Book review: The Tortoise Usually Wins

Published on October 5, 2016

The Tortoise Usually Wins

Biblical Reflections on Quiet Leadership for Reluctant Leaders

Author – Brian Harris.  First Published – 2013 by Paternoster


Some people seem born to lead.  It is hard to dispute this.  Observe the playground of your local kindergarten and you will quickly pick those kids who delight in taking charge of situations. Without consciously thinking about it, they decide which games will be played, who will be included and the role each will fulfil.

So starts the preface of this book, it goes on to say that this book is not for such people, rather it has been written for what the author calls the reluctant or quiet leaders.  Those of us who find ourselves in the position of leadership, knowing we are not great leaders and unsure of how to move forward but willing to give it a go, leaders who would like a little help as they explore this unknown territory.  Leaders who are tenacious and committed to the task and willing to work co-operatively with others to achieve it.

This book starts by looking at the idea of Quiet Leaders by exploring  three key biblical images of leadership, Servant, Shepherd and Steward and the virtues they demonstrate.  This is followed by a number of chapters looking at the journey of quiet leadership and how we can develop our leadership skills as well as the excuses we are likely to make!

Each chapter finishes with a leadership interview with a well-known leader who discusses the ideas raised in the chapter and then a reflection exercise for the reader to complete.

With so many books on Christian Leadership available it is hard to know where to start reading … could I suggest you start with this book? Especially if you, like me, have found yourself called to a leadership position where we have felt completely out of our depth.  Not a natural leader and without the charisma of other leaders, it is reassuring to know that our style of leadership, the Quiet Leader, is modelled by Jesus.  ‘The Tortoise usually wins’ explains the strengths and weaknesses of this style of leadership, the anecdotes given by the author help to make his thoughts and ideas real, the leadership interview with a respected Christian leader at the end of each chapter gives a different perspective to the topic and the personal reflection activity at the end of the chapter will challenge and stretch you.  Each chapter will give you food for thought and ideas to challenge but will help you as you grow as a leader.

Coral Anderson loves being a Company leader with Seniors as together they explore what it means to Resemble Jesus Christ.  She also loves working with other GBA leaders to develop strategies to see GB grow in Australia as Chair of the GBA Interim Board.  She’s a loving wife, Mum and Nanny to two with another due in December.


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