Book Review

The Congruent Life: Following the Inward Path to Fulfilling Work and Inspired Leadership

Reviewed by Brian L. Benzel,
Chief Operating Officer,
Seattle Public Schools


Do you ever wonder when you will "get a life"?

In The Congruent Life, C. Michael Thompson shares a masterful framework for positively and creatively linking the spiritual side of our being with our professional life. Thompson, a North Carolina college professor, uses his life journey as a basis for sharing how we ask the important questions about the meaning of our work and our life.

Too often, school leaders shy away from talking, sharing and acknowledging our spiritual (not religious) needs. By exploring the inner foundation for leaders, Thompson links the work of key business and philosophical commentators--on vision, energy, integrity, courage, faith, humor and numerous other attributes--with our need to build our external leadership styles. He explores adult development and demonstrates the positive role spiritual development plays in improving leadership and organizational vitality. Each chapter ends with provocative questions that make this book a useful catalyst for dialogue among a leadership team.

For leaders seeking to understand service while simultaneously building one’s personal mastery, Thompson’s work expands understanding and provides context.

(The Congruent Life: Following the Inward Path to Fulfilling Work and Inspired Leadership, C. Michael Thompson, Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, Calif. 2000, 292 pp. with index, $28 hardcover)