Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance

By · Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Date Read: March 1, 2009

Book Title: Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance

Book Author: Tony Dungy with Nathan Whitaker

Book Publisher: Tyndale House/2009

Nonfiction/260 pages

Uncommon was the fifth book I finished reading in 2009.

Reasons I read Uncommon:

I have been a fan of Tony Dungy’s leadership style ever since I saw profiles of him during the Super Bowl for the 2006 season. He was then coaching the Colts to a victory and using his fame to express how his faith contributed to leadership and success. I read the biography that followed, titled Quiet Strength. When I saw that he had published Uncommon, I asked my wife to send it to me.

What  I Learned From Reading Uncommon:

As a long-term prisoner, I have always looked for mentors from whom I could learn leadership skills and techniques. Life inside these boundaries bombards all prisoners with negative influences. To overcome them, we must find role models from whom we can absorb values that are more consistent with the lives we want to lead. Although I have been blessed with many wise mentors who have come into my life, I’ve also relied upon literature to help me through the decades of imprisonment I would serve.

In Uncommon, Tony Dungy followed up his memoir with a book of guidance. He divided the 31 chapters of the book into seven parts, each of which focused on a different set of values. I felt as though I’ve been living according to the values that Tony Dungy extolled. Reading through his descriptions and the ways in which they have influenced his leadership, however, convinced me that I needed to work harder at keeping both balance and perspective in my life.

I know that I obsess over preparations that I feel I must make to overcome the challenges that I expect to confront upon release. I expect to be in my late 40s when prison doors will open for me, and I know that my earning years will be limited. I must prepare for the years when I will not have as much strength or energy and make up for the decades I’ve served as a prisoner. This book has helped me acknowledge that God has opened numerous opportunities for me to grow through prison; I must have more faith that God will continue to guide me through whatever challenges that await my release.

How Reading Uncommon Will Contribute to My Success Upon Release:

My objective has always been to emerge from prison with skills and values that will enable me to make meaningful contributions to the world. Reading books like Tony Dungy’s Uncommon help me learn from others who make similar commitments. Although I live as a prisoner, I know that by living a goal-centered and values-based life, I can inspire others around me to do the same. Uncommon has reinforced these convictions.

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