REVIEW: Sean Lemson — One Drop of Poison (BOOK)

Colin Jordan
3 min readMay 15, 2024

Sean Lemson, ACC, CPCC’s new book is One Drop of Poison: How One Bad Leader Can Slowly Kill Your Company. As the title would suggest, the book is something of a cautionary guide to maintain good business practices, and that starts with who you elect to lead from the immediate echelons of the so-called ‘top.’


Lemson knows of what he speaks, he’s a true, bonafide expert in the fields the book falls in (leadership and business advice, self-help). Therefore, everything communicated comes across in clear, succinct prose. It’s devoid of the frantic house style even some of the most qualified individuals in specified fields can suffer from. The result is something that has the structural clarity of an MLA paper, but with startlingly emotive and even entertaining writing. “Unless you’re the owner of your company, you have a leader.

Even CEOs have leaders. The only thing that changes with the level of leader you are, is the number of people who are impacted, negatively or positively, by your leadership,” Lemson writes in aforementioned vein. “…My style can be blunt at times. It’s not that I don’t want to be your friend, it’s just that I’m that friend that cares so much that he’s willing to cut through the crap with you. If there was ever a topic that is ready for some in-your-face talk, it’s leadership.

We simply cannot afford to beat around the bush as a society any longer and, as you’ll see, you cannot afford to do that at your company either. In these pages, we’re going to face some of these hard truths together. But I’m also going to try to inject some humor along the way because why shouldn’t we face the harsh reality with a little self-deprecating laughter?”

He also states, “Toxic leaders can bring out the worst in us. They can make us toxic to our friends and loved ones. They can jeopardize our health and, collectively, the health of society. But leaders can also create an environment where people can flourish and get deep gratification from their work. Where toxicity is rooted out and guarded against for the good of everyone — including the company itself. If you are a leader, the power is in your hands.


I come to you in this book as an unrelenting spokesperson for the frustrated workers who work in your company or might even report to you. The ones patiently waiting for you to get it together as a leader so they can stop jumping from company to company. When they stay, you can finally benefit from their true creativity and dedication. Shall we open this door labeled ‘Better Leadership and Better Companies’ and walk through together?”

By making everything laid out in such a clear manner, Lemson does a service for all involved. He widens the playing field for both the book’s target audience and the more uninitiated. In the process, too, he reinforces his own superiority as a writer in this particular nonfiction field. I really appreciated his wit, candor, and genuine expertise. It’s a welcome relief to have something bonafide, in a sea of similar works that while competent can leave you cold.

Colin Jordan



Colin Jordan

Graduate: McNeese State University, Avid Beekeeper, Deep Sea Diver & Fisherman, Horrible Golfer