Seven Practices of a Mindful LeaderBy: Marc Lesser


Lessons from Google and a Zen Monastery Kitchen

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“All of us are leaders in one way or another. In this important new book, Marc Lesser applies the power of mindfulness and compassion to guiding and bringing out the best in others. Written from a profound depth of experience in both Zen monasteries and corporate boardrooms, every page sparkles with clarity, humor, and practical suggestions. A wonderful book, with a range and depth valuable for both first-time managers and top CEOs.”
— Rick Hanson, PhD, author of Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness
“No matter how we support life, this book will awaken us to what it means to be a wise and compassionate leader. This extraordinary book brings transparency and wisdom to our work.”
— Rev. Joan Jiko Halifax, abbot of Upaya Zen Center
“Clearly articulated, practical, and helpful.”
— Mindful magazine
“We spend one-third of our lives at work, and work is the greatest source of stress in many people’s lives. Over the past decade, an immense amount of research has documented the power of mindfulness practices to decrease stress and anxiety and increase one’s ability to attend. Marc Lesser brings a unique combination of skills to address this situation, thanks to his training as a Zen priest, his immense experience training thousands of individuals in mindfulness, his work cofounding one of the leading programs bringing mindfulness and emotional intelligence skills to business, and his own experience as a business leader. Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader brings together this expertise and, I believe, will be an invaluable tool for changing the world of business by transforming its leaders.”
— James R. Doty, MD, founder and director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at the Stanford University School of Medicine and author of Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart
“Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader is a pitch-perfect harmony of Marc Lesser’s two lifelong refrains — mindfulness practice and its utility in the world of business, practical affairs, and everyday life. Stripped of cant and mumbo jumbo, Marc’s gentle explorations of ‘great leadership’ expand the boundaries of leadership to include the benefits of kindness and compassion to one’s own life and the lives of others. There is no one — spiritual practitioner or corporate chief — who will not enjoy and benefit from this book.”
— Peter Coyote, author, actor, and Zen Buddhist priest
“Nourishing reminders, Zen wisdom with heart.”
— Jack Kornfield, cofounder of Spirit Rock Meditation Center
“With exercises embedded in every chapter, the book encourages readers in keeping journals, noticing the breadth and depth of their mind wanderings, enumerating dependents, organizing meetings, even in figuring out their work style — always with a brief yet poignant reminder to keep making it simple.”
— Booklist
“As the former head cook of a world-renowned Zen center and cofounder of a mindfulness program at Google, Marc Lesser offers the perfect recipe for genuine conscious leadership. With his humility, vast experience, and engaging, accessible style, Marc skillfully shows how to apply the key ingredients of mindfulness to the workplace to bring out the best in others while creating an environment that both fulfills and nourishes success. A significant contribution. Enjoy the feast!”
— James Baraz, cofounder of Spirit Rock Meditation Center and coauthor of Awakening Joy: 10 Steps to Happiness
“Marc Lesser’s Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader is a wonderful explanation of mindfulness practice, covering the skills to cultivate compassion and empathy, clarity and self-awareness, and a deeper connection to one’s neighbor. While it’s written mainly for executive leaders, anyone wanting a mindfulness practice in their life will find this book extremely helpful.”
— Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Happiness
“Marc Lesser provides an essential guide for leaders seeking to close the gap between the way they are living, working, and leading and their highest aspirations for how they wish to live, work, and lead. Marc’s experience as a practitioner and teacher of Zen as well as his long-standing experience working with companies such as Google, SAP, and many other influential global organizations come together in this valuable book. It provides practical ways to hone leadership skills in the midst of the ever-increasing complexity and demands that all leaders face. A must-read for leaders at every level, including those who simply wish to lead themselves to more fulfilling work and a generative life.”
— Rich Fernandez, CEO of Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (SIYLI)
“This book heralds a new day in corporate life and practice.”
— Retailing Insight
“Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader is an in-depth workbook for developing a more soulful approach to mindfulness. A lifetime of experience in both business and spiritual-practice environments has afforded Marc Lesser a deft way of explaining how and why living with more heart promotes effective leadership. I predict that these seven simple practices will be used by many. Thank you, Marc!”
— Norman Fischer, Zen priest, poet, and author of The World Could Be Otherwise: Imagination and the Bodhisattva Path
“By bringing his decades of Zen meditation to the challenges of the modern workplace, Marc Lesser has discovered a fresh and compassionate vision of mindful leadership. For leaders of organizations large or small, these simple seven practices offer a wise and practical approach to fostering a healthy, dignified workplace and inspiring the very best in others.”
— Michael Carroll, author of The Mindful Leader and Fearless at Work
“Here is a rare self-help/business book that squarely faces the pain of change. Marc Lesser is an experienced guide through rough spots. The seven practices he presents are the mature fruit of his own practice and, therefore, won’t fail to enrich the life of other leaders who practice them.”
— Brother David Steindl-Rast, cofounder of A Network for Grateful Living
“This is a wonderful book that I highly recommend. Marc Lesser draws from his long and unique experience in both inspiring mindful leaders and showing how to bring mindfulness into organizations. I am grateful that I had the great privilege of working with Marc in training mindful leaders and mindfulness teachers, and he was a great mentor for me in starting a very successful corporate mindfulness programs at SAP. Marc’s deep wisdom, practical knowledge, and love for mindfulness applied in profound and yet practical ways shine through on every page of this wonderful book. His priceless knowledge is now available to everybody. This is a must-read for anyone who would like to become a better mindful leader and a more skillful teacher.”
— Peter Bostelmann, director of SAP Global Mindfulness Practice
“With Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader , Marc Lesser has built an everyday bridge to mindfulness for all leaders who want to be more aware in their daily lives. At 1440 Multiversity, we believe mindfulness only matters when we put it to use, and these teachings show everyone seven easy steps to doing exactly that.”
— Scott Kriens, cofounder of 1440 Multiversity
“In Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader , Marc Lesser brings ancient Zen wisdom into the modern boardroom. The practices he introduces provide a clear pathway toward bringing more of our best human selves into our day-to-day leadership.”
— Rasmus Hougaard, founder and CEO of Potential Project and author of The Mind of the Leader
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