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The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

The key to leadership and success is not just ability and hard work, but character.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Eloquent
  • Engaging


Clinical psychologist and leadership consultant Henry Cloud opens his book with a personal anecdote. A friend asked him to advise her two sons about what it takes to be a big success in life. He told them that successful people have areas of competence and can connect with other people to build alliances, but that the third ingredient of success is harder to define: character. Using examples from his extensive consulting work with successful people, Cloud explains why integrity is necessary to them, explaining that to succeed, people must have the ability to gain the trust of others, confront reality, produce expected outcomes, deal with problems, create growth and transcend self-interest. Although some of Cloud’s truths seem self-evident and he can become repetitive, getAbstract recommends his highly readable, timely moral lesson to current and aspiring business leaders.


Character and Integrity

Highly successful people share at least three key qualities. First, they are knowledgeable and competent in their chosen fields. Second, they are strong alliance builders who form solid relationships with people who are relevant to their companies. Alliance building is not just networking. It involves establishing relationships that create the leverage to take a company to a whole new level. But most competent people who can form alliances still don’t become highly successful. Often they lack a critical additional ingredient: character. Success at the highest level depends on your integrated character.

Many people associate character or integrity only with morals or ethics. Obviously, the executives who perpetrate corruption and scandal through lies and deceptive practices exemplify bad character and lack integrity. You can only trust people who have good character and high integrity. Trust is the foundation of business, society and personal life. Though character and integrity are often associated with morality, character traits past ethics and morals are needed for high levels of success.

For example, plenty of people who would ...

About the Author

Clinical psychologist and leadership consultant Dr. Henry Cloud is the author or co-author of more than 20 books.

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