The Carpenter Book Review: A Story About the Greatest Success Principles of All

Posted by Kristin Arnold on December 19, 2022

I was recently facilitating a strategic planning meeting when the CEO announced that she had read the book, “The Carpenter: A Story About the Greatest Success Principles of All” by Jon Gordon – and that she wanted to lead the company based on the three core principles of the book:  Love, Serve, and Care.

This CEO is already a pretty remarkable woman, so I had to buy the book, and I’m glad I did!

The core concept of this short fable business book is that you’ll be more successful and lead a more fulfilling life when you focus on the process vs. the end results.  By loving the work that you do, serving others, and caring about each and every person you connect with, the results will follow.

If you can get past the biblical allusions (the mentor is a carpenter named J. Emmanuel – wonder if he was born in a stable?), this book packs a punch.  Reading time is less than an hour, and I highly recommend some reflection time in between a few chapters.

Here are some of the key points:

Don’t just be a carpenter; be a craftsman.  Rather than approaching work as a job that needs to get done quickly, be concerned about what you are creating.  “I pour my heart and soul into everything I build, knowing that all I create is a reflection of me.”

Be optimistic.  “What you believe will become what is true.”

Talk to yourself rather than listen to yourself.  Feed yourself with positive words and encouragement rather than listen to negative thoughts.

Do everything with love.  “Do not fear failing.  Do not fear losing clients. Do not fear that you won’t be successful.  Do not fear that things won’t go your way.  Instead, do everything with love and you will cast out fear, you will flow instead of stress, and you will create more success than you could ever imagine.”

Look for opportunities to serve others.  “Ask your employees what they need and serve them. Anticipate their needs and serve them before they even know they need it.  Ask your customers what they need from you to be the best.”

Teach your team to serve each other.  “Great teammates serve the team more than themselves.  When a team is more committed to serving one another rather than their own selfish desires, they become very powerful and accomplish amazing things.”

Find unique ways to show you care and make it a habit.  “It may seem like a small gesture but it means everything [to the recipient].”

It starts with the leader.  “Great organizations that care are composed of people who care greatly – and it starts with you.  Not because you are the leader of the company, but because one person who cares inspires everyone around them to care.”

The carpenter/author cautions that this is not a quick-fix solution to an organization’s problems, but by having the courage to persevere and continue to love, serve, and care, you’ll see great results.

At least have the courage to read the book and have your team discuss how it might apply!

Related Articles:

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KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CSP, CPF|Master has been facilitating meaningful conversations between executives and managers to make better decisions and achieve extraordinary results for 25+ years. She's a leading authority on moderating panel discussions and passionate about finding the perfect olive to complement a vodka martini.

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