Dilenschneider (Power and Influence; A Briefing for Leaders) here continues his series on the fine arts of wielding power and exercising influence. While the high-profile public-relations practitioner offers only a broad definition of power (i.e., the capacity to get things done for one's self or others), he makes a generally enlightening job of appraising its many-splendored aspects in the context of latter-day democracy. In large measure, the author's discursive, short-take perspectives reflect the outlook of those who have or had power (corporate CEOs, Mother Teresa, Henry Kissinger, et al.), the kinds of figures that would make attractive additions to any firm's client list. At any rate, relying mainly on anecdotal evidence, Dilenschneider makes valid points about the bases of power (competence, knowledge), plus its essentially transactional, collaborative, and morally neutral nature. Covered as well are the realities (information, political, socioeconomic, or otherwise) that serve as power's organizing principles: its varied forms; the means whereby those in positions of putative authority may secure the assent of diverse constituencies; the responsibility of leaders to focus on constructive ends; and even the emotional responses triggered by what could be called command performances. In brief, then, informed as well as informative insights that collectively afford a useful primer on clout's uses and abuses.
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