Both proud and dismayed all at the same time

January, 2011

With the publishing of my book, LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), I am both honored and humbled to learn that it has made the CEO Read-Inc. Magazine Business Bestseller List (Top 25) for 12 months since its publishing in August, 2009.  In many ways, this means more to me than landing on the NY Times bestseller list (no disrespect intended for the NY Times of course), as Love Leadership, while applicable to all aspects of life, is a business book designed for serious minded, business leaders. And so, I am honored of course to know that business leaders, and even government and non-profit, civil society leaders, have picked it up and have begun to apply its principles.  In coming weeks I will also be proud and pleased to announce that at least one prominent university Business School will begin the process of incorporating Love Leadership into its core curriculum.

Many reasons to be proud and pleased indeed, and so thankful to my friends at my publisher, Jossey-Bass and Wiley, as well as author Bill George who introduced me and wrote the Forward, for believing in me and it.   That said, I am also dismayed.

Dismayed because it now appears that I am one of only a handful of African-American authors who have published and made the business bestseller list in mainstream press for business leadership.  At a time when we need much more of this, we have so precious little.  And it is for this reason that I was encouraged to see my friend and Bennett College president Dr. Julianne Maveaux, recently published "Surviving and Thriving: 365 Facts in Black Economic History," with a Forward by entrepreneur Cathy Hughes.  But at a time when the world is faced with "what comes next" in the backdrop of the first global economic crisis of the modern, and black folks and other minorities and members of the ranks of the poor and under-served must move from an agenda of civil rights, to include silver rights empowerment too, we need a paradigm shift of thought and thinking -- and a new breed of authors, speakers and thinkers who give expression to it.

And that is but one of the reason I love so much my personal hero, civil rights icon Ambassador Andrew Young, who recently published with his godson Kabir Sehgal, a fascinating and important book for our times entitled "Walk in My Shoes."  I am reading it now, and it should be required reading for every aspiring leader who seeks to be relevant in the 21st century, on the other side of this global economic crisis.

Ambassador Young and John Hope Bryant in 2005
Something else that my mentor and HOPE Global Spokesman Ambassador Young told me in late 2010 that dismayed me, and we need to do something about.  He told me that he is no longer going to write letters of recommendation for young people to go to college to become attorneys.  We needed tons of them during the civil rights movement, but we have that now, in spades.  What we need now are individuals, of all colors to be sure, but people of color and African-African no doubt, to become experts in markets, and free enterprise, and how the economy and money works.  Well, Ambassador Young shared with me that there were only something like 8 Ph.D's that graduated in economics in 2009.  Once again, I am dismayed, and once again, we must and can do something about it.

It is time for action, and it is time for a new movement.  It is time for a movement from civil rights to (include) silver rights.  It is time for us to learn what we at Operation HOPE refer to as "the language of money," or financial literacy empowerment.  It is time that we start a new movement, to make free enterprise and capitalism relevant to the poor, and then finally work for the poor and the under-served too.

The good news is that rainbows only follow storms.  You cannot have a rainbow, without a storm first.

Let's go.








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