Lead by Example: Can Sci-Fi Characters Inspire Leadership?
Guest blogger Judith Duckhorn
Science fiction hits home …
… especially when true leadership needs an example.
Can a sci-fi character set the bar on being a leader?
In this world there are leaders and there are followers. Some that stand tall lead by example. But some of the most inspiring leaders are found in science fiction.
A leader in one field, for instance, the captain of a football team, may be a follower in another field, like politics. But leaders we have, leaders we follow, and leaders we need. Always. There are decisions to be made and waffling is not allowed on the road to success.
While many leaders have qualities I admire, this article is dedicated to a sci-fi character that I think sets the bar.
Jonnie Goodboy Tyler, in Battlefield Earth, is the most complete exposition of what being a leader takes and how to do it. In this hugely enjoyable novel, he comes to life with realism and leads by example. He has compassion for what happens both to his people and his enemies. He stays true to the course of action despite personal sacrifice and dangerous odds. You can check it out by downloading the first 13 chapters free.
The amazing, far-seeing, and detailed planning of military-style campaigns and political ploys are addressed so colorfully that the lessons are painless, in fact, enjoyable, and immensely valuable.
And so you have not only a page-turner of a novel, but here is fantastic science fiction of the invasion of planet Earth, with aliens ruthlessly running the show, and woven throughout the adventure is solid data for the reader to build new strengths in his own life: military science, political science, chemistry, leadership, and survival training in every chapter. I have learned a lot and find myself acting more decisively and with the greater good in mind.
When a presidential candidate mentioned a few years back that this was his favorite novel, I could not agree more.
I was an “English major” and did a fair amount of reading from about age 7 or 8, when a lot of it was done by flashlight, under my top sheet, at night. Now, with the advent of the audiobook-age, I can pack in even more reading, while I am busying myself with other things! What fun! You’ll see what I mean with this short audio excerpt:
And to get a sense of Jonnie, here one of my favorite parts of the story:
So, when anyone asks me (as people do from time to time) “What is your favorite novel of all time?” I just reach back into all reading I have done, and look. Battlefield Earth pops right up as the clear answer.
What makes this particular book such a clear and constant choice? It is like going to survival school in a rich, challenging setting and where the man in charge cares. It is like a manual for success, delivered in delightful prose with fabulous characters and an immersive storyline. There is so much to love!
I have read the book three times so far and intend to read it every year without fail. I hope you find the highest enjoyment when you dip into this rich world.
Don’t forget to download the first 13 chapters! You won’t regret it.
Judith Duckhorn, known to her friends as Jae, is a self-described “grown-up army brat,” since her father, a career officer in the army through WW II, Korea, and the Cold War, took his little family everywhere he was assigned, on three continents. She had the opportunity to study one year at Oxford University in putting together a BA degree in literature, philosophy, and music. Later, she turned most of that education into teaching skills and fell in love with that profession. Nowadays, Jae has advanced happily up the scale of Toastmasters training, as a public speaker, and also is readying to teach Tai chi. L. Ron Hubbard’s books came to her attention many years ago, and remain a central fascination in her world. “I always learn so much from reading Ron,” she says, “What a storyteller, what an author!”