

    hi michael,
    when i read this, i immediately thought of my boyfriend. i would like to give this book to him. we have regular conversations about his desires for leadership in his career. he has what it takes to be a leader in his accounting firm–but often struggles with self-doubt and resigns himself to playing second fiddle. doing the work without leading, being the brains without the authority. i am his cheerleader, but i am not enough. he needs book like this, and the Good Book, to encourage him and help him empower himself so he can influence others. thanks for your consideration! :)

  • Tim Lyttle

    Tweet from @timlyttle
    Does "The Executive & the Elephant" describe behaviours that stop doctors working together to solve healthcare problems

  • Jeanne White

    I would love a copy of this book because, quite simply, I am trying to get out of a rut and I think this book will give me some valuable insight into why I can and why I absolutely should try to regain a leadership role in the workplace. Having relocated not too long ago, I am also a longtime 'professional mom' and a brand new 'empty-nester' who is anxious to get back out into the work force. Professor Daft's book title and your review of his book clearly grabbed my attention today. Thank you for your consideration, Mr. Hyatt.

    Jeanne White

  • Bridget Haymond

    This sounds like a wonderful book! The two selves are the greatest reason why people get stuck and can’t move forward. But the Bible makes it clear that the heart is deceitful and sadly we do delude ourselves a lot.

    Personal leadership is something I am passionate about and learning more about identifying and resolving inner conflict is VERY appealing to me. I promise to read, highlight and dog-ear this book and will post a review of it as soon as I’m finished with it!

    I am tweeting about this now @BridgetHaymond

    Thank you for the opportunity to read The Executive and the Elephant!

  • Joe D Mayes

    This book has really caught my interest and I would love a copy! Why? Because I am a 60 year old pastor of a church of 500 filled with young families and I am personlly mentoring 9 young 30's Next Generation Leaders using the Mentor Like Jesus materials. In my own walk of 37 years with Jesus I have struggled with the inner conlict of the 2 selves which Paul describes in Romans 7. I want to impart wisdom to these young men and my congregation about this vital reality. I want to help the younger generation master the art of self- leadership.

  • Charles Erlandson

    Dear Michael:

    I deeply desire a copy of The Executive and The Elephant. Someone who’s advice I have come to trust has recommended it to me, and so it’s now on my official Books to Buy List. I so desperately want the book because I live among so many elephants that sometimes I feel like I’m in the circus, or at least the zoo. As you know, elephants consume a lot, don’t produce that much of value, and yet produce massive quantities of the end products of digestion. Frankly, I’m tired of living among the elephants and their mess. Not to mention the potential danger when elephants go on the occasional rampage. I not only have my own personal herd of elephants to train but have also been assigned the task of training other adolescent elephants as well. It would be nice to think that I’ve left the world with a few less elephants and a few more executives.


    Charles Erlandson, full-time elephant trainer and part-time executive

  • Jason Reynolds


    It’s true that many leaders cannot master their own lives even while they oversee thousands of other people, no matter whether that leader is in charge of a great empire or a small business. They are often the last person to realize this, too. This seems to be a growing issue in a culture that emphasizes individualism (which is healthy within reason) to the point of narcissism at times.

    One of the keys to effective leadership is to never stop learning, whether you are learning something specific to your industry or you are learning something about yourself you never realized.

    I believe this book would be useful in my efforts to continue growing. And I would love an opportunity to read another book by Mr. Daft. He has proven to have great discernment on management in other books I have read. I can overcome the Eastern mysticism influence of the book to pull out useful nuggets of information; as a Christian, I must do this on a regular basis anyway. I would be appreciative to have a chance to read this book.

  • Ricky Widjajakusuma

    I kinda figured it out recently that leading people have to start with oneself. If one can't lead himself, how could he lead others? Said that, it's never an easy task to do.
    I'm still a young man, and I am willing to learn.
    I dream and I dream big.
    I read and I lead.
    I start with myself and a book in my hand.


    Ricky Widjajakusuma

  • RMG V


    I've always hated elephants. I'm an Auburn fan so my disdain for the Crimson Tide and elephants has been lifelong. Taming (or hacking to pieces) the elephant inside me would be great and this book sounds like it will help! If you see Regi in Atl tell him I said "hi" he'll know who I am!

  • Adam Jeske


    I am a ninja, but I often don't want to do sit-ups.
    I am a writer, but I often forget to sharpen my pencils.
    I am a cop, but I often accept bribes.
    I am a saint, but I often do not have a shiny halo.
    I am a superhero, but I often forget my cape.
    I am a scientist, but I often swipe others' ideas.
    I am a teacher, but I often dislike children.
    I am a husband, but I often don't love my wife.
    I am a doctor, but I often don't care about my patients, just the money.
    I am the son of a good king, but I often live as an ungrateful subject.

    I want the book.

    Thank you.

    Adam Jeske

  • Larry_Hehn

    Q: How do you stop a charging elephant?
    A: Take away its credit cards.

    Thank you for this offer, Michael. I'm looking forward to confronting my elephant.
    I promise to read and post a review. Cheers!

  • Bill C

    Mr. Hyatt,

    Over the last few months when you offered free books I ask you to give me a copy because I was unemployed and was not able to buy books. Today, I write asking you to give me, The Executive and the Elephant: A Leader’s Guide to Building Inner Excellence, because I now have a job. I am the executive director of a local tutoring/learning center. I need to read this book to make sure and prepare and learn in all areas as a leader.

