Author Joseph Marshall takes leadership lessons from Crazy Horse
Monday, February 09 2009
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Joseph_Marshall.jpgThe Power of  Four: Leadership Lessons of Crazy Horse

by Joseph Marshall III


Sterling Publishing

Publication date: January, 2009


Book reading event: February 20 at Birckbark Books

Joseph M. Marshall III (Sicangu Lakota Sioux), Lakota historian, educator, and author reminds us in his latest book, The Power of  Four:


Leadership Lessons of Crazy Horse,

that true leadership is only possible when character is more important than authority. Corporate executives know how to turn a profit, legislators and presidents hold positions of power but does that qualify them as leaders? Is anyone vested with authority automatically considered a leader?


Marshall says no.


authormarshalltakesleadership1.jpgIn his book, the author puts forth that we need to redefine our idea of  leadership altogether. What makes a good and effective leader? Marshall draws inspiration from Crazy Horse, Red Cloud and Sitting Bull to develop his concept of leadership.


He also draws his belief from a time when the Lakota people of the northern plains had the best deterrent to bad leaders; they simply refused to follow them. While Crazy Horse is best known for his skills as a military warrior, Marshall focuses on Crazy Horse’s achievements off the battlefield, where his leadership skills were most clearly built and demonstrated.


Marshall contends that Crazy Horse was connected to the environment, practiced meditation and prayer, and was a believer in the power of the number four, which Marshall says occurs everywhere in nature. From the events of Crazy Horse’s life, the author details four principles of leadership: Know Yourself, Know Your Friends, Know Your Enemies, and Take the Lead.


A consultant and lecturer on leadership skills, Marshall has developed a leadership seminar program based on the philosophies of Crazy Horse. In The Power of Four, he names current day enemies of Native people as “apathy, ethnocentrism, and racism”, and calls on Natives to follow the example of Crazy Horse. Marshall advocates that if our current leaders were to effectively address these problems, many of our other external threats would disappear. 


Marshall, who grew up on the Rosebud Sioux   Reservation in South Dakota, says he has been shaped by the influence of the land as much as by the people who were closest to it. 


Marshall has worked as both technical adviser and actor in television movies, including Return to Lonesome Dove, The Real West and Into The West.  He is a recipient of the Wyoming Humanities Award, and the Pen Center USA Beyond Margins Award for an author of color. Other awards include: the Mountain Plains Booksellers Award for Best Nonfiction – for The Day the World Ended at the Little Big Horn; the Independent Publisher Book Award for  Historical Fiction/ Military – for Hundred in the Hand; the South Dakota Author of 2006; the 2005 Mountain Plains Literary Contribution Award; and most recently, the 2008 PEN Center USA West  Literary Award for Creative Nonfiction.


Marshall’s other books include: The Day The World Ended at Little Big Horn;  Keep Going: The Art of Perseverance; The Journey of Crazy Horse; and The  Lakota Way: Stories and Lessons for Living.   

Marshall will be discussing his latest book at Birchbark Books in Minneapolis on Friday, February 20 at 7 p.m., and will be signing books afterward. The event is free and open to the public, and takes place at Birchbark Books/Isles Deli, 2115 W. 21st St., Mpls. For more information, call 612-374-4023 or visit:


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