The Dying Art of Leadership: How Leaders Can Help Grieving Employees Excel at Work by Guy Casablanca and Anthony Casablanca

When you pick up a book and just want to hold it in your hand for a moment to absorb the message, because the cover is so pleasantly appealing, you know the contents will woo you. The cover of this book is inspirational. Inside, the authors are introduced first. So, before you even get started reading the book, you feel like you’re sitting with a friend over coffee in a cozy room with firelight and soft music flowing. The sense of comfort gained from this simple aspect of the book was an uplifting realization. I hadn’t expected to feel the cozy remnants of friendship in a book about training leaders. But, I did. By the time I got to the Author’s Reading Suggestions, this burly he-man adventurer had a tear in his eye, because the authors had already become real to me. I could feel their presence. Was that their intent? I opted to follow their guide for reading the book by skipping through first and reading what resonated with me. I found the chapter defining types of loss to be most appealing, I wanted to know what types of loss were profound enough to need a mentor. Although, I probably already knew… I started reading there first.

“If there ever comes a day where we can’t be together, keep me in your heart. I’ll stay there forever.” —A. A. Milne, author of Winnie the Pooh

Before I got to Chapter Two, the above quote appeared on a page. I can identify with Winnie the Pooh. I’m just a big teddy bear in the real world. Then I began to read. Love. Grief. Loss. These are personal to me. I understand what it means to lose someone close to you, to hold them as they die in your arms. The profound comprehension of death and dying is not lost on me. I get it. But grief. Through all my losses, I don’t think I had ever processed grief in such a real and personal way until I read this chapter on the types of loss.


The process of digging up old emotions, of relating current death to past deaths, and repeating the grieving process over and over again, pulled me in. I could relate to this. Not only as a person who has lost many in his life, but also as a leader who has watched others lose someone in their life. The variables of grieving as compared to celebrating a moment were brought into play with a comprehension so real that I sat in my chair leaning into a pillow as I read. A torrent of swelling emotion brought me to tears of understanding. Life is fleeting, and grief lingers. Guy and Anthony Casablanca, co-founders of GriefLeaders, know how to bring the grieving process to life and move you through it. I have been profoundly changed by reading this book.

After reading that one chapter, I felt such an incredible desire to learn coping mechanisms that I went back and started at the beginning. I want to be able to lead others through the grieving process, and this book has taught me that. I am profoundly grateful to Guy and Anthony Casablanca for writing this book. It will be a desktop standard.

by John David, approved by Clay Burton