“This material profoundly changed my life.”

Ian Radziejewski M.A.Sc, co-founder and former CEO of the world’s largest mobile video security company.


“The compelling nature of this book is evidenced in the Introduction where four important questions we should all be asking ourselves are posited.

In my reading Dr. Cawood’s intent is to invoke us to think. I believe many of us reach a point in our lives where we ask ourselves who we serve and how we serve. The catalyst may be an event or a personal crisis (what the author refers to as a crunch or transition point in our lives), or, as he later concedes, a values driven reassessment of our purpose.

I was fortunate to discover The Secret Sabbatical at a time when I was exiting a work filled life and entering a new and unknown world where I owned my own time, but felt a need to make the most of the opportunity without quite knowing where to start. While not prescriptive, the book explores a framework for thinking deeply about one’s personal self, one’s responsibility, and how to begin a meaningful new journey.”

(5 stars on

R. Sharp. Seattle.


Finally, a great business book for the soul!   Over the past several decades, I have from time to time observed Dr. Cawood at work, guiding leaders to improve business behaviours; his life’s work.

He has synthesized the learning from those, and earlier, decades of practice to offer the reader memorable, clear lessons, models and metaphors. It goes to the fundamentals of the human condition, and channels the kind of healthy thinking needed to navigate the turmoil of business, today and tomorrow.

(4 stars on

Erik B Peterson. Vancouver, Canada.

The Secret Sabbatical is a dense yet engaging book about self-discovery. Through stories from the prophets, authors such as Shakespeare and modern day films such ‘As good as it gets’, author David Cawood encourages the reader to similarly undertake a journey of discovery. The book is based on his successful course of the same name.

I particularly enjoyed the story of Lord Owain, one of King Arthur’s knights who experiences the highs and lows of a career as a knight. The analogies of the Swamp, the Castle and the Garden through which Owain travels to the challenges facing all of us as we traverse the terrain of our own lives, was particularly illuminating.

The visual models in the book are also very useful in helping one explore the energy centres that drive us and how each is related.

Unlike many self-discovery books that ask reflective questions such as “What are your ultimate goals?” or “What do you dream of doing?” Cawood probes much deeper and starts at the beginning with questions such as “Who do I serve?” and “Who do I wish to serve?”  I’m sure those two questions alone could prove extremely difficult for many CEOs to answer honestly without taking the journey with Cawood.

I found that towards the latter part of the book it became more philosophical. As a very practical person, I would rather have liked to have seen more examples from people who have undertaken the course.

This book may well make you re-think who you are – at the very least it will whet your appetite to undertake the course (as it did mine).

(5 stars on

Robert Selden.


Extracts from the next review:

“This book is packed with references to scientists, novelists, playwrights, philosophers, and poets. I didn’t find Cawood’s work to be an easy read, though it was an engaging one. The multiple references were a bit distracting at times…

“My background is foreign to the corporate world, foreign to the sports world, foreign to the world of science. Actually, I have a revulsion towards these worlds, and am very grateful that I never attempted to make a career in any of them. I’m far from being an academic, but I see myself as an experienced pragmatist and a homespun philosopher.

“So, I resonated with some of the issues Cawood addresses, but did not with others. I understand pragmatically the necessity to face our shadow sides, our fears, our demons, to let go of the old tapes that can run amuck in our minds, to formulate my life course toward what I want and not to what I don’t want, to allow for silence before making a major decision, to be grateful and curious about the mystery we call “living”.

“It affirmed much that I have found to be true in my own life, would definitely be curious to participate in Cawood’s workshop of the same name as the title of this work, and will be content meanwhile to simply let the information settle and see what happens.

“Finally, having read Cawood’s ‘process’, a major call to use our imaginations, is a sign to me that there is hope in this world, which is so fraught with chaos today, that things can indeed change for the better. Cawood is reaching out to people who are thirsting for a safe transition in their lives, and he is providing the seeds to do so.

(3 stars on

Ken Stofft.


David Cawood’s The Secret Sabbatical begins a bit slowly, but it is a really good book that speaks very directly to the myopic tendencies for modern businesses to focus exclusively upon the bottom line of the next quarter and undermine the long term success of the corporation by doing so, as well as having a deleterious effect upon society as a whole and the environment. Alas, this tendency can also be seen in our personal lives and in government. The author tells us how to expand our view, awaken our perception and particularly how art and the liberal arts are important to reawakening our imaginations and seeing the world in a wider and more interconnected fashion that will benefit all of us.

Unfortunately, those who are most in need of this book and the lessons it offers seem least likely to read it and benefit from it. On the other hand, Dr. Cawood does have the credentials that they would find impressive, so there is hope.

(4 stars on

“The Silver Elves.”

1 Response to Reviews

  1. David says:

    Looks great!


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