Paul Schmitz, CEO of Public Allies has been and continues to be inspired: by his history, his work, the folks he works with -- pretty much by every element of his life. And this inspiration forms the nucleus of Everyone Leads, published by Jossey-Bass, 2011.
Everyone Leads attempts to be inspiring and for some it likely is. The stories about folks who inspired Paul or folks inspired by Public Allies, and of course, the Public Allies themselves are all inspiring and with a message. Yes, one takeaway from Everyone Leads is what an inspiring experience Public Allies is, inside and out which is also maybe the one downside I will speak to before going on at-length discussing why maybe this is a good purchase.
Everyone Leads tells as much about Public Allies as it does the principles of teaching leadership. There is so much content about Public Allies, (people, history, theory, people, history, theory etc) that the book could almost have been called "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Public Allies". Were that the title, I probably would have been less inclined to read, while not discounting that the organization has earned its reputation for good reason. But wait, it gets better...
The content of the Everyone Leads chapters generally includes a Public Allies story; key ideas & lessons; how the ideas and lessons are furthered at Public Allies; and, exercises & reflections. The key ideas & lessons and exercises & reflections are particularly helpful. If I were Mr. Schmitz, I would package these kind-of like what Jim Collins did in Good to Great for the Nonprofit Sector. There's certainly all kinds of useful "how-to's" amongst these two parts of a chapter and worth the reading if one wants to understand the five core leadership values that make for a successful Public Allies program: asset-based community development, diversity and inclusion, collaboration, continuous learning and integrity.
Should you buy the book? I'd say if you are in the business of teaching leadership, certainly. The how-to's and the self-examinations make this a worthy instructional guide. If you want to know all about Public Allies, the organization, you can find that in Everyone Leads as well. And finally, if you are looking for inspirational stories, you will have come to the right place.