Monday, May 16, 2011

Ubuntu! An inspiring story about an African tradition of teamwork and collaboration

Ubuntu! An inspiring story about an African tradition of teamwork and collaboration
By Stephen Lundin and Bob Nelson

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

J Garrison, from Nebraska, writes the following in his four-out-of-five star review of this book at “This book appeals to many different audiences. It is a quick read with suitable content to be applicable to workplace management, team building, developing learning communities and personal reflection. It is a fictional work which takes the reader through the individual and professional transformation of John Peterson from an authoritarian manager and distant spouse and father to a reflective and caring person who understands the value and necessity of recognizing the humanity in all people. Peterson hits rock bottom in both his work and personal life. He encounters Ubuntu when one of his staff sacrifices personal time to help Peterson out of a professional jam. Thus begins the transformative power of Ubuntu; the power found within a collaborative community striving together by discovering a unity of purpose and humanity. This book is both uplifting and reflective. An added bonus is the insight into the South Africa of today; the power of reconciliation to begin the healing process from the years under apartheid, the poverty that still grips the country; the beauty of the veldt; and the magic that is Africa.”

The overall theme of this book is, “We can be fully human only when we live in harmony with others” (p. 99).

Perhaps it’s me, I’m a little tired of books built on parables that relate to business, and this is another fictional narrative designed to help businesses build teams and cooperative efforts.  It is well-written, and the book flows well.  Unfortunately, I feel the theory on which it is based is common sense, the “how-to-do-it” approach suggested is both predictable and rather mundane, and I felt no attachment to the characters (especially John Peterson) of this fictional story or the story development.  You quickly get a sense of “who cares?” that makes it—even though a quick read (131 pages in a 7.6 x 5.1-inch format)—rather dull and boring.  That is why I reproduced J. Garrison’s review from at the top of my review of the book.

This book is available at Ubuntu!  An inspiring story about an African tradition of teamwork and collaboration

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