A mistake that made it into my book

November 25, 2016 by Joshua
in Education, Leadership

As promised in yesterday’s post, “Writing a book is work!,” today I’ll share a problem I found after the deadline to go to press. Actually, I said I’d share more than one, so I’ll follow up with more in later posts.


What got in

This one is my term ASEEP, an acronym I created to describe fields that are active, social, emotional, expressive, and performance-based, which includes acting, playing musical instruments, athletics, dance, and even the military. We teach all of these fields effectively, and in none of them do we start by lecturing theory at students for a year, have them read and write analytical papers, and debate case studies about other people—what I call traditional academic techniques.

In all of them we teach through progressions of exercises from basic to advanced where the student has to master each level to advance to the next. I started calling this style of teaching “ASEEP learning.”

Leadership and entrepreneurship are ASEEP fields, and about the only ones we still teach with traditional academic techniques.

We teach the other ASEEP fields effectively. Consider the quality of, say, the athletes in the Olympics or NBA finals. Now consider the quality of leadership in our recent presidential election. In retrospect, it makes a lot of sense to teach leadership with the same style as what works in so many other similar fields.

My book introduces ASEEP learning into the ASEEP field of leadership, which, as far as I know, no one has done before. The structure is the same, but I don’t pull exercises from other fields, I pull them from real-world leadership practice.

Does it work? I believe my students’ results speak for themselves, as voiced in their reviews:

“Absolutely. I would recommend this course not just to peers, but anyone interested in leadership. Honestly, even if you don’t care about being a leader, this is the kind of class which can help anyone grow as a person, not only bettering themselves in terms of leadership, but also in terms of self actualization. The social skills you learn in this class have never been taught to me in an academic environment.”

“I like that this course teaches leadership not just by reading theory, but actually putting the theory into practice. In most classes we are forced to regurgitate information back to the professor, in this class we are taught to be self-accountable, which is a skill everyone should have. What I learned in this class will stick with me for life.”

“This course really changed by definition of “Leadership.” Joshua is an amazing professor. He taught this class in a way that we learned about ourselves and then to understand others. He taught us how to find the real emotions and beliefs behind someone’s behavior and use that emotion to lead them and make them feel understood.”

“I truly hope other NYU students have the privilege of taking this course. It is the exact material that students of my generation need in order to tackle the unknown beyond graduation and in our everyday.”

“This class embodied the perfect balance between in-class work and real-world exercises … As a result of what I learned from the course, I have been able to have wonderful interview experiences and network effortlessly. I use to think that majority of leading involved delegating tasks, but boy was I wrong. I learned that most of what consist of being a leader was connecting with people, being able to tap in their innate abilities, and do the job the in the best way possible.”

“Josh, you may be interested to know I took out an Associate who will be working on my team and used your technique. She teared up, saying, no one ever asked her these questions and she is so grateful that I am taking an approach to her work based on what she likes and wants to do. It also revealed some of her deep fears and it was quite profound.

Invaluable, thank you.”

Who doesn’t want results like that?

If you want results like that, I recommend my courses!

What I wanted to put instead

I believe that in the fields of teaching leadership, entrepreneurship, and related fields, there will be a before and after my books and courses… that no one will teach these fields through traditional academic style.

There is precedent in such a change—in particular in acting. Constantine Stanislavsky began a revolution in how we teach and practice acting and nobody learns like they used to. We call what came from Stanislavsky Method Acting. I wrote about Leadership Lessons from Method Acting before.

As effectively as I thought the acronym ASEEP described the field and style of learning I was using, it was clunky. A branding expert I met through a friend suggested Method Learning and Method Leadership for what I taught and the more I thought about it, the more it worked. As a method actor uses method acting to become the role he or she is playing, I find the term Method Leadership suggests that a leader becomes the leader needed for the goal and team.

I tried changing the instances of ASEEP to Method, but the deadline had already passed.


Well, at least you early readers will know some of that history. I hope the extra background means you’ll get more out of the book and course when you do the exercises.

Again, I recommend my courses if you want results like these. No course, book, MOOC, or other resource will give you results like these.

You could wait, but 1) the prices will go up with demand and 2) you’ll probably end up getting hired to work for people who take the courses earlier.

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