    Thank you for giving me books while I was unemployed and thank you for considering giving me this book as I begin a new leadership role.

    Bill C

  • Randy Gravitt

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment. I would love to have a copy. I will read the book and will hopefully glean something that will help me to lead the hardest person I have to lead . . . myself. My blog @ is designed to challenge leaders to maximize their influence based on personal integrity. This book looks like a self leadership winner.

    Creative plea – my daughter is a freshmen @ Vanderbilt & I will tell her to put in a good word for Richard on campus :D

  • Bill E

    I have always known there were two forces not working together inside of me. The hard part is that as we get older the elephant keeps growing and gets harder and harder to train. Too many of us lose control of the elephant and get sat on by it, or at least pooped on. Being able to guide the elephant to be constructive instead of destructive is needed by many people today, especially me.

  • Karim Shamsi-Basha

    Self-Mastery – an object of human obsession with the self, the ego. yet the bible tells us to let go of our ego. I have seen the word ego illustrated as initials for edging God out. What I struggle with is this: is there a balance between finding the true self we live in, and dedicating our lives to God? We have to celebrate both, us, and God. if there was no us, worshipping God would be difficult. I look forward to reading this book and mastering the balance of self mastery, and self edging!

  • Chad Gamble

    Your description of this book is intriguing. It appeals to anyone with any level of self-awareness. I began pursuing a graduate certificate in leadership development this fall. I leave class ready to exhibit the competencies I have learned about in class. However, there is a disconnect between that person that is so inspired by the ideals of the competencies and the person that shows up at work. There are times when I feel like I am outside myself looking at another person. It does not happen often, but it happens enough that I identify with the premise of this book. I would love the opportunity to read this book and integrate the information into my studies at George Washington University. I really want to read more about being intentional and becoming mentally focused. I also will enjoy the practical exercises. I would be an honor receive an autographed copy of this book.

  • Olga Wright Griffin

    I would like to have a copy of this book, because I have just started a speaking ministry and need all the help I can get to break the elephant habits that I have created in the past.

  • Lee Tomlin

    I promise to read this book!! I am a young pastor looking to grow, and I think that this book on “self-leading” would be a huge asset to my personal life and my ministry as I seek to learn to lead myself better so that I can better lead others! Thanks for the creative way of investing into others! Love it!!

  • jody

    How can I do a good job leading my girls if I am not doing a good job leading myself? Having a "how-to" book might be just what I need to get started. I have goals, but I am not really doing a thing to reach them. My 15-year old has a very difficult time with putting space between the stimulus and the response….oh no! Sometimes I do, too….but I'm working on it…constantly! Thanks for letting us know about these talented writers.

  • Jason Harris

    As a leader in my church and an academic researching management, I've come to conclude that leadership is something the world desperately needs at every level. But I've also noticed, mostly in myself, that leading others can do more harm than good until we have learned to lead ourselves.

    If you send me this book, you can be sure I'll read it.

  • Lindsey Lautsbaugh

    I lead a missions training campus in South Africa… I’m very interested in this book, especially to see how it might translate cross-culturally. One of the signs of a great leadership book is that it transcends cultures, it sounds like this one might!

  • @AndreaAresca

    In my last years I understood that the more I want to be effective in serving others, the more I want to pay attention on myself.
    As a leader, I am the one who sets the vision, the culture, the principles and I am the FIRST EXAMPLE, so it is so important I am able to manage myself and my character.
    I would really like to take the lessons of this book and apply in my life.

  • perryh031

    Thank you Michael, another great find. And I agree with your statement that I wish I could have had the kind of insight you mention from Dick's book early in my career. Unfortunately for me I allowed the inner elephant to make some critical mistakes. Today I am working to share this kind of insight with as many young men as possible. Learn to lead yourself before you ever consider leading anyone else. Thanks for the opportunity to possibly receive a book.

  • Jon

    This sounds like a great way to build strength of your higher self. I like the concept of having actual exercises to do as well, rather than just reading various concept and theories. It seems that the more often one chooses a specific action over another, the greater likelihood that same action or decision is repeated in future circumstance. I would like this book to learn how to break self-defeating habits, and build high quality, leadership strengthening habits.

  • @mekalav

    Michael love your blog and your thoughts.

    You have inspired with your thoughts and also convinced me to go buy few of the books.

    I would absolutely thrilled if i can get this book to learn something new,take learnings and apply it.

  • Brad

    There once was a man named Brad,
    managing a new lad
    He struggled and plead
    till Mike gave him the key

    A book about how to tie
    and elephant to the sky
    He read it non-stop
    and quickly rose to the top

  • pastormatt

    I have 5 children, a full-time secular job, and am a bi-vocational of a growing church. I spend a lot of time helping others and leading others and often find that I struggle to lead myself.

    Plus–my birthday is this week and winning a getting a free book would be a great gift :).

  • @DelaneyKirk

    OK, this may not be a creative reason but it's a practical one! :) I've been asked to teach a MBA class on Leadership in the spring. Dr. Daft's book sounds like a great resource for the students. Pick me and I promise to read it!

