In the busy life of an avid reader it is a rare occasion that a single book leaves a lasting impression as having said something new and unique. Robert Fuller’s Somebodies and Nobodies: Overcoming the Abuse of Rank is such a book.
In Somebodies and Nobodies, Fuller takes a hard look at the role of a profound experience of discrimination in our lives. He identifies rankism as an abuse of power that we are all subject to and guilty of. "An unheralded, unnamed revolution is unfolding in our midst. Everywhere, people are becoming less willing to put up with disrespect. And like all revolutions, this one is about the distribution of power." (Fuller, 2004, p. 101) As coaches we will find this book immeasurably valuable.
We seek in our own lives to diminish the power of the inner critic and to strengthen our own sense of dignity. We also support our clients in the same efforts. Understanding the subtleties of rankism in our culture will go a long way to ferret out situations in our lives that cause us to feel "less than" and how to respond to them. We must be willing to see the situations in which we cause others to feel "less than" and correct our behavior. Indignity signals an abuse of power – or put the other way round, the abuse of power is incompatible with the principle of human dignity." (Fuller, 2004, p. 103)
I had the occasion to meet Robert at a discussion group recently. The humble former president of Oberlin College spoke freely about his own experiences of having been on both sides of the abuse of rank and he is nimble in his ability to help us each discover our own. He invites us to take responsibility for how we express our relationship to rankism.
Because coaching is inherently humanistic in its goals I believe that every coach will benefit from reading this book and sharing it with clients.
Robert Fuller's book, Somebodies and Nobodies, is being offered as a premium to our members as a result of the generosity of your Board Treasurer, Ruth Ann Harnisch. Ruth Ann has been a board member for less than a year and during her tenure has not only offered great wit and wisdom, but enormous financial support of the IAC. One of Ruth Ann's nonprofit projects, Thrillionaires, is an IAC corporate sponsor. In addition, Ruth Ann has personally underwritten many of the expenses of the IAC and to date is the largest financial contributor to the IAC, surpassing Thomas's original grant of $25,000 to get the IAC started. Ruth Ann is a social innovator who likes to promote and create new ways of doing things in order to make the world a better place, and she does that through her professional coaching and philanthropy. You might have seen her on Oprah, or the Today Show, or perhaps you heard her being interviewed on the radio in your city. She's the president of the Harnisch Family Foundation, and serves on the board of the Thomas J. Leonard Memorial Foundation. The IAC owes a profound debt of gratitude to Ruth Ann for her amazing financial and energetic generosity!
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