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No Laughing Matter


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Table of Contents

Preface 1 Contemporary Leadership Theory 2 Leading with Heart 3 Benjamin Franklin 4 Abraham Lincoln 5 Theodore Roosevelt 6 Albert Einstein 7 Winston Churchill 8 Harry Truman 9 Casey Stengel 10 Golda Meir 11 Ronald Reason 12 John F. Kennedy 13 Leadership Lessons Learned Appendix: Diagnosis References About the Author

About the Author

Robert Palestini is graduate dean emeritus and professor of educational leadership at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. He is also the founding executive director of the Educational Leadership Institute at SJU. In almost fifty years in education, he has served as a teacher, principal and superintendent of schools of one of the largest school systems in the United States. He has written more than a dozen books on various aspects of educational leadership.


I had my handwriting analyzed when it was in vogue during the late 60s. The analysis revealed that I had leadership qualities and one of my strong points was my ability to laugh at myself. Dr. Palestini's book, No Laughing Matter: The Value of Humor in Educational Leadership, reinforces my need to maintain this ability especially in my continuing development as a transformational leader. The ten leaders and their leadership styles portrayed in this book prove that the power of humor is timeless-even if handwriting has become a lost art). -- Joanne Walls, principal, Ocean City Primary School
Educators are not alone in seeking the best leadership practices and applying them to their own leadership behavior. What constitutes effective leadership seems to be on the minds of people everywhere. Dr. Robert Palestini's new book, No Laughing Matter: The Value of Humor in Educational Leadership, takes us on a journey through the lives of some of the greatest leaders in history to show us that the connection between possessing a keen sense of humor and effective leadership is indeed "no laughing matter." In my nearly 45 years in educational leadership, I have seen firsthand how humor can defuse even the tensest situations. -- Gail Avicolli, principal, Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School
Dr. Palestini's new book, No Laughing Matter: The Value of Humor in Educational Leadership, has added a new dimension to the tenets of situational leadership theory. The author's analysis of humor and the addition of the moral frame to leadership behavior resonate with educational leaders through the words and actions of the ten exemplary leaders he profiles in his book. While medicine has established the benefits of humor to physical health, Dr. Palestini proposes its value to leaders in this critical era of educational reform. -- Elizabeth Weber, director, human resources, Exeter (PA) School District
In his latest book on educational leadership and the value of humor, Dr. Robert Palestini has once again knocked the ball out of the park. He takes his readers from the late 1700s with a look at Benjamin Franklin's leadership behavior through the late 80s with Ronald Reagan and eight other prominent leaders, always focusing on their highly developed sense of humor and how it was reflected in their leadership styles. During my forty years as a school business manager, I have worked with more than two dozen superintendents, including Dr. Palestini, and without exception, those with a great sense of humor were always the more effective leaders. -- P. Thomas Padden, former business manager, Radnor (PA) School District

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