  • Michael Davis

    This book would have been get for our staff retreat that we at today and tomorrow as we work with our company leaders

  • Phenessa Gray-Jones

    Mr. Hyatt,
    I would love a copy to this book not only for my own personal enrichment, but also as a resource for my doctoral work. Currently, I am pursing a degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Although I have not narrowed my dissertation topic, I have a strong interest in eradicating workplace bullying. Self-leadership and servant leadership are major components of reducing this silent epidemic. If given a copy, I will not only read this book, I will apply it and promote it on my blog, PhierceTalk with Phenessa, an inspirational monthly column (

    Thank you for your time,

    Phenessa A. Gray-Jones

  • Michelle

    Leadership and management at the college level is in the middle of a great shift and upheaval. In some way, many of us are making up new rules as we go. I’ve been reading a lot of books on leadership styles and this one sounds promising! Yes, I would definitely read it, then pass it along to my friend and colleague who is getting his PhD in organizational leadership.

  • John

    This year, along with full time ministry I have taken on the hat of home school High School teacher, for our eldest son. This is an overwhelming responsibility on top of what was already an overwhelming responsibility. I am more keenly aware than ever how I need to become more intentional with my life, my issues, and my goals, and I know reading this book will be a blessing to me, towards that end, in my life and work. You can count on me reading this book if I am fortunate enough to receive one. Thanks for the chance to do just that. All the very best of the day!

  • Shelley

    Why do I want this book? It's simple really. I want this book to share with my husband…I want to read this book together and apply its principles to our professional lives. The economy has been incredibly tough on us – he is in the financial services industry and I am a freelance writer. We both need to to become more intentional with our lives, our issues, and our goals. We need to discover inner resources to expand your awareness and become more mentally focused. This is why I want a copy of this book.

  • mcgilligan


    I'm a young man (25) working for a church and am constantly in a leadership position. While sometimes I can "fake" that I know what I'm doing and have everything figured out – often I find myself flying by the seat of my pants. A lot of times, I feel handcuffed by the decisions that must be made and by the growing sea of tasks that need to be accomplished. I'd like to read this book to gain some incite as to how remove the handcuffs, tame the inner elephant, and use its strengths to become a more effective leader.

  • SethC

    I'm still a young minister and I'd love to read some insights that might help me develop as a leader. Plus, who doesn't love elephants?

  • @nanahg3

    Wow – sounds like this book is the perfect read for someone who struggles with finding her way out of the tunnel to see the light at the end. It's so easy to get bogged down in the doing that you forget what the goal is!

  • @gghogan

    I am currently studying leadership and strategy in my MBA program and I would love to compare and challenge the perspectives I am currently learning about with a position that that begins with self rather than the environment (or others).

  • Mark Floyd P. Bilang

    i am a young leader from the Philippines. I am a youth pastor, 23 years old. i believe this book will help me answer my question of personal leadership and how i can move myself and others to the next step. i believe that every great leader understood that their first responsibility was for their development and personal growth. i want to release my God-given potential to serve and help others release their God-given potentials aswell. im fllowing leaders like andy stanely, he comes first in my list, john maxwell who triggered in me the idea to lead, bill hybels, craig groeschel, perry noble, jim collins, ” michael hyatt” and even dying to be at catalyst 2010. im just following through short clips on it thru youtube.

    i hope you’ll pick me to have a copy of one!

    Mac Bilang

  • Nick Jones

    Mr. Hyatt, I would really like a copy of this book since I believe it would be a great help to me. For years, people have told me that I am a leader, but I never quite feel like one. As I read your description of the inner executive, I realize that one of the chief reasons I have these feeling is that I have often let my "inner executive" take charge. As someone preparing for the ministry, I know that I need help before I can capably lead others. I have to be able to lead myself.____Thanks,__Nick

  • Patrick Breck

    This sounds like a great book not only for myself, but also for the youth and young adults I lead at church. These young adults could benefit greatly as they develop their leadership skills by first being an effective self-leader.

  • Kenny

    I enjoy learning more about leadership, every opportunity that comes my way, So I would enjoy reading this book. I'm responsible for my personal growth, so every leadership lesson helps

  • Josh


    I would love a copy of this book to grade my own self leadership. Last night myself, and a team of volunteers put on a silent auction and party for 500+ for a local silent auction. This book would have been a great resource prior to the organization of the party/silent auction.



  • Les Hughes

    Michael, I'm a Senior Pastor of an amazing team. They continually look to me for servant-leadership. Especially during trying times they look to me for inner strength, and rightly so. I The Executive and the Elephant contains some solid insight to help me provide them a leader they can trust and follow. And yes, I promise I'll read it.
    Les Hughes

  • Doug Rowles

    I read all things leadership right now, the book would be next in line for me.

  • @JacobWNoorman

    I would love a copy of this book. In the last couple of years I have transitioned from industrial manufacturing as a heavy press operator into the publishing industry as a digital production manager of eBooks (though, I still love me a good physical book. I am now enrolled in a corporate leadership development program in association with a leading local business university. This book sounds like it would be a fantastic edition to my current reading in the leadership field. If I don't win a signed copy, I'll buy one and read it anyway.

  • Brooke


    I'm a young social media professional itching for an opportunity to lead. But first, I must polish the art of leading myself

    I stumbled across a previous blog post of yours last week and God's perfect timing put it in my life at the PERFECT TIME as I'd just found out I wasn't going to get the opportunity for advancement I'd counted on for weeks. I was so moved by your post and the timing of my discovery that I blogged about your post and quoted you… "Whenever God gives you a vision, He places obstacles in your path. Why? So that you can become all that He created you to be. God doesn’t place these obstacles in your path to destroy you but to develop you. His greatest desire is to work out what He has built in." ~Michael Hyatt

    I have the vision and I'm climbing over the obstacles in my path. Though along this path I know I also need to equip myself with knowledge. And this book could be the perfect accompaniment to that passion to be a leader. Please select me so I can learn to lead the most important person I'll ever lead: myself….first…before going on to lead others.

