Wandering Into Wisdom

This blog chronicles the knowledge, insight and wisdom I encounter every day as a leadership consultant, executive coach, educator, father, friend and citizen. This site is dedicated to my father, Louis (Jack) Laughlin, who passed on to me an appreciation for wisdom. A special thanks to my friend Isaac Cheifetz, a businessman and journalist, who helped me understand the value of blogs and encouraged me to write one.

Servant Leadership*

Although servant leadership experts have various perspectives there are a few principles that appear universally accepted. Power and responsibility should be widely distributed rather than concentrated at the top of a hierarchy. Persuasion should be the principal method of influence rather than coercion, intimidation or authoritative force. The primary role of a leader is to develop, empower and support the organization and its individual members.

Work of Art*

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Don Frick, an author I admire very much. As he talked about the vast amounts of material he has for his next project I realized that it wasn’t the quantity of facts that made his other books so remarkable but the way he told the story. In the end, the difference between work of art and a pile of junk is the arrangement.


"There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountain tops of our desires."
Nelson Mandela 1953 (35 years old)

1964 (46 years old) sentenced to life in prison
1990 (72 years old) released from prison
1994 (76 years old) elected president of a free South Africa

Secret to Wealth*

“I'd like to live as a poor man with lots of money.”
Pablo Picasso

Leadership Factory*

It is impossible to deny the pain and suffering caused by the racial oppression in South Africa during the last century. It is ironic that it would also produce two of the century’s most recognized leaders, Mohandas Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.

Global Empathy*

Bestselling author, political adviser and social commentator Jeremy Rifkin investigates the evolution of empathy and the profound ways that it has shaped our development and our society.


A poem that is said to have inspired Nelson Mandela while in prison.

Invictus (unconquered)

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley


“There never was a good knife made of bad steel.”
Benjamin Franklin