An insightful and practical leadership guide that requires careful study.

TALKING TOWARD TRUTH

INSPIRING NEW OPTIONS THROUGH DIALOGUE

Whether readers are CEOs or parents, leadership can be learned through a model that sparks effective conversations, according to this debut manual. 

After decades of focusing on leadership development, Rogers became intrigued by the fact that some executives get powerful results while other gifted personalities fail to influence others. The author maintains that a well-meaning but mistaken rush to authoritarianism or commiseration, especially in today’s polarized atmosphere, creates obstacles to open exchange and innovation. To counter the myths about personality and workplace culture, Rogers, a senior consultant at a global firm, offers this “study about dialogue in life and business.” In a world of increasing change, the author asserts, it becomes impossible for individuals or even groups to comprehend all the factors that come into play in dialogues and decisions. In addition, the natural human inclination is to “listen” in order to criticize, to gather information in order to bolster one’s already formed conclusion, and to speak in order to defend one’s biases. Rogers proposes a dialogical mindset—his t3 model—that leads to a true exchange, resulting in mutual collaboration and new ideas. This is a results-oriented, transformative dialogue involving inner discussions and conversations with others that breaks through the static concepts of teams and personalities and draws on four “voices”: curiosity, empathy, transparency, and authority. The 10 chapters are accompanied by helpful diagrams of various “dialogic space” variants showing roles and relationships, skill maps, sample conversations, self-surveys, and many real-world examples. Useful endnotes and commentary conclude the book. The strength of the manual is not only in Rogers’ fourfold model, but also his profound understanding of human foibles. He effectively warns against the pitfall of applying his system haphazardly or too quickly. Readers, even with the best of intentions, will likely slip back into their preferred “voices,” so the author spends a great deal of time deftly explaining the model, including the difference between telling oneself “I’m listening” and achieving real, active empathy. In addition, an entire chapter skillfully explores breakdowns in dialogue. Rogers emphasizes that there are no quick answers; this valuable model takes a lot of continuous work. 

An insightful and practical leadership guide that requires careful study.

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-975987-95-4

Page Count: 264

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2018

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

THE LAWS OF HUMAN NATURE

A follow-on to the author’s garbled but popular 48 Laws of Power, promising that readers will learn how to win friends and influence people, to say nothing of outfoxing all those “toxic types” out in the world.

Greene (Mastery, 2012, etc.) begins with a big sell, averring that his book “is designed to immerse you in all aspects of human behavior and illuminate its root causes.” To gauge by this fat compendium, human behavior is mostly rotten, a presumption that fits with the author’s neo-Machiavellian program of self-validation and eventual strategic supremacy. The author works to formula: First, state a “law,” such as “confront your dark side” or “know your limits,” the latter of which seems pale compared to the Delphic oracle’s “nothing in excess.” Next, elaborate on that law with what might seem to be as plain as day: “Losing contact with reality, we make irrational decisions. That is why our success often does not last.” One imagines there might be other reasons for the evanescence of glory, but there you go. Finally, spin out a long tutelary yarn, seemingly the longer the better, to shore up the truism—in this case, the cometary rise and fall of one-time Disney CEO Michael Eisner, with the warning, “his fate could easily be yours, albeit most likely on a smaller scale,” which ranks right up there with the fortuneteller’s “I sense that someone you know has died" in orders of probability. It’s enough to inspire a new law: Beware of those who spend too much time telling you what you already know, even when it’s dressed up in fresh-sounding terms. “Continually mix the visceral with the analytic” is the language of a consultant’s report, more important-sounding than “go with your gut but use your head, too.”

The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-42814-5

Page Count: 580

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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