  • Kim Tanner

    I always looking for new ways to learn and grow. I realize that I'm the one in control of the gifts and abilities God has given me and it is my responsibility to learn more about them and hone them so I can serve God's kingdom in the best way I know how. I am currently enrolled in a Leadership Development Program through work, and I think this book would add to the learning experience.

    I pinky-swear to read the book.

  • warren

    Ha! My vision is finally interpreted. Thanks Michael! While practicing the latest meditation techniques direct from Eastern Mystical Lab Inc., I transcended into an existential moment in which I was riding an elephant. Afterwards, I informed my wife that we were called into circus ministry. "I'm going to be the elephant trainer," I explained. She shook her head saying, "You've been experimenting with that mystical lab again, haven't you." This time I was sure of the vision. It was so real. Meanwhile, I surfed the web for elephant training manuals and stumbled across your blog. "THAT'S IT!" I thought. The elephant is symbolic of the inner leadership me that needs to be trained. Me riding the elephant is the future hope of mastering the art of self-leadership. I turned to my wife saying, "Good news. We're not going to the circus" and explained to her how I stumbled across your blog. Then I prayed, "Lord, if it's your will that I read this book and not start a circus ministry, put it on Michael's heart to select me as one of the winners. If not, then I'm off to the buy an elephant." Hum, now where did I see the download "Power of Suggestive Meditation, How to Get Publishers to Give You Free Books" from Eastern Mystical Lab?:) Thanks for reading!

  • Samuel Lamerson

    I have always wanted a Monkey but my wife says that we have a son and their rooms/cages smell the same. Short of a monkey I would love to have an elephant. It would be just one more thing off of my "garbage can list" (I figure that when I die I am not just going to kick a bucket, but a whole big garbage can.)
    In seriousness, I was just speaking to my New Testament Survey class about a week ago on Paul in Romans 7 and questions of how that reflects our own sanctification process. This sounds like a wonderful book that, while it does not come from a strictly Christian bent, comes at the problem with truth. Since "all truth is God's truth" I am not afraid of truth that may come from someone with whom I dissagree. In fact I often find it very helpful. To mention the elephant in the room, where would Koine Greek Lexicography be without Bauer? Or better, where would pre-school be without Horton?
    If I win the I promise to get five people, blindfold them, and make them describe the book.

  • J. Gary Ellison

    For over 30 years, I have been training pastors in Africa (Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Togo), Europe (Continental Theological Seminary in Belgium), and the South Pacific (French Polynesia and Vanuatu: Joy Bible Institute where I will serve as the new principal upon our return in a few weeks). I have seen elephants in the bush of West Africa during our ten years there, but I’ve seen far more of them in churches and in my classrooms, not overlooking the massive elephant behind the podium sharing his peanuts with fellow elephants. The Bible school executive in me would like to do a better job of taming his own elephant in order to help others better tame theirs. Choose me as one of the fortunate recipients of The Executive and the Elephant: A Leader’s Guide to Building Inner Excellence and I’ll read it and share its fodder with the future pastors of Vanuatu. Thank you for your consideration!

  • Pick Me Pick Me

    Be creative, did the heading get you to read this, if I was to receive this book, I would read it. Being a good leader is something I strive for, I can use any help I can get.

    Thank you

  • Jeremiah M. Wean


    Really sounds like an awesome book. It seems like it could really help a lot of people out right now, with so many people know how to accomplish something, but very few actually take the leap and do it. Too many people are chained by their own certainties.

    I'm sure you know from your trip to the Building Champions event that the Mortgage Industry is going through unprecedented change. Now more than ever I need to become my best self. I enjoy reading, and have installed the habit in my 2 oldest 8, and 5, and read to the 1 year old daily. I listen the and am always looking for ways to improve my leadership.

    Thanks for bringing this book to my attention.

  • TomKinsfather

    We see the two persons frequently in church world. As a leader it is very easy to look good, but much harder to have your inner life in order.

    This sounds like a timely book on a vital subject. Hope to read it soon.

  • Jack Anderson


    Yes I promise to read it. I would like a copy, because this is where I struggle with leadership. If I could ever learn how to lead myself, leading my family would not seem so foreign to me. Being able to lead myself would also help me get over the fear of leading others.

  • Joy

    I have been though a lot of trouble the last 16 months. I am living. In a Fema park after I loss my home two times in one year to flooding it was 48 inches in my home both times . I don’t know what I am going to do. I feel God as a plan for my further. I am trying to figure it out. I know I am support to help others in need just don’t know what it is. Maybe though books I will find my purpose in this and in all the troubles and loss my family is going through but I know is nothing to what others are having.

  • Katherine


    My inner executive is out of control and I know my inner elephant is buried in their somewhere. I have so many ideas and can't seem to focus enough to execute. I know I could benefit from this book. I'm so excited to read it!


  • Shawn

    Hi Michael,
    I like the idea of working on myself to improve the effectiveness of my leadership. That is what I am all about!

