Remembering Jerry: The Gift of Time

It’s been four years since – sadly – Gerald M. “Jerry” Weinberg passed away. Ever since then, I struggled with some public mourning about him, until recently I had just the right idea. On a weekly basis, I will publish a review of a book I read that Jerry either wrote himself or is about some of his work. One of the final physical books I recall reading is about Jerry’s work, not written by him, but by his students: The Gift of Time, edited by Fiona Charles with contributions from James Bach, Michael Bolton, Esther Derby, Naomi Karten, Tim Lister, Johanna Rothman, Dani Weinberg, his wife, and more. My copy of the book is copyrighted in 2008 and published by Dorset House.

“Life is long, some lives are not long enough,” I recall a tweet from Michael Bolton when Jerry was first diagnosed with cancer. The title of this book fits here as well. The chapters in this book were brought together for Jerry’s 75th birthday and mostly deal with lessons from attendees of his Problem-solving Leadership (PSL) class.

Having attended PSL myself, it’s hard to share what you will learn when attending a PSL since every learning is personal for that person. Your experiences and what you bring to your attendance are what will shape your lessons from PSL. I can share mine, yet, yours will be totally different.

The stories in this book keep true to the essence of PSL. While you might come across elements of the 5,5 days course, they are not revealing anything about PSL, yet, bring you into the minds of the people attending while they are having their PSL lesson.

You can read about the PSL that took place in early September 2001, and how the trainers made room for calls to relatives in New York City. What I grasped from this experience report is that they shifted the whole course to incorporate the circumstances happening in the world.

Reading through these stories made some lessons forgotten to me alive again. Even if you have not (yet?) attended PSL, you will learn from the shared learnings of prior attendees. I personally think it’s the next best thing besides attending PSL in person.

Some personal gem

My copy of the book was signed, I think by Michael Bolton on one of the occasions I met him in person.

I recall that I mentioned to Michael once that I would be humbled to meet Jerry in person, and he recommended attending PSL to make that happen. That’s probably why I asked Michael to sign my copy of these PSL stories.

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