Books That Changed Me: Paul Browning

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Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

According to Gladwell, our default position is trust and yet we are terrible at judging the character of others. To illustrate his point, Gladwell shares stories of wrongly convicted people, incidental encounters that end in tragedy, and spies who have gone undetected for years. Life is a difficult balance between trust and mistrust. Relationships can’t exist without trust, but so often we are blinded by our own judgments that we fail to see the truth.

The Future by Al Gore

What many leaders lack is the ability to cast a compelling vision. Gore’s work proposes that we have entered a period of change like none other in human history. This is both a tremendously frightening prospect and an incredibility exciting one. Great leadership is not about predicting the future but creating an exciting narrative that inspires hope. If Gore’s predictions are true, we need inspiring leadership.

Paul Browning has been a school principal for more than 20 years. He is the author of Principled: 10 Leadership Practises for Building Trust, which was inspired by the lessons he learnt after the school he was headmaster of was embroiled in The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.