May 11

Daybreakers – Willem Defoe, Ethan Hawke, Sam Neill

In the year 2019, an unknown plague has transformed the world’s population into vampires. As the human population nears extinction, so does the blood supply. Now the vampires must find a blood substitute before time runs out. Researcher Edward Dalton and a clandestine group of vampires have made a remarkable discovery, one which has the power to save the human race.

May 18

Extraordinary Measures – Harrison Ford, Brendan Fraser

On the fast track and ready to taste the success of corporate America, John Crowley walks away from it all in hopes of finding a cure for two of his fatally ill children. With his wife Aileen by his side, he teams up with brilliant but unconventional scientist Dr. Robert Stonehill, and together they form a company to develop a life-saving drug. But just when it appears that a solution may be found, the relationship between the men is tested and the fate of John’s children is at stake.

Invictus – Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon

Nominated for two Oscars

Newly elected President Mandela knows his nation remains racially and economically divided in the wake of apartheid. Believing he can bring his people together through the universal language of sport, Mandela rallies South Africa’s underdog rugby team as they make an unlikely run to the 1995 World Cup Championship match.

I have long been fascinated by Nelson Mandela — intrigued by how an individual could endure 27 years in prison and then become South Africa’s charismatic leader during a critical phase in its history.  Though not a biography, this compact book, subtitled Fifteen Lessons on Life, Love, and Courage, gives us insights into the man’s character and allows us to easily absorb some of his life’s essentials truths.  Here are a few examples:

  • Courage is Not the Absence of Fear
  • Have a Core Principle
  • See the Good in Others
  • Know When to Say “No”

The author, Richard Stengel, editor of Time magazine, spent nearly three years with Mandela, eating with him, traveling with him and watching him interact with other dignitaries — and it shows.  Stengel obviously has deep affection for his subject, and he uses events in Mandela’s life  to illustrate the lessons — how as a child, Mandela was raised by a tribal king as a companion for his own son — how he became a freedom fighter and seldom saw his own family —  and how he found new love and remarried at the age of eighty.

I enjoyed this easy-to-read book and would recommend it not only to adults eager to gain new leadership skills, but also as an appropriate gift for those soon-to-be graduates on your list.