As I’ve mentioned before, my new book Heretics to Heroes is not a traditional leadership read. In today’s business book market, where checklists and pie charts far outnumber human drama and connection, Heretics to Heroes occupies singular ground as a memoir-manifesto that uses storytelling both to teach and to urge today’s and tomorrow’s leaders to embrace a new way of thinking.

So far, the risk has paid off.

“Cort Dial’s ‘Heretics to Heroes’ is a fascinating read,” an Amazon reviewer writes. “It packs the story-telling allure of a great fiction, yet meets the highest standards of information quality you expect from a top-shelf business book.”

From an overall five-star Amazon review rating to other feedback such as this recent analysis from bestselling author and business consultant Steven Fies, Heretics to Heroes has generated the kinds of conversations, ideas, and questions I dreamed it would.

Some have responded most strongly to the book’s emphasis on human value:

“Cort Dial expresses what is missing in so many organizations,” a reader writes. “The realization that people matter––and you cannot fix performance without also taking care of the people.”

Other reviewers, like the one below, have focused on the empowering link between being true to yourself and being true to others:

“‘Heretics to Heroes’ is the type of book where you read with highlighters, only to find that you’re highlighting so frequently that you’ve covering each page with color. I would recommend this book for anyone who values authenticity and people in their work––a new graduate, a corporate executive, an entrepreneur, etc.”

Many have connected most deeply to the elevation of the heretic––one of the most transformative messages not only of the book, but of All-In™ Leadership as a whole.

“A key takeaway: We must value the heretic among us,” writes a reviewer. “This can be anyone at any level willing to challenge and drive the organization to new heights of performance. This is our hero.”

Another reader connected heresy to the heart:

“‘I’m not doing it this way any more’ is the moment when a leader decides to take a stand and push back against norms––often at great risk to their careers and reputations. ‘Heretics to Heroes’ is about the awakening of true leadership. Not a trendy new leadership ‘hack’ but a timeless reminder that the voice of your heart is evidence of your ability to lead.”

And while I’ve discussed the value of people, the role of the heretic, and my belief in storytelling as a teaching tool in previous posts, I haven’t shared why I decided to make this book so personal. The reason is pretty simple: I wrote about my life hoping to shed light on yours.

“The deeper you go into ‘Heretics to Heroes,’ the more you trust and admire Cort and see yourself in him––and ultimately, what you could be,” one reader reported.

Another reviewer wrote, “At each turn, Dial’s perspectives force the reader to consider how they would behave, how Dial himself will weather this storm and how the journey will end.”

Some have focused more on how the personal informs business, and why the All-In Leadership message resonates so strongly today:

“Cort’s path is also a critical read given the current environment, where race and ethnic differences are creating opportunities to dig a little deeper into our listening and learning skills. Cort shows us through his own travels (or is that travails?) what an open heart can see, and how that openness can be taught, learned or reinforced. Importantly, from a business perspective, he connects the value of this humanity with broad business results, and exposes us (at least briefly) to Dr. Deming’s perspective that (heretic alert!!) ‘…the things most important to quality, safety, productivity, or any human endeavor cannot be quantified.’”

In the end, while Heretics to Heroes is my story, I hope it will serve you the way it has the following reader:

“A great journey of self-exploration. I found myself finishing a chapter and reflecting on my life and career. Cort has a wonderful way of asking the questions that allow you to see yourself and your choices from a fresh new perspective.”

We are all connected to one another. I continue to learn and understand my own stories in new ways thanks to readers’ feedback––and for that, I am profoundly grateful.

Please join us in Austin on Friday, September 30 from 7 to 8 p.m. at Book People to celebrate the publication of Heretics to Heroes. Together, we are building a movement.

Let’s go All-In.


Photo by Blok 70. Used with permission via CC license 2.0.