Lead Like a Pirate: Leadership Secrets of the Pirates of St. Croix is a quick-read gem with beautiful, original illustrations that offers professional development insights for frontline leaders in a format as unique and fun as it is informative. Leadership qualities in supervisors, managers, directors or key players within any organization can often be the difference between success and failure. The problem is that most resources aimed at sharpening fundamental leadership skills are boring, mind-numbing ramblings that don’t capture a person’s imagination or interest. Lead Like a Pirate: Leadership Secrets of the Pirates of St. Croix changes that dynamic because who doesn’t love a good pirate tale.

Why pirates? Consider this introduction from the book:

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Using the backdrop of the golden age of buccaneers, Lead Like a Pirate introduces the reader to Captain Tiger-Eye Taylor and his 5 secrets for turning any crew into a high performing team. Insights are drawn not from a Jack Sparrow-type pirate but from a time when privateers ruled the seas under the flags of kings and queens and honored long-held traditions and code.

Tiger-Eye’s 5 secrets – the Captain, the Crew, the Mission, the Strategy and the Treasure – are presented in the format of a captain’s log, a narrative that gleens wisdom from historical insights. One by one, secrets are explored inside a storyline that follows Tiger-Eye’s ship, the Ebony Ghost. At the end of each chapter, the reader applies what they have learned by making a choice among competing options. Choices have consequences so at the end of the book doubloons are awarded based on the choices made. Feedback on each option is given and results lay the groundwork for further discussion and learning, especially in a group setting.

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Lead Like a Pirate is not entertainment but rather themed-learning. It uses images, tone, dialect and historical references to weave real-world professional development into an engaging storyline that holds the reader’s attention. Indeed, that is what makes Lead Like a Pirate different from traditional business books – it doesn’t preach principals, it reveals them.

The author is the father of Chocolate Pizza Company owner, Ryan Novak, so naturally Central New York’s largest chocolate maker has brought together a good book and good chocolate. “Brown Bag Lunch and Learn” puts the company’s famous Peanut Butter Wings – crisp, rippled potato chips covered in creamy peanut butter and drenched in milk or dark chocolate – along with 3 chocolate covered cookies in a brown handled bag with your choice of 4 leadership development books including, Lead Like a Pirate. The other 3 books are, Conquering Adversity: 6 Strategies to Move You and Your Team Through Tough Times, Inspired to Lead, and Inspired to Succeed – all by Ryan’s dad. “Brown Bag Lunch and Learn” is an ideal gift for the boss, a colleague, your team or department. It is a low-key way to generate healthy dialogue on leadership principals in a context where everyone can contribute.

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Chocolate Pizza Company has been featured on Food Network, Hallmark Channel, CNBC, CMT and in Forbes, People and Entrepreneur magazines. Known for its trademarked Chocolate Pizza and Peanut Butter Wings, the company makes over 150 gourmet chocolate specialties for business or personal occasions including holiday gifts. Ryan started with the company as a dishwasher when he was 15 years-old and by 21 was the owner. He has transformed a small-town chocolate shop into an emerging national brand.

Don’t confuse this book with one that came much later and piggybacked on the title but is more of a how-to handbook for teachers and school administrators. Novak’s Lead Like a Pirate is powerful themed-learning for frontline leaders in all organizations, across all industries and spot-on for businesses large and small. It is available on Chocolate Pizza Company’s website.