Leadership Lessons with The Beatles
Actionable Tips and Tools for Becoming Better at Leading
Leadership has gone through many changes in the last couple of decades. We have realized that outstanding leadership is not about being authoritarian and exercising control. It is not only about the intelligence quotient (IQ) but also about emotional intelligence. To be an exceptional leader, you need several essential skills, all of which you can learn. The skills are nuanced with emotional intelligence, which you can gain. This book is unique: the author weaves leadership ideas with the song titles of The Beatles, making this book fun, playful, thoughtful, and valuable. Each chapter is organized with the key message on a leadership attribute prompted by a Beatles’ song title, tips on becoming better on the topic, a practice suggestion, questions to ask yourself to think about the message, and resources for more reading. The author begins each chapter with how and why she chose the song and includes fun facts. It’s an engaging book that blends the words of perhaps the greatest rock band ever—The Beatles—with the basic principles for becoming a better leader.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Leadership Attributes
Chapter 1: Getting Better—Optimism
Chapter 2: Within You Without You—Humility
Chapter 3: The Long and Winding Road— Tenacity
Chapter 4: Get Back to Curiosity
Chapter 5: Help!—Being Vulnerable
Chapter 6: Think for Yourself
Part 2: Leadership Skills
Chapter 7: I Want to Tell You— Communication
Chapter 8: We Can Work It Out— Negotiation
Chapter 9: Any Time at All— Being Available
Chapter 10: I Me Mine— Empowering
Chapter 11: All You Need Is Love— Heart-led leadership
Part 3: Leadership Mastery
Chapter 12: I’ve Got a Feeling— Using intuition
Chapter 13: Hello, Goodbye—Balancing the Tensions
Part 4: Care
Chapter 14: Let It Be— Handling stress
Chapter 15: The Inner Light— Lifelong learning
Chapter 16: When I’m Sixty-Four—Balancing Family and Work
Dr. Shantha Mohan is a mentor and Executive in Resident at Carnegie Mellon University Integrated innovation Institute’s iLab. She co-founded Retail Solutions Inc. (RSi), a leader in retail data analytics and ran its global product development organization. Her prior experiences include technical and educational consulting, and running worldwide product development for Consilium a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) company (acquired by Applied Materials). She graduated a PhD in Operations Management from the Tepper School of Management, Carnegie Mellon University, and her undergraduate degree is in Electronics & Communication is from the College of Engineering, Guindy (CEG), India. She is passionate about equality, diversity, and sustainability. She is the author of Roots and Wings: Inspiring Stories of Indian Women in Engineering and a Distinguished Alumnus of CEG. She serves on the board of CEG alumni, North America (CEGAANA) and is instrumental in the creation of Ask a CEGian student mentorship program and the CEG Betterment program. She is a co-author for the forthcoming book by Routledge/Productivity Press, Demystifying AI for the Enterprise: Building Tomorrow’s Self-Driving Organization.
"I can think of at least two good reasons for reading this delightful book. First, the leadership lessons that include the author’s story are as engaging as they are compelling. A brilliant student who studied engineering while becoming fascinated by leadership at an early age, Shantha Mohan jumps off the page in a way that makes you wish she was a friend living nearby. Second, it’s just plain fun to think about these old Beatles songs as leadership lessons."
Amy C Edmondson, Professor, Harvard Business School; Author of The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth. (Wiley 2019)
"Leadership Lessons with The Beatles is an extraordinary literary tour de force and a worthy addition to the catalog of must-have actionable business books. Principally a guide to developing leadership skills, it uses the important themes of several famous Beatles songs to explore and teach the core skills that great leaders exhibit. But it’s so much more than that. Shantha takes the reader on a journey through contemporary technology history including many of her own personal stories and experiences, stopping to share the lessons of successful organizations and their leaders such as PepsiCo, Microsoft, Tesla, Starbucks, and many others. At each step, leadership tools and techniques are explained in simple and practical terms. Shantha has written an accessible and practical book for aspiring leaders, existing leaders, and anyone interested in developing important skills for the 21st century economy. Of course, fans of The Beatles, like myself, will get a particular kick from Shantha’s approach to the subject matter."
Jonathan Reichental, Founder, Professor, and Author
"Just like music resonates deeply, striking a chord within us that moves and motivates, Leadership Lessons with The Beatles will resonate with everyone who desires to improve our world by investing in others. In the dynamic world, the need for outstanding leadership remains unchanged, and Shantha allows the reader to learn key lessons she discovered in her successful career. The powerful yet straightforward advice she offers will help others create an environment where people flourish, supporting employees to do their jobs and meet their own needs. Her guidance will help all of us become better leaders and better people."
Peter Boatwright, Professor, Tepper School of Business; Director, Integrated Innovation Institute, Carnegie Mellon University
"Shantha has a ticket to ride the wealth of experience garnered during a distinguished career as an entrepreneurial leader to deliver these pearls of wisdom. Full of down-to-earth common sense, this book is akin to a best friend giving much-needed heartfelt advice like a blackbird singing in the dead of night. In this post COVID world, it heralds in a good day’s sunshine. Imagine coming together to discuss any problem with a little help from your friends. Let it be part of your magical mystery tour of leadership."
Stuart Evans, Distinguished Service Professor, Integrated Innovation Institute, Carnegie Mellon University- Silicon Valley
"After reading so many different books on leadership over the years, I sort of lost interest in the subject and hadn’t read one in many years. Shantha’s refreshing approach to the topic is brilliant, and it sucked me right in. I think I was in the third chapter before I realized I was still standing up and needed to find a comfortable place to sit and read the rest. Familiar metaphors are powerful tools for illustrating and learning new ideas. Shantha nails this in a powerful and entertaining way by tying in her own hard-earned and unique leadership lessons with our collective and near universal familiarity with different Beatles songs that bring each chapter to life. I’ve since dusted off my Beatles collection and have been putting Shantha’s unique leadership lessons to work."
Mark Bowles, Serial Entrepreneur
"Leadership Lessons with The Beatles highlights sixteen ways to become a better leader, each featuring actionable tips and anchored in a well-known Beatles song. (My personal favorite? All You Need Is Love!) Hear any of those songs and you can't help but be reminded of the book's great insights."
Alan Eagle, co-author How Google Works and Trillion Dollar Coach
"Shantha Mohan delivers insightful leadership advice to both novice and seasoned leaders, uniquely aligning her real-life examples with universally-recognized story tellers. Leadership Lessons with the Beatles brings together multiple core concepts for elegant management success into a concise, engaging journey."
Dave McCandless, Information Technology Executive, Advisor and Lecturer, current Senior Director Information Technology, Guardant Health
"Have you ever pondered the possibilities of merging the unquenchable spirit and optimism of the Beatles’ timeless music with a humanist-oriented business strategy? Shantha Mohan’s Leadership Lessons with the Beatles does precisely that. In this way, Mohan gifts the world with a winning approach to affording our business lives with the Fab Four’s unique balance of buoyancy and goodwill. Better yet, Mohan demonstrates the myriad ways in which a humanist outlook not only benefits the world of business, but can help it truly thrive."
Kenneth Womack, John Lennon 1980: The Last Days in the Life
"I was lucky to have Shantha as my mentor and role model early in my career. It is beautiful to see the standards she lived by transformed into leadership lessons in Leadership Lessons with the Beatles. The essays in the book will help you become a better leader - for example, "Within You Without You" on becoming a humble leader - and how to live life to the fullest. If you are an aspiring leader, use this book as your guide and inspiration."
David Sun, CEO, SF Healthcare