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Ron Clark

    Thanks Michael. I am a church planter and adjunct at a seminary here in Portland. I am interested in reading anything I can get my hands on concerning leadership, leadership development, and mentoring young leaders.

  • Jim Payer

    I always read a book that someone "gives" me. I read the article about the book and it really intrigued me. Sounds like there is something in this book that everyone could profit from the reading.

  • Bob Ewoldt

    Michael, I'm interested in reading this book because I'm a young person aspiring to be a leader, but I think that I, at times, am not doing the things that I must do in order to be a leader. You say, "It all begins by becoming more intentional with your life, your issues, and your goals;" I'm excited about reading this book because I hope that it will set me on the right track.

  • @TheShadzLoresco

    Tonight, I felt a sneaky feeling that I just did something wrong. I tried to brush it off, to not think about it. Rather, I bumped the attempt with a choice–and that was to re-assess my recent actions, TONIGHT.

    Intentionality. There is that word. I learned its meaning and application from you, Mike. Last week, when I stumbled upon your blog. No, I am still learning…even as I write. My thoughts out of the shower this morning were, "Yeah, Michael Hyatt was right about intentional leadership. About intentionality in life. Life is about choices. We were given free will to exercise it. So, what do I intend to do with life?"

    That was the basis for my choice tonight. The content of this review affirmed my choice. And now, I intend to read the book. Even when I don't get a free, autographed copy. Needless to say, I am promising to read it. There is that word again. Intentionality.

    This is how I say thanks and keep it up, great job and glory to God.

    All the best,

  • Andy Scott

    I have been keenly interested in issues of motivation and leadership for many years. But it has only been in the last few years that I have begun to see the relationship of personal leadership to these important areas (I am a slow learner?). I desire to know more. Perhaps this book will help. If I receive a copy I promise that I will read it.
    Thank you, too, for giving us a heads up on the presence of ideas from the East. While this would not keep me from benefiting from the book, it was thoughtful of you to apprise us of this.

  • Nancy

    I am always looking for new books and always learning. I am changing careers and think this would be very helpful.

  • Sarah


    Jonathan and Craig at SoChurch recently turned me on to your blog and I am so thankful for your insight. At 31, I've found myself in leadership positions both in business and at church and am daily becoming more and more aware of my shortcomings as a leader. I suppose that is a great place to be though. I've been pouring over resources wherever I can find them as I work toward my own development, as well as the development of those I lead.

    You mentioned that you wished you had this book earlier in your career, which is precisely where I'm at and why I'd like to read it. I have no doubt I've much to learn about self-mastery and I'll gladly take all the help I can get.

    Thank you,


  • Bert Webb

    In leading a public school in NC, leadership concepts and strategies that can be passed on to my teachers would benefit them as teacher-leaders and benefit the children in their classrooms.

  • @davidaubrey

    Mike, I'm really disappointed in you. You know how much I trust and respect you and yet you didn't send me a copy of the Executive and The Elephant fifteen years ago when I really needed it! Don't tell me it wasn't written then I don't want to hear excuses, you could have found a way. OK better late than never I suppose and yes I will read it. I'll even make sure my CEO reads it, and maybe our senior pastor. Now there's a………wait, gotta go it's 1:30 p.m. and I have to have my afternoon coffee because if I don't have it at exactly 1:30 my afternoon is ruined! Besides the elephant needs a walk.

  • Lori

    I will read it and so will many other people. I teach at a Bible school in the South Pacific and good Christian books are not readily available. Just found your blog today through a friend. Blessings,

  • Geoff Little

    I follow this blog regularly. On Wednesday, Sept. 29, I crossed the street with a colleague from my building onto the Vanderbilt campus – and made it to the Owen School just before 11.30 a.m., the time Michael Hyatt advertised speaking at the Owen School at this blog. No one knew anything about Michael Hyatt speaking that day. I went to the main front office for Owen. They saw the information at this blog – but had no more information. I walked up and down looking for the event. Nothing. I ended up eating tacos across the street, pretty let down. ALL this to say – I need a boost from the Hyatt blog! That was an embarrassing experience for me and my business associate. Could I please have a copy of this book – it seems a pleasing and promising "re-confluence" of Mr. Hyatt, Owen School, and our bright future as world citizens of leadership! Best, Geoff

  • CCW

    Thanks for the opportunity to win this intriguing book I’d like to get this book to help me re-evaluate my personal brand and help push me over my mid-career plateau. Although I’ve been promoted and hit my goals the last three years despite the tough economic conditions, I know that I can be doing even more. Thanks again Michael!

  • Gary

    I love the idea of leading yourself before you can lead others. I have recently moved into a new role with greater responsibilities and have been struggling with the internal balance between the executive and the elephant.

    I would also like to share it with a friend who has been struggling to master his inner elephant for several years after a job joss. We've had some tough conversations around this topic and this book seems to targeted at this issue, among others.

    I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to read this book because this is exactly what I am dealing with right now!

  • goran

    @MichaelHyatt if there is a copy left I would love to get one too.

  • Kerry Buttram

    I would profit from having this book because it describes a key principle for leading others…leading yourself. I'm hungry to understand how this works in leading others as Global Outreach Pastor at my local church.

  • Jeffrey Gardner


    Self Control is the key to strengthening nations. I want to begin by improving the small world I experience every day. I believe this book can help me accomplish this.

