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By GERRY POSNER In football lingo, a great player is one who can run, pass and kick, and is often referred to as a triple threat. Howard Book does none of those things, but he is a psychiatrist, an advisor to corporations in enhancing what he calls the “emotional intelligence” of its executives, and an undercover musician. Thus, he is a triple threat in the world of careers. These areas of life give the 73-year-old Book a varied and enriched life.


Howard Book, the son of the late Dr. Norman and Tillie Book, was typical of many young men of his time and place. That is, he grew up in Winnipeg in the 1950’s and 1960’s and entered medical school at the University of Manitoba.
Like many other Jewish men, he let Winnipeg - in his case, to pursue post-graduate training in psychiatry. Book did his training in Toronto, where he went on to practice psychoanalytic psychotherapy and teach this modality as an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. Ultimately, he added an administrative role to his busy professional life when he accepted the position of Psychiatrist-in-Chief at Women’s College Hospital from 1984-1995.
Currently, at 73, Book continues his psychiatric practice and his teaching at the university - a task that might seem a daunting challenge for most people, but one that Book seems to handle easily. In fact, he seems to thrive from his workload - seeing an average of seven to ten patients a day. He has continued in this routine for over 20 years, and this prodigious work day seems to energize rather than deplete him.  
Still, even with a full plate, Howard Book has become increasingly involved in applying his psychological insights into the business world. In particular, he has developed a specialized interest in the challenges facing family-owned businesses during times of transition and succession. As a psychoanalytically informed consultant, he assists family members by helping them clearly define their overlapping and oft-times conflicting roles of ownership, management and kinship.
Using studies from the recently developed field of “emotional intelligence,” Book has also refined a process for non-family owned corporations, boards and leaders that aids them in identifying and resolving the concealed, unspoken issues that, left unrecognized, can hobble a corporation from achieving its mandate, objectives and most importantly, a level of profitability.
This technique was the subject of a book which Book, with his co-author Steven Stein, wrote, called The EQ Edge: Emotional Intelligence and Your Success. The book was a success and it launched Howard into a spin-off as a guest faculty member at the high-tiered INSEAD School of Business in Fontainebleau, France and Singapore. Although  not relatively well known in North America, INSEAD has been ranked by The Economist as the Number 1 MBA business school in the world.
Not bad for a kid from Winnipeg. Yet, some would argue, Book’s success was pre-determined in the genes as his first cousin is Gerry Schwartz, another ex- Winnipegger with a high profile in the business world.
And then there is Book’s third passion, albeit one he has little time to work on, that is: his harmonica. Although surprisingly bashful about his “blues harp,” Book is not bashful enough to avoid playing publicly! He has performed mostly in bars at fundraisers in California and in Toronto. As Book quipped, “It’s always amazing the amount of money people will pay just to get me to stop playing.” Book comes to the shows with his own 1930’s suit, red patent leather shoes and black sunglasses. It must be quite a sight to see this psychiatrist, academician and business advisor in his outfit, on stage, performing on his blues harp.
With all of this on his plate, Book is quick to acknowledge that none of it would likely have developed without the benefit of his growing up in Winnipeg. Book calls Winnipeg a “unique place.” He states that it had an invisible but profound influence on him, whether it was the cold, the close relationships with friends or just listening to US radio stations late at night, when he was introduced to early rock and roll, blues, jazz and country music.
“These dynamics probably prepared me well for the academic aspects of my current life.” And the radio shows no doubt inspired his musical career.  Winnipeg still has significant meaning for him even now as he has his sister Bonnie there, his cousin Dr. Brian Book, and friends in Brent Schacter and his wife Sora Ludwig; Bryan Klein and wife Susan; Neil Cutler and spouse Janet; and Sid Robinovitch. The essence of Winnipeg flows through the veins of Howard Book; that is clear.
Today Book, husband to Linda, father of two grown sons, and now a first-time grandfather is one busy boy. That he was unavailable for this interview for a long period of time, is quite understandable. He does a lot, but he lights up in all of his three careers. If he is this involved at 73, who can predict what lies ahead for him at 83?

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