What? One more leadership book? This one is different in two ways from many I’ve seen. One is that it focuses on leadership impact in the wider culture of our rising generations, our neediest people, and the major cities of our world. The other is that it tells the story of real people, not idealized principles that we’re left to figure how to embody.
Mac Pier, the founder and president of the New York City Leadership Center, comments in the conclusion of this book on four of his basic premises:
1. Cities shape culture.
2. Gospel movements change cities.
3. Catalytic leaders launch movements.
4. Mentors and catalytic events shape leaders.
In this book Pier has selected fifteen leaders from ministry, public, private and non-profit sectors and told the story of the mentors and catalysts in their lives and the movements they’ve launched, ranging from Redeemer Church in New York City in Tim Keller’s case, to a renewed Girl Scouts, in the case of Frances Hesselbein, to the premier polling organization (George Gallup, Jr.). Each chapter profiles one leader, includes personal interviews and excerpts of their writing, and a timeline of their lives. Each concludes with a couple reflection questions for applying their leadership example and further resources.
The city focus of this book is also worth considering. Tim Keller for example, thinks that if the active Christian population of Manhattan could reach 10 percent, this would be a “tipping point” for changing the character of Manhattan and New York City. While we may bemoan the seemingly insoluble problems of a nation, cities with vibrant leaders have often undergone significant transformations that may have a wider impact. Hence, this book might be a worthwhile “textbook” for leaders coming together to pray for and collaborate in city movements.