  • @MattFMartin

    I'd like a copy of this book becuase as a young, next-generation leader, I need to be building the right foundations now to become the best leader I can be as I grow and mature. I'm a big believer in that you can lead your organization from any level within the ranks as long as you are intentional about development, growth, learning and investing in people (including yourself).

    And, I promise to not only read the book but use the learnings to pour into others on my team.

  • Mike

    Sounds fantastic. As a pastor, mentor, consultant and father leadership is a topic I invest heavily. The central ideas and propositions of this book sound to repreresent a portable and powerful correlary to Scriptural truth and leadership realities we all must acknowledge as true. I'd read it! I"d share it, teach it and pass it on…both within the leadership teams of this church, corporate leaders at companies I consult with and inbetween.

  • @eoghanmurf

    Excellent review Michael, really gets me interested in this book. Just reading your take on it has set off a few lightbulbs for me on how my two selves have been in conflict, the difference between intentions and actions, of knowing whats right but not always doing it.

    Should be a fasincating read, I've added it to my wishlist pending the outcome on Friday.

    Keep up the good work

  • Jose Javier Perez

    After reading your summary, I really want the book because I want to make sure my inner elephant hasn’t become the ringmaster in the three ring circus of my life! God said to Cain, “… if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it” (Genesis 4:7). This book will help me to master that most elusive beast – the self. :)

  • levittmike

    in this instant results/replies/responses world we live in, the time to reflect and make the best decision has always been my preference.

    Quick decisions are often required, but when possible, I always try to take time to review the facts, and let things settle a bit, before making a decision. I've found that those decisions tend to stand much longer than the quick fixes.

    Having said that, and I'm sure the others will agree, leadership is hard and a book like this will be a blessing and benefit us all.


  • Eradio Valverde

    I rather like the idea of an "inner elephant" which sure beats the heck out of "inner demons" as I've heard so many use, especially in those times after the inner elephant has come out one too many times and ruined a life, a family, or a career, and sadly sometimes entire ministries. As a pastor to pastors as a district superintendent in a mainline denomination, I would love to receive a free copy of the book. Thank you, Michael, for your willingness to share your leadership thoughts with leaders and servants.

  • Charlie


    I need a copy of this book! By blessing me with this book, you'll also bless the 100+ who learn with me! They call me "pastor"!

    Thank you for your consideration!


  • Kathy Butryn

    Yes! and Yes! (as in: Yes!…I would love a copy of the book…and Yes!…I will promise to read it.
    Why? Because reading your post answered a prayer request I wrote in my journal earlier today.
    Let me explain: I had read a review of this book somewhere on the internet, and thought "I must get this book., " but when you know how it is…when you don't write it down, it doesn't happen.
    That's where my prayer request comes in: As a Learning Specialist for a Global Insurance and Investment Corporation, I am writing a workshop on "The Leader Who Motivates." My first point is – we need to be leaders who motivate ourselves (self-lead) before we can motivate others. "Stink, what's the name of that book I saw?!" I wondered this morning. God surprised and delighted me when I read your blog post…there it was!!! That's why I'd love a copy of this book.
    Thanks for listening…and most of all…thanks for investing time in your blog. It's making a difference for this gal in Canada!

  • Andrea

    Why am I interested in this book? I am raising the next generation and what is so lost in our society is self-leadership. Problem is, it has been missing for most of my generation, too. How am I to raise them to be leaders when I myself am so unsure of my ability to lead? I need this knowledge, my children need this knowledge. If it is half what it promises, I will treasure the lessons.

  • Cinch Munson

    Leadership is such an elusive concept, but if one learns (an ongoing process without doubt) to lead his or herself then it becomes possible to grasp the concept and help others to lead themselves. When a person leads the self with intent and then gets beyond the self enough to realize that others have similar aspirations and struggles then the opportunity is their to really lead by first helping others lead themselves.

    Which leads my thoughts to the old adage that you cannot have too many leaders. Really?! If the concept of leadership is that it consists of telling followers what to do, well, maybe that adage works. But imagine a team of leaders who all understand their inner executive and their inner elephant and can truly lead themselves while swarming around a meaningful purpose…well…just imagine what could happen.

    Thanks for heads up on the book. I look forward to reading it. Now, how am I going to get may hands on it?

  • HGOE

    Dear Michael, I have been officially leading since the tender age of 13. From election of student body president in middle school, through the ranks of the United States Naval Academy, then serving as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. However as a result of a family move within the past year, I have been mostly working from home and have recently started seminary. I have been asked to start a women's mentoring ministry at our new church, and I think this book will dramatically assist in knocking the dust off and brining some areas to the forefront as I approach this new challenge. And yes, I will read certainly it. As a bonus, I might even give a review on my blog at

  • Cory Earl

    Michael – first off, what a great idea this is, raise the buzz about a great book and offer it free to loyal fans. smart, solid idea.

    This book we be very valuable – hopefully I'll be privileged enough to earn a copy from you.

    Why do I want this book? – Self-actualization. The thought that I could make myself that much better by using a strong resource like "The Executive and the Elephant" – and to spread the ideas to others.

    I am a fairly new father at 25 years old, it isn't something I planned, but everything happens for a reason. This has taught me maturity, patience, and most of all responsibility.

    I feel I have a responsibility to my daughter, to be the best I can be, and raise her with the same ideals as I have learned throughout my life.

