New book shares ‘humanity perspective’ | Feature stories

People and horses must be treated with respect.

This idea is emphasized in “Cowboys & Conductors: Conversations on Horseman-Humanship”, a book by Dustin Davis and Paul Jan Zdunek.

The two will discuss their book and sell and sign copies of it as part of LitFest Pasadena on Saturday, May 14 at Pasadena Presbyterian Church.

During LitFest Pasadena, writers, poets, publishers and political leaders engage audiences in conversations about literature and major societal issues.

In “Cowboys & Conductors”, Zdunek and Davis share experiences they have learned from their careers. Zdunek, who lives in Glendale, is the former conductor of the Pasadena Symphony and Pops. Now he is a professional in change management and a certified exit planning consultant for dysfunctional organizations.

During Zdunek’s tenure with the symphony, he helped it recover after nearly closing after 80 years.

Davis is a cowboy, instructor, auctioneer, and clinician who was born and raised in Colorado. Now he lives on a ranch in Chino Hills with his family, he owns and operates a horse barn and travels around the country teaching horse clinics for young people.

The two men met when Davis got Zdunek’s help set up his ranch as a professional business.

Zdunek said the two quickly discovered that they have a similar approach – personally and professionally. He quickly learned that Davis’ horse whispering techniques reflect the way Zdunek treats his clients.

“You do not pull them kicking and screaming,” Zdunek said.

“You have to figure out what they need, where they are, where they’re going, and take them by the hand and move them.”

“Cowboys & Conductors” came out in March and shares their conversations about leadership. The book also outlines “Gray Leadership,” a style the two developed based on their views and approaches to being good leaders.

Readers are given challenges that they can solve in their work or private lives. For example, they are asked to bring an abstract work of art into a staff meeting as a point of discussion.

“It not only makes them say, ‘This is what I see, or what I think it is,’ but it defends their position on why they think the object is what it is, “said Zdunek.

“There is no right or wrong answer, but it makes people think creatively and curiously. It also teaches everyone that life is not black and white. There is no right or wrong answer. That’s what you make and bring to it, and what your experience is. ”

The ideas outlined in “Cowboys & Conductors” can be used in personal or professional life, as individuals need to adapt to change.

“You don’t have to be a leader,” he said.

“You do not have to be in business. You just have to be a human being. It really focuses on the ‘humanity’ of our lives and how to better connect with each other in each of these areas. Whether you work with horses or humans or just want better relationships with your friends or family, then this is a book for you. ”

Zdunek said that too many people give themselves membership. For example, he said: “I’m a certain religion, so that’s what I believe in. Or I’m a certain political affiliation, so I believe in that. We use them almost as defense systems, so we do not have to think about the gray We do not have to think about the nuance.

“To be a good leader is to allow yourself to enjoy the gray, enjoy it and find out what forms come from it. Even how we identify is complicated. Gray is really about allowing everything to exist. in the same room. “

Zdunek said strong leaders need to have a strong foundation and be curious, creative and committed.

A gray leader must also be open to working with people with different views and make an effort to get to know them on a deeper human level.

“‘Gray leadership’ is really about understanding every single person in front of you,” Zdunek said.

“I’m not saying they are like that, or they are like that, and that’s how they are likely to be, or what they think. Everyone is different.”

Neither Zdunek nor Davis had written a book, but they are fans of self-help and leadership books. “Cowboys & Conductors” each share their voice.

“We thought of uniting it, but it’s better in its raw form so you can hear the personalities on the page,” Zdunek said.

“Cowboys & Conductors” crosses the genres of self-help and leadership, as well as biography. Zdunek said he and Davis explore complex topics but present them so that they are easy to understand.

“We wanted to make it very simple, so it’s interesting for CEOs as well as young children trying to figure out how to work with each other on the playground,” Zdunek said.

The two authors are developing an immersive ranch experience for team building experiences such as learning to care for horses. They will also develop their leadership skills by using “Gray Leadership.”

Dustin Davis and Paul Jan Zdunek

WHEN: 13.30 to 14.30 on Saturday 14 May

WHERE: LitFest Pasadena and Pasadena Presbyterian Church,

585 E. Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena

COST: Available


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