REVIEW: Tsun-Yan Hsieh and Huijin Kong — Positive Influence (BOOK)

Colin Jordan
3 min readOct 4, 2023

If I had to sum up Tsun-Yan Hsieh and Huijin Kong’s new book in a short sentence, it would be this. Simply put, mind over matter. With the release of Positive Influence: The First and Last Mile of Leadership, Hsieh and Kong are able to implement self-empowerment philosophy with leadership advice, bringing unnaturally strong narrative focus of two, typically diametrically opposed thinks.

They’re able to make all the plates spin without one faction or another threatening to overwhelm. The core ideological focus of Positive Influence: The First and Last Mile of Leadership is ‘Influence’. Hsieh and Kong write about how ‘Influence’ essentially is a terminological marker for all of the core tenets making up their sociocorporate philosophy. They make a compelling case for how influence, in effect, is the wheel that turns productivity, industry, innovation, and invention. It also is the wheel turning one’s own ability to compete, within personal and professional milieus.

“Influence can be used for good and for evil, for selfish reasons or for the collective good,” Hsieh and Kong write. “…There’s a Chinese saying that to get the tiger’s cubs, you need to go into the tiger’s den (不入虎穴,焉得虎子)… Defining the right positive outcomes worthy of putting yourself on the line for is just the beginning of the work of a conscious influencer. The skilled design and execution of an influence attempt considers the context, stakeholders, and your own being during planning while also remaining open- minded during the influence attempt.

BUY THE BOOK: https://www.amazon.com/Positive-Influence-First-Last-Leadership/dp/1944660569

This book guides you through the mastering of preparation to execution, if you practice using your own situations and the cases in this book.” They also write, “…We can choose what kinds of outcomes to aim for, no matter how challenging the circumstances. Whether we exercise that choice doesn’t depend on authority or power but rather on our values, courage, and attitudes… A good influence starts with the outcomes — not just what you want, but also from the perspectives of others affected and the system (e.g., company, family, industry) as a whole. This takes, with deliberate practice, skilled execution that considers the context, stakeholders, and your own being.”

The quotes expertly showcase the balancing act narratively Hsieh and Kong are able to maintain throughout the course of the read. There’s never the sense of things slacking, ideas faltering, or even the passages themselves not excelling in widespread, communicatory ability. Hsieh and Kong are entirely confident and competent in that which they speak of, and because of that they’re able to write in a relaxed, assured, and straightforward manner. “Despite how challenging a crisis or failure might start off being, there is always a direction that increases shared productivity, satisfaction, and growth…

Working in service of shared productivity, satisfaction and growth is not easy, but doable because human beings have evolved newer parts of the brain (namely the frontal cortex)… The work for productivity, satisfaction, and growth starts with individual choice, to not take the easy road, but have the courage to take the path less traveled.”

Colin Jordan

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Colin Jordan

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