In the foreword to this self-discovery work, bestselling author Stephen Covey notes: "There is a language of success and a language of distress. There is a language of progress and a language of regress. Words sell, and words repel. Words lead, and words impede. Words heal, and words kill." Kevin Hall is a highly sought-after business consultant, speaker, and coach who for 25 years taught and developed leadership training programs. In this intriguing book, he presents his unusual and appealing habit of uncovering the hidden and often very revealing meanings of words. Throughout the text, Hall uses the insights of Arthur Watkins, a retired university professor who has devoted his lifetime to etymology, the study of words. He focuses on eleven key words which can become catalysts to meaning, purpose, and fulfillment in our lives.
Pravin Cherkoori, a shopkeeper in Vienna, is impressed with Hall's curiosity and interest in leaders who have stirred his spirit. He asks him to sign his "Book of Greats" and then shares with him a secret word of great value "Genshai," which means never treating another person in a manner that would make them feel small, including yourself. Hall leaves Vienna buoyed by the feeling that this one word could open many new doors for him. After pondering "Genshai" he shares some thoughts from his journal and challenges us to identify and honor a practitioner of this word that we have encountered.
Michael Jordan's mind coach Dr. Gerald Bell unspools the significance of the word "Pathfinder"; Chad Hymas, a quadriplegic helps Hall understand the word "Passion"; and the late film critic Gene Siskel gives him a fresh approach to the word "Namaste." Some of the other words covered are "Inspire," "Empathy," "Coach," and "Integrity."
We were immensely impressed with the chapter on "Humility" where Hall writes:
"Humility is one of the most misunderstood and misapplied words in all of language. Humility is not being passive and submissive, nor is it distinguished by slumping shoulders, bowed heads, and subservient, downward glances. It is about being teachable and coachable. It implies a continual commitment to learning and growing and expanding. It is living life in crescendo, with shoulders back and heads up as we reach and stretch to become our very best, then extend ourselves to help others do the same. And then, we start again!"