No book from our LGP program has garnered more highlights on my Kindle reader than Edwin Friedman’s Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix. If our books were rated by the number of times that I used my Kindle highlighter tool, then this one is a standout winner. Perhaps no book in our studies has made me read and re-read as often as this one. I am still not sure if I completely understand the term “differentiation of self”  but I am connecting with our author on deeper levels of understanding, for sure. Our Cohort counselors are probably STOKED about this book!
I read impressive reviewers like Brian D. Majors and Steven J. Sandage, both PhD’s from Bethel Seminary who wrote in the Biola University Journal of Psychology and Theology,  that “differentiation of self” is connected largely to Christian maturity and spiritual formation. I now more fully understand why this book is not just fluff in your dryer vent.
The first eye-opening statement that rocked my world was,
“With families, I stopped creating encyclopedias of data about all their issues and began to search instead for the member with the greatest capacity to be a leader as I have defined it. That person generally turned out to be the one who could express himself or herself with the least amount of blaming and the one who had the greatest capacity to take responsibility for his or her own emotional being and destiny.”  (bold mine)
Friedman asserted that data gathering and techniques were not as important as discerning if a person had the capacity to be decisive.  (bold again mine). Wow, something in me resonated with “decisiveness”. Couple that with “the least amount of blaming” while “taking responsibility” and it is no wonder why this book is a keeper!
I also felt connected to the author’s writing on the five aspects of chronic anxiety: reactivity, herding, blaming, a quick-fix mentality, and lack of leadership.  Then he backed up this statement by saying lack of leadership was the one the other four stem from, and is the one that contributes the most to the other four! Bam, he is speaking our leadership language LGP8.
Are we biased because we love leadership concepts, or were we convinced this book was a hall-of-fame winner because our Lead Mentor said this book is one of his personal favorites? Maybe, but this author Friedman puts meat on the bones of his research, and backs it up with torpedos like these two,
“Living with crisis is a major part of leaders’ lives. The crises come in two major varieties: (1) those that are not of their own making but are imposed on them from outside or within the system, and (2) those that are actually triggered by the leaders through doing precisely what they should be doing.” 
“Stuck systems cannot become unstuck simply by trying harder.” 
Yowza, those got me! It seems in my new job I move from one crisis to another. With 107 pastors who I now serve, there is always several that are in major struggles. I am a chief firefighter, referee, and conflict resolver for 30 churches, 2 camps and a Bible College. Each day brings a new set of challenges…and trying harder is not the solution. Prayer helps, Scripture helps, teamwork helps, but rarely does “trying harder”.
That is why I will never forget this book as it talked about THE SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE  being vitally important for successful leaders. I know I am speaking to the choir about adventure because obviously we all have a adventurous spirit, or we would not have chosen this particular DMin program. It would have been easier to stay in one location for three years, rather than globe trotting as we experience new cultures and even newer paradigms. We have eaten exotic foods, taken gondola rides and boat excursions, listened to stellar experts on racial reconciliation and Asian economics, and I for one am JACKED about it. I am so grateful for the opportunities we have been given to learn in an adventurous environment, with lovable classmates, under the tutelage of caring profs and advisors, all the while growing closer to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
There is one picture in my mind that illustrates the leadership potential of one of our classmates. I will not use her name yet, but you already know who she is. She illustrates well this successful spirit of adventure. Not only is she a Pastor, she is also a seminary employee in charge of a million bucks of leadership dollars. She travels the world with us without batting an eye, even towing a two month old along for the journey, and somehow does not miss a beat. I don’t want to blow sunshine in her face, but she is a rockstar in my opinion. Trish, you are an inspiration and there is no such thing as FAILURE OF NERVE in you.
I am thankful we get to learn together LGP8! And oh yes, here is a picture of my adventurous wife, from last week!
 Friedman, Edwin H., Margaret M. Treadwell, and Edward W. Beal. A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix. New York: Church Publishing, 2017. Kindle Edition. Loc 646.
 Majerus, Brian D. and Steven J. Sandage. Differentiation of Self and Christian Spiritual Maturity: Social Science and Theological Integration. Journal of Psychology and Theology,Volume 38. Issue 1. 41-51.
 Friedman. Loc 509.
 Ibid., Loc 608.
 Ibid., Loc 603.
 Ibid., Loc 658.
 Ibid., Loc 755.
 Ibid., Loc 694.