The Wisdom of Walt by Jeffrey Barnes, a review
I just finished my review copy of the The Wisdom of Walt: Leadership Lessons from the Happiest Place on Earth by Jeffrey Barnes. When Barnes contacted me about reviewing his book, I was very interested based on the title and the sheer number of Facebook photos of Disney characters holding his book. It was actually a clever marketing idea.
I didn’t know much about the book before I started reading it, except that it was sort of like a business coaching- or mentoring-type book. Once I delved between the covers, I realized it was more than just a business book and it focused on developing your own leadership style. The Wisdom of Walt also looked at how we, personally, resolve problems and issues, all based on Disneyland (and Walt Disney) history.
Yet, it was more than just a book about resolving issues with your business; Barnes would challenge you to think about your life and how you could make positive changes for yourself and for others.
Barnes ties all of his lessons into different aspects of Disneyland history, which Disney fans are going to love. He looks at Walt’s life and how he faced challenges and overcame them, all in relation to Disneyland; Barnes targets how you can apply the same ideas to your life . Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of Disneyland and using that information to make your own life better. The book is very inspirational. Within each section, Jeff will offer anecdotal and historical information that you can use to parallel with your own life.
He also offers several sections at the end of the chapter to help you work through different ideas. There are also prompts for brainstorming a game plan on changing your life. Barnes offers a roadmap on how to make your goals come to fruition.
The book is designed like most leadership books that you’ll find in the business section of the bookstore. This isn’t a bad thing and it makes the title incredibly accessible. Barnes’ style is very down-to-earth and very easy to relate to. His background in academics and teaching allow him to offer ideas and break them down in ways that are easy to understand and easy to use in your own life.
Who Should Read the Wisdom of Walt?
The Disneyland history aspect of the book is quite charming and, for us Disney fans, lends a certain credibility to what Barnes discusses. He gives us the opportunity to see what Walt did with Disneyland and apply it to our own lives. Most hard-core Disney fans aren’t going to learn a lot about Disneyland; casual visitors are going to walk away with some little tidbits that they may not have known before. It’s obvious that Barnes loves the subject and really enjoys talking about him visiting Disneyland. If you have an interest in Disney history and you want to try to step outside of your personal limitations, then The Wisdom of Walt is a great title to help get you motivated and looking at things in a Disney kind of light!