Inspirational Leadership Advice from the CEO Whisperer

October 2, 2019

Book Review by Andy Ghillyer

If you’re looking for another book about how to be a better leader, this book isn’t for you. If the tens of thousands of self-professed leadership books haven’t already provided you with something to start working with, you may need to take a different approach.

In his new book Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up, author Jerry Colonna, hailed as the “CEO Whisperer” (Gimlet Media), offers such an approach by starting with the why of leadership. What is it about you as a person that drives you to be in the hotseat, taking charge and taking full responsibility for the success or failure of your department, store, or company?

Radical Self-Enquiry

For Colonna, successful leadership isn’t just about peak performance and exceeding targets. It’s also about surviving the damage that the constant pressure of responsibility can do to you as a human being. Work-life balance may have joined the ranks of the latest buzzword du jour, but the author fervently believes that without careful attention to your health (both physical and spiritual), your family, and your friends, your career success will be a hollow victory.

Examining where you are in life, and reflecting on how you got there, may seem better suited to a therapist’s couch than a leadership coaching seminar, but Colonna believes that if you aren’t willing to examine the key life events that helped to shape you, you won’t be able to leverage your true resiliency and authenticity as a leader.

The Character Known As “You”

This examination can be liberating for some but also frightening for others. Peeling back years of self-criticism, loneliness, and fear may seem cruel, but in the environment of a group coaching session, admitting that you’re scared and feeling that you’re mostly making it up as you go along, often leads to the realization that you’re not alone. If your working life is dominated by the imposter syndrome that you really have no right to be in charge and that you will be revealed as a fraud at any moment, it’s time to step back and reboot.


The analogy of an operating system starting over is deliberate. Colonna believes that bypassing practical skills in favor of raw emotion (and a fair amount of crying), leads people to take off the masks they have spent years creating and to really examine who they are and what they bring to their roles as leaders.

The journey presented here is designed to be so unique that there is no room for any steps or tips for the reader to follow. Colonna shares some very personal details about his life and challenges in growing up with the objective of encouraging the reader to do the same. The expectation is that you will be reminded of wonderful times and probably have to face some demons, but you will emerge more resilient and sincere as a leader at the end of it.

Reboot will inspire you to be the best leader you can be. By guiding you through an examination of your beliefs, fears, and drives, it will challenge you to take full responsibility for your potential to be a truly authentic leader.


Andy Ghillyer

Andy Ghillyer is a Contributing Writer at Soundview. He lives in Tampa, FL where he specializes in writing for the B2B and academic markets while raising a growing menagerie of cats and dogs. His other reviews are here.


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