For what it is worth, I struggled to write this book for several years. Unlike much of my writing, which tends to come easily and without fear, I have been afraid of this work – and that fear has posed multiple obstacles. The fear comes in the form of questions. Can I or anything I write be worthy of the twenty-eight individuals who shared their life stories and insights with me? I am so grateful to all of them, yet incredibly awed by their accomplishments and status in the world of management scholarship. How could anything I write possibly be worthy? The first fear, then, is that of failing to live up to the standards that any one of the people whose stories constitute the content of this book would have set for themselves and their own work.
Then there is the fear of success, coupled with the fear of failure. What if this book succeeds in capturing the thesis that I wanted to capture, that of how the work of intellectual shamans matters to the world – and that more of us, many more of us, need to follow in their paths? …Followed by the fear of failure. And then what if no one listens? What, as is likely, if nothing changes? Alternatively, what if this work generates the very controversy that I hope it does? Do I have the courage to live with that?