The Good Among The Great, 19 Traits of the Most Admirable, Creative and Joyous People, written by Donald Van de Mark and published by Columbia Island Press.

After more than twenty years of studying and profiling the politically powerful, the rich and the famous, former CNN and CNBC correspondent Donald Van de Mark learned that not all newsmakers are exemplary human beings. 

Among the world’s mega-successes, however, is another group.  Van de Mark describes a minority who is surprisingly aware, egalitarian, dutiful and happy.  Their associates and staffs love them; competitors respect them.  These people care deeply about others and regularly use their positons to help the larger community.

In The Good Among The Great, Van de Mark connects the nineteen key character traits identified by 20th century psychologist Abraham Maslow to the behaviors that separate the truly good people from the merely successful.  He shares related narratives about people from all walks of life who demonstrated those qualities, from Abraham Lincoln to Jack Welch to Meryl Streep to the matriarch of the family Van de Mark spent summers with as a child.

The book is organized into four key sections:

Developing a True Whole Self” includes the following traits: being autonomous, loving, ethical, unaffected, private and detached.

Assessing the World Clearly and Efficiently” means being experiential, relialistic, laid back, and performance and process oriented.

Caring and Interacting With Others Effectively” suggests being egalitarian, jolly, empathetic and dutiful.

Earning Your Personal Payoff” includes being appreciative, creative, exuberant, joyous and transcendent.

Readers benefit not only from the stories and learning about the traits Maslow identified, but also from tips offered throughout the book to help identify and nurture those qualities.  Each chapter focuses on a single trait and includes a summary of key takeways at the end.  Don’t just skip to the summary, though! There are nuggets of value throughout the book. I highlighted many quotes, anecdotes, provocative thoughts, and interesting conclusions.

I would like to have learned a little bit more about some of the lesser known people in the book; more details about their struggles, how did they overcome, where did their goodness orginate?  All in all, though, enough was shared to gain an understanding of how the particular trait was revealed through their actions.

I found myself pulled in by the stories told, keenly interested in the behavioral discussion, smiling at some of the anecdotes, and taking notice of how I could apply the lessons to my own life and leadership.  If you want to achieve greater success in your personal and professional growth, consider adding this book to your leadership, business, psychology or self-development library.

Note: A free advance copy of the book was provided by Page-Turner Publicity.  In no other way was the content of this review influenced.  The opinion provided is entirely my own.

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