    However I feel I also have a responsibility to inspire others, which I am confident will lead to a better world, one idea at a time. I am hopeful that this book will have new ideas I can feed off of and share with my business colleagues, social circle, and my family while also helping my personal development along the way.

    I am a strong believer in continuous education, that you can never know everything – thus why I would love a copy of this book.

    Thanks for your time Michael, I'll continue following you on twitter, you can find me @corysonline – if you would like to connect :)

  • Jim Hayes

    I want to know if the executive kisses the elephant who then turns into a beautiful princess or if this story will be the other way around in a more Shrek like ending.

    This topic is essential to leading anyone well and I like to get as many authors' perspectives on it as possible. Thanks for taking the time to help develop other leaders (99% of him you will never meet) Michael.

  • Matthew Foo

    Hi there,

    I have read another book on Pink Elephant, this one on Elephant, again, really intrigued me.

    Would love to have this, especially when I know it will help the person most needed help, me ;+)


    Matthew Foo

  • john

    I am missionary that leads a church with a church planting vision, but like andy stanley says, I am just the leader because I got here first. but sometimes I feel like I am not the best leader for this job. So maybe this book will help shed some light on this matter. I will read the book and tweet my favorite parts.

  • sarahspositivethoughts

    I quite like my inner elephant..he's fun-loving and impulsive. But he's wreaking havoc in my life right now and I'm sure you can imagine the chaos when he's let loose…not to mention the huge piles of …well, you can imagine what an elephant can produce… that are making it difficult for my executive to function. I need to find a balance without losing that inner sparkle. I'm fascinated by the concept as it resonates somewhere deep and, as I coach in a very visual and slightly quirky way, the concept appeals to me and I can see it working well with clients. So, by bestowing your book on me, it will have a positive affect on hundreds of elephants around the world…

  • David

    I have found that a relationship with Christ provides the only prayer I have of getting to grips with the inner tussle identified in your quote from the book of Romans. I have great intentions, but let people down all the time. My hope is that a prayerful reading of this book will provide me with tools and techniques to calm the inner elephant.

  • Nolan Donald

    Here's a haiku that will explain my desire for this book:

    My job has proved hard
    More than tips about others
    Leading starts with self

    Seriously, as the pastor of a new church start, I am working to grow as a leader more now than ever. This book sounds extremely timely for what I am encountering in my ministry life right now.

  • Mark McKeen


    I would like this book for a number of reasons. I am constantly trying to teach myself through reading and studying to be a better leader. This book would become another 'teacher' for me. I am also heavily involved in helping others develop into leaders as well. This book would give me yet another resource to invest life on life and disciple someone else to be a leader. I don't have a facebook account or a twitter account, but I will post it on google buzz. As for reading the book faithfully, I will read it. I try my best to read a book a week. so far, this has proved to be a helpful practice.

    Thanks for considering me,
    Mark Mckeen

  • @JeremyAnderberg

    This book makes me really excited..! I am about 4 months out of college and God is leading me on a journey of learning what it means to be a man of character. I am transitioning into a full-time job, getting married in 10 months and attempting to figure out what it looks like to follow Jesus in the "real world", as I like to call it.

    I would LOVE to read this book and I am sure it would help me along in this journey of becoming a truly Godly man of character and integrity. I know that you'll only be great if you have great character, I'm just not sure what it looks like quite yet.

  • Chris Lautsbaugh

    This book hits on exactly the topics that we have been talking about in our organization. I work with Youth With a Mission in South Africa. YWAM is famous for having huge vision, it is one of our strengths. But in any organization if the vision is significantly bigger than the infrastructure, things will "tip over". We have been challenging our workers to consider this in their personal lives as well. Where is their personal "infrastructure" at in relation to their vision? This book addresses exactly what we need to hear to disciple ourselves and our workers in Africa. I would like to read it to incorporate some of the ideas into my personal leadership and the development of African leaders.

  • Tammy N.


    I gain so much from your posts and would love to have an autographed copy of The Executive and the Elephant. The company I work for is very supportive of personal development – so much so that it is often included in strategic initiatives or roles/responsibilities. However, our focus seems to be outward facing, as if, as you state above, leadership and development is something we do to and for others. I would definitely read this book and, if it is as valuable as I think it will be, will pass it along to my Exec. We often read books as a large group under several Execs and I think this would be an important addition to our reading list. Changing the emphasis to one of personal, internal leadership is important to creating the next generation of leaders.

    Thanks for the opportunity.

  • Mark

    I do promise to read this book.
    I am new to the idea of leadership. I am a pastor, but somehow in all my seminary training and other ministry experiences, such training has escaped me. In the last year, I have discovered the deep well and resources out there in terms of leadership. Yet, as I read and attend conferences, I feel like much that I have learned simply external, disconnected from discipleship. I have read this blog regularly in the last few months and have felt as if I was dealing with a more holistic take on leadership, one which seems to resonate with this post and this book and the way my own leadership is being flushed out. I believe that how I lead my own life, will dictate much of how I lead our congregation with a reckless commitment to the gospel. I think "The Executive and the Elephant" will help in that journey. And if that isn't enough, it should be noted, that I have liked nearly every elephant I have met and most executives as well!

  • Santos Samayoa

    Wow this book has got me excited to dream again. I am currently unemployed and i want to get on my feet. I have several ideas of what i want to do, business that soon want to start, new skills that i want to learn. But the problem isn't that i can't dream or have a great vision, it's ME. I sometimes dont believe I can. I'm unqualified is the first thing i tell myself, i just want to break that cycle. This book would be a great asset to me. Thank You.

