Book Reviews

Book by John R. Hoyle
Review by Juanita McMath
Department of Biology
The University of Alabama, at Birmingham


Advisors are leaders! When I first starting reading Hoyle’s book I thought it was more related to administrators. However, as I continued reading I found it very applicable to academic advisors and our role as mentors and leaders to our students and for our institutions. 

Hoyle discusses basic leadership, what futuring is and how it applies to leadership. He discusses how visions can come to fruition. We learn that leadership alone is not sufficient and that leaders are not born. Holye expounds on the importance of other aspects of leadership and what the difference is between a leader and a good leader and how futuring is part of this. So, what is futuring and how does it impact leadership? Hoyle states, “Futuring is an intellectual process of peering into the future through creative visioning, speculation, brainstorming, and disciplined research.” (p. 25). Making visions happen requires good leadership that can move us toward a common goal of betterment, and because change does not occur easily, as leaders we must learn how to share that future vision in a way that gives others ownership in the change process – ownership in a shared vision (p. 12-15, 27, 59-63). Hoyle includes information on motivational factors and best practices of other leaders. Holye does an excellent job in showing us these best practices through stories and experiences. Be a better leader by opening our minds to many possibilities of the future and how to take these possibilities to build shared visions that can come to fruition with caring action that is both persuasive and persistent (p. 24-25, 34, 45, 61-63, 106). Positive movement is best achieved with a team approach and more organizations are moving to a bottom-up structure from a top-down structure (a more collaborative structure) (p. 69-70, 102). Four of the most common leadership styles are briefly discussed and a self-test provided to see what kind of leader we are. If we do not know where we are, how can we improve to enable others? 

As academic advisors we have multiple opportunities to practice good leadership and futuring. We work with our students to discuss dreams and direction of academic/professional goals. We share our student’s visions for their future and work in an altruistic manner to guide them toward that realization. We work together to move the student from a present orientation to a future orientation. We are most successful in our work with others when we lead well implementing Hoyle’s strategies, in this we can go beyond meeting what is required -- striving to go beyond our visions for our institutions and students.

I highly recommended this book. Academic advisors such as myself also serve on university wide committees and are presidents of some committees. We have many opportunities to be good leaders and Leadership and Futuring is a book I would recommend. It is also recommended to administrators and others working within the academe because no work environment is static and education (Primary, Secondary or Post-secondary) is an ever-changing environment, so we must change to better serve those we work with and for. This can only be accomplished with leadership that Hoyle describes as “the servant leader” who is a clear communicator (in both words and actions) who is enthusiastic, persuasive, caring, and persistent; this leader takes actions for the betterment of others and organization (p. 34, 37, 45, 61-63, 68, 102-108).  


Leadership and futuring: Making visions happen,(2nd edition). (2007). Book by John R. Hoyle. Review by Juanita McMath. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 136 pp., $21.95, (paperback). ISBN # 9781412938488
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