Last updated on August 21st, 2017There is no doubt that the author Steve Jones found inspiration for his two recently published books, Nature Based Leadership: Lessons for Living, Learning, Serving, and Leading, and Nature-Inspired Learning and Leading: Revealing and Applying Nature’s Wisdom, in his childhood. His mother, recognizing her son’s obvious interest in nature, subscribed to a nature series for him. Although he doesn’t recall the titles or the publisher, he remembers they were paperbacks that came in the mail and had text and full-color photographs with adhesives. He cherished what these books taught him about nature—from “charismatic megafauna to insects.”
He also read such magazines as Outdoor Life and Field & Stream, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain captivated him into his teens. The Call of the Wild and White Fang by Jack London were also among his favorites. Steve “spent countless hours with World Book Encyclopedia,” pouring over anything that had to do with nature—“geography, geology, weather, earthquakes, volcanoes.” He was fascinated with the weather growing up and still is. For him it’s a force and a challenge, as he writes in the essay, “Steve’s Foolish Weather Dare.”
As a first-year college student, he discovered A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold, which he calls his favorite book of all time, and he reads it every three to five years. Other chosen authors: any books by Wallace Stegner (The Big Rock Candy Mountain) and John McPhee, beginning with Basin and Range. Lately, he’s been reading The View From Lazy Point by Carl Safina; Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe by Peter D. Ward and Donald Brownlee; and Contact by Carl Sagan. And his magazine of choice is National Geography—delivered to his doorstep every month.
Steve traces the impetus to the writing of Nature Based Leadership and Nature-Inspired Leadership to his lifelong love of nature; his leadership experience in industry (forestry) and higher education; and his consulting business, The Great Blue Heron. The one book he cites as a true catalyst, however, is The Nature of Leadership, with photography by DeWitt Jones and the text by Stephen R. Covey and A. Roger Merrill.
The books, magazines, and other resources on Steve’s booklist confirm the precept he lives by: “I strive to bring nature into all that I do.” For him, leadership and nature go hand in hand.