THE DYING ART OF LEADERSHIP was written as a reference guide to leading grieving or emotionally traumatized employees in the workplace, but I think this book would be beneficial to other leaders as well, especially in religious organizations, missionaries, homes for the elderly, and everyone else. If we could all understand the emotional instability that happens when one is experiencing loss, there would be more empathy and compassion in the world.

Written with a poetic undertone, the sensitivity by which this book was written helps the reader to stop and listen.

“… when we grieve over something, we digress into the sadness of everything we have ever lost in our lifetime.”

 Guy Casablanca explains that though he isn’t a grief therapist, he is a funeral director and the number of people he meets and consuls who are going through the grieving process far surpasses those a therapist might see. “…unlike grief counselors, psychologists, and therapists, I encounter people’s grief in the moment the loss has occurred.” Page 29.

 “… I deal with grieving people in their most emotional state, and I have to break news to them that they may not want to hear, such as “I’m sorry, but due to the extensive nature of your mom’s accident, I would not recommend seeing her in her current condition.” I also need to do all this while I write up a contract for funeral services and gracefully ask them for a check to pay for it all.”


 THE DYING ART OF LEADERSHIP addresses important issues that any employer should not only be aware of, but for the sake of their employees and their organization, know how to address and help those going through the trauma. Casablanca covers much in this 138 page guide simply and compassionately beginning with the types of losses that occur and the effects that each one of those types of losses has on a person. We’ll recognize them as being Natural, Anticipated, and Expected Losses. Examples are given of each. Among other things, the authors address the process of funerals, and how colleagues might also be affected by the loss, something leaders/employers should be aware of. The book also includes a chapter on estate planning and how employers can help their employees take preventive measures to avoid undue stress at a time of loss.

We’ve all heard advice on what not to say to someone experience grief. Casablanca offers positive ways one might approach someone who is grieving, listing a few general excerpts that would be appreciated. These are included in the chapter about aftercare.

The book continues on to address leadership skills and approaches in general.

The book is arranged professionally and there’s a flow to the text that is engaging. The summaries at the end of the chapters are professionally written bulleted points that allow for easy reference, and Casablanca even recommends a reading schedule so that you get the most out of this book.


In essence, the compassion that THE DYING ART OF LEADERSHIP is written gives it validation enough. I even shed a tear or two, which is good because the purpose of the book is to help anyone in a leadership position understand how loss effects individuals and how they can help people get through it without further trauma. It’s a good book and deserves five stars.

DL Gardner