Essentials for any Leader’s Bookshelf
Book — Leaders: The Strategies for Taking Charge
Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus
In this illuminating study of corporate America’s most critical issue—leadership—world-renowned leadership guru Warren Bennis and his co-author Burt Nanus reveal the four key principles every manager should know: Attention Through Vision, Meaning Through Communication, Trust Through Positioning, and The Deployment of Self.
In this age of “process”, with downsizing and restructuring affecting many workplaces, companies have fallen trap to lack of communication and distrust, and vision and leadership are needed more than ever before. The wisdom and insight in Leaders addresses this need. It is an indispensable source of guidance all readers will appreciate, whether they’re running a small department or in charge of an entire corporation.
Book — Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships
In Social Intelligence, Daniel Goleman explores an emerging new science with startling implications for our interpersonal world. Its most fundamental discovery: we are designed for sociability, constantly engaged in a “neural ballet” that connects us brain to brain with those around us.
Our reactions to others, and theirs to us, have a far-reaching biological impact, sending out cascades of hormones that regulate everything from our hearts to our immune systems, making good relationships act like vitamins—and bad relationships like poisons. We can “catch” other people’s emotions the way we catch a cold, and the consequences of isolation or relentless social stress can be life-shortening. Goleman explains the surprising accuracy of first impressions, the basis of charisma and emotional power, the complexity of sexual attraction, and how we detect lies. He describes the “dark side” of social intelligence, from narcissism to Machiavellianism and psychopathy. He also reveals our astonishing capacity for “mindsight,” as well as the tragedy of those, like autistic children, whose mindsight is impaired.
The economy uncertain, education in decline, cities under siege, crime and poverty spiraling upward, international relations roiling: we look to leaders for solutions, and when they don’t deliver, we simply add their failure to our list of woes. In doing do, we do them and ourselves a grave disservice. We are indeed facing an unprecedented crisis of leadership, Ronald Heifetz avows, but it stems as much from our demands and expectations as from any leader’s inability to meet them. His book gets at both of these problems, offering a practical approach to leadership for those who lead as well as those who look to them for answers. Fitting the theory and practice of leadership to our extraordinary times, the book promotes a new social contract, a revitalization of our civic life just when we most need it. Drawing on a dozen years of research among managers, officers, and politicians in the public realm and the private sector, among the nonprofits, and in teaching, Heifetz presents clear, concrete prescriptions for anyone who needs to take the lead in almost any situation, under almost any organizational conditions, no matter who is in charge, His strategy applies not only to people at the top but also to those who must lead without authority–activists as well as presidents, managers as well as workers on the front line.
This groundbreaking volume provides the first sweeping view of followers in relation to their leaders, deliberately departing from the leader-centric approach that dominates our thinking about leadership and management. Barbara Kellerman argues that, over time, followers have played increasingly vital roles. For two key reasons, this trend is now accelerating. Followers are becoming more important, and leaders less. Through gripping stories about a range of people and places–from multinational corporations such as Merck, to Nazi Germany, to the American military after 9/11–Kellerman makes key distinctions among five different types of followers: Isolates, Bystanders, Participants, Activists, and Diehards. And she explains how they relate not only to their leaders but also to each other. Thanks to “Followership,” we can finally appreciate the ways in which those with relatively fewer sources of power, authority, and influence are consequential. Moreover, they are getting bolder and more strategic. As Kellerman makes crystal clear, to fixate on leaders at the expense of followers is to do so at our peril. The latter are every bit as important as the former, which makes this book required reading for superiors and subordinates alike.
John C. Maxwell
In the tradition of his million-seller The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, author John C. Maxwell provides a concise, accessible leadership book that helps readers become more effective leaders from the inside out. Daily readings highlight twenty-one essential leadership qualities and include “Reflecting On It” and “Bringing It Home” sections that help readers integrate and apply each day’s material.
Joshua Cooper Ramo
Today the very ideas that made America great imperil its future. Our plans go awry and policies fail. History’s grandest war against terrorism creates more terrorists. Global capitalism, intended to improve lives, increases the gap between rich and poor. Decisions made to stem a financial crisis guarantee its worsening. Environmental strategies to protect species lead to their extinction.
The traditional physics of power has been replaced by something radically different. In The Age of the Unthinkable, Joshua Cooper Ramo puts forth a revelatory new model for understanding our dangerously unpredictable world. Drawing upon history, economics, complexity theory, psychology, immunology, and the science of networks, he describes a new landscape of inherent unpredictability–and remarkable, wonderful possibility.