  • austindhill

    Picture this scenario. It's 11pm on a Tuesday night. I've worked a 10 hour day filled with meetings and I am exhausted. I should go to bed. Wednesday will be the longest day of my week, the one that requires the most of me. And I'm faced with a decision. My wife has been asleep for an hour, but I sit on my couch, torn. Do I continue reading the novel that I'm 2/3 through, do I turn on my Xbox 360 and play some video games, do I open up my Bible and actually spend some quality time with God, or do I just go to sleep because I know I’m exhausted? Most nights I choose to continue reading that book, playing that video game, or (if I’m feeling motivated) having my quiet time, but I almost never go to sleep.
    So I roll into the church office later than planned on Wednesday and I feel rushed and stressed all day. I make it through the day well enough, but then on Wednesday night at 11pm during my quiet time, I feel bad for staying up too late the night before so I go to bed to get more sleep. However on Thursday I feel bad for not reading my Bible enough and the cycle continues.
    The Executive and the Elephant would be very helpful. I resonated with much of what you said while I read through your post about it. As a youth pastor, I tend to have a crazy schedule and I often make excuses for the way that I live my life. If I want to effectively lead the young people of my church, I need to learn how to effectively lead myself.


  • Lynette Bleed

    God recently showed me that one meaning of perseverance is being patient with yourself while God trains you. This insight greatly encouraged me. For several years prior, I felt like I was spinning my wheels at accomplishing the ministry passion that God has put on my heart. But, when I look at how He has changed me, and what He has taught me, I realize the growing pains have been part of His plan. In the past year, I've written down goals, set a work schedule, and continued to pray for His leading. I've seen many tangible results and a deeper sense of His guidance.
    I believe this book will help me become more intentional with my life, and give me greater mental focus. I do promise to read it.

  • David Black

    I've been doing research and teaching workshops on self leadership ever since I've discovered it really is the key to sustainable ministry. I am the founder of Camp Sonshine International and we reach thousands of children around the globe and I feel this book would give me some more tools to equip those who serve the children. I even got a twitter account to be in on your invitation. Thank-you for planting seeds in so many of our hearts
    David Black.

  • GBM

    Hi Michael,

    I found your blog a couple weeks ago while looking for resources to help me develop my leadership skills. I'm the head of my campus government, and of a student organization, and at 20 years old I haven't had much time to learn. Of course, that also means I've got a lot of time to apply the lessons I can pick up now.

    Self-leadership has been the biggest challenge I've faced in my academic career (including, no surprise, combating procrastination) and I'd really appreciate more tools to push myself forward – especially free ones! I'll definitely read the book, and I hope it'll help in my imminent transition to the real world.


  • Raphael Husbands

    Mr. Hyatt, I need this book like a fish needs water. My Inner Executive is screaming at me "Get the book!!"
    He'd get it himself but my Inner Elephant is sitting on him! My life has been trampled by my Inner Elephant but now it's time to stop the stampede. Time to drive that Inner Elephant towards my goals instead of trying to avoid being stepped on. So bring on that manual so I can get to elephant-whispering.
    P.S. I'm going to my 1st Christian men's retreat in 2 weeks and my chosen roommate's name is also Michael Hyatt. True story! Hopefully that influences your decision.

  • April Rowen

    Oh boy, a leadership book with the words "executive" and "elephant" all in the same title. Sold! (Rubs hands together) My facebookies are going to love this…

  • dheagle93

    Well, one of my self-leadership issues is this inability not to try and get free books from you (or nearly anywhere!), so perhaps, reading the Executive and the Elephant will help with that!

    On the heavier side, this looks like a good read to help me put something under the phrase "Be more disciplined!" as a leader.

    I will certainly read it. As soon as I get done with the last book you sent me, and before my next Booksneeze review. (Seriously, you and Thomas Nelson are about due a complete shelf or two in my office.)

    Doug Hibbard

  • Mighty

    This sounds like a great book Michael! I think I need this book to improve my mastery of myself, my knowledge and my will do things excellently. :)

  • David Rockett

    thanks michael…looks like a great book & other good stuff.

  • Kathy Fannon

    I was thinking how very much this sounds like what I'm currently being taught at Integrative Nutrition about looking to ones self to recognize and resolve our inner conflict and embracing our dark side to use it for light. I get the basic 'truth' of what they are saying, but would prefer to be taught from more of a Christian worldview. So are you saying this book IS from a Christian perspective with Eastern flavor? Or not so much Christian? I may be interested in picking this one up to supplement what I'm already being taught.

  • Jose Javier Perez

    I received a copy from you and I just wanted to say that by the end of the first chapter I was feeling like God wanted me to have this book. It hits on one of the great frustrations both at work and in personal life. Thanks Michael!

  • Malkani10

    I’ve always battles with what doctors call Bi-polar. But i believe this to be a misnomer. This book seems to describe a battle that I must fight everyday. Medication has not helped because I have received no training in how to control my darker impulses. Please send me this book so that I can, most importantly, help myself and then, others.



    I would like a copy ofnthis book as well because for some time I’ve been teach my young leaders class on self discipline but in my research I have found that not much is taught on this art or lifestyle. Thanks for this article.

    God bless

    JL Cruz

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