Reboot Book Summary - Reboot Book explained in key points
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Reboot summary

Jerry Colonna

Leadership and the Art of Growing Up

4.4 (82 ratings)
22 mins

Brief summary

"Reboot" by Jerry Colonna is a guide to finding fulfillment and success in both personal and professional lives. With personal stories and exercises, it helps readers confront their fears and overcome the obstacles that prevent them from achieving their true potential.

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    To face up to our problems as business leaders, we first need to learn radical self-inquiry.

    At the leadership workshops that author Jerry Colonna runs across the United States, a CEO will sometimes interrupt him and demand a quick fix to her problems.

    As a high-powered executive, she just can’t understand why her world seems to be falling apart. She wants to know the “One Quick Trick” to remedy this feeling of professional anxiety or helplessness. But Jerry tells her, kindly but firmly, that there is no immediate fix, no “One Quick Trick” that will solve it.

    What he recommends instead is called radical self-inquiry.

    This process is often difficult for CEOs and business leaders. To rise to the very top of an organization, or to make it as an entrepreneur, requires a certain degree of mental toughness. This means hiding deeper feelings, locking up vulnerability – focusing only on the practical how of running an organization and forgetting the more fundamental why. 

    What can happen, then, is that underlying psychological problems begin to accumulate and make themselves felt in the workplace. This might manifest in overbearing professional oversight, a lack of connection with the team, or irrational, emotive decisions.

    To understand these problems, leaders need to go right back to the roots of who they are. They need to move beyond the illusory stories they tell about themselves and look at the difficult truths that have shaped them.

    As the author has found at his workshops, the reason why a high-powered executive may feel anxious often isn’t because of something specific in running an organization, but because of unresolved trauma from childhood. A hectoring father. A whole year at school being bullied. Poverty. Loneliness.

    When the author conducted his own radical self-inquiry after a personal crisis in 2002, he found that his feelings of professional anxiety were linked to his poverty as a child growing up in Queens. Even though he’d become successful, he was still troubled by the latent memory of having little to eat or the ferocious arguments he witnessed his parents having over money. What was driving him, but also fuelling terrible anxiety, was this old fear of being left with nothing.

    So rather than digging desperately through management books to solve seemingly inscrutable problems, we need to pause, take a deep breath – then peer beneath the surface into who we really are.

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    What is Reboot about?

    Reboot (2019) shows us that to become better leaders, we must first become better human beings. Through the process of radical self-inquiry, Jerry Colonna asks us to reflect deeply on all of the things that have shaped us and continue to influence our professional behavior. Drawing from raw personal experience, he guides us toward a more rooted, humane form of leadership.

    Reboot Review

    Reboot (2019) is an insightful book by Jerry Colonna that offers a roadmap for finding purpose and fulfillment in our professional lives. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Full of real-life experiences and personal anecdotes, it provides a relatable and authentic perspective on the challenges we face in our careers.
    • It offers practical exercises and tools to help readers develop self-awareness, overcome obstacles, and create a path towards a more meaningful work life.
    • With its emphasis on self-reflection and the importance of mental and emotional well-being, it goes beyond traditional career advice and encourages readers to redefine success on their terms.

    Best quote from Reboot

    Leading and living in this unsheltered way invites us to take our seats as the most caring, most calm voice in the room – in our relationships, our families, our companies, and our communities.

    —Jerry Colonna
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    Who should read Reboot?

    • CEOs struggling with existential crises
    • Businesspeople who’d like to learn how to slow down
    • Anyone who wishes to be a humane leader

    About the Author

    Jerry Colonna is the CEO and cofounder of, an executive coaching firm, whose main focus is developing leaders with humanity, resilience and flair. He also cofounded Flatiron Partners, one of the most successful early-stage investment programs in New York, and is a former partner at JPMorgan Partners. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.

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    Reboot FAQs 

    What is the main message of Reboot?

    The main message of Reboot is to embrace vulnerability, deep introspection, and empathy to become a better leader and live a more fulfilling life.

    How long does it take to read Reboot?

    The estimated reading time for Reboot varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just a few minutes.

    Is Reboot a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Reboot is a valuable read for anyone in a leadership role or looking to enhance their personal growth. It offers practical insights and actionable advice on leadership and self-discovery.

    Who is the author of Reboot?

    Reboot is written by Jerry Colonna.

    What to read after Reboot?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Reboot, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Leadership Is an Art by Max De Pree
    • Friday Forward by Robert Glazer
    • Primal Leadership by Daniel Goleman
    • 7 Strategies for Wealth & Happiness by Jim Rohn
    • How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes
    • True North by Bill George
    • Think Remarkable by Guy Kawasaki & Madisun Nuismer
    • Supercommunicators by Charles Duhigg
    • Excellent Advice for Living by Kevin Kelly
    • Third Millennium Thinking by Saul Perlmutter