Kellerman’s honest and astute critique makes it clear that the gurus in her own field have work to do if they want to remain...

THE END OF LEADERSHIP

A highly critical assessment of the state of American leadership and the “leadership industry” that helps produce it.

After 30 years in the leadership-training field, Kellerman (Public Leadership/Harvard Univ.; Leadership: Essential Selections on Power Authority, and Influence, 2010, etc.) writes, “we don’t know if learning how to lead wisely and well can be taught.” Yet the $50-billion leadership industry has exploded in recent decades and become “self-satisfied, self-perpetuating, and poorly policed,” while producing scant evidence of success. Instead, many business and government leaders “seem inept or corrupt” and either unable or unwilling to lead. In this valuable book, she details vast societal changes that have demeaned and downgraded leaders and altered the relationship between leaders and followers. The Internet and other advances in communication technology brought more information, encouraged greater self-expression and expanded connection. With information available instantly to everyone, followers (citizens, employees, stockholders) learned of their leaders’ faults and began questioning their authority. Information about priestly abuse, for example, has led to diminution in the Catholic Church’s institutional power, and news of business scandals has prompted distrust of corporate leaders. At the same time, followers are demanding more, emboldened by the spread of democracy, the rhetoric of empowerment and the practice of participation. To keep pace with a networked, interdependent and transnational world in which leaders are weaker and followers stronger, the leadership industry must overcome its myopia, analyze itself critically and catch up with a rapidly changing society.

Kellerman’s honest and astute critique makes it clear that the gurus in her own field have work to do if they want to remain relevant.

Pub Date: April 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-206916-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper Business

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

ECONOMIC DIGNITY

Noted number cruncher Sperling delivers an economist’s rejoinder to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Former director of the National Economic Council in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the author has long taken a view of the dismal science that takes economic justice fully into account. Alongside all the metrics and estimates and reckonings of GDP, inflation, and the supply curve, he holds the great goal of economic policy to be the advancement of human dignity, a concept intangible enough to chase the econometricians away. Growth, the sacred mantra of most economic policy, “should never be considered an appropriate ultimate end goal” for it, he counsels. Though 4% is the magic number for annual growth to be considered healthy, it is healthy only if everyone is getting the benefits and not just the ultrawealthy who are making away with the spoils today. Defining dignity, admits Sperling, can be a kind of “I know it when I see it” problem, but it does not exist where people are a paycheck away from homelessness; the fact, however, that people widely share a view of indignity suggests the “intuitive universality” of its opposite. That said, the author identifies three qualifications, one of them the “ability to meaningfully participate in the economy with respect, not domination and humiliation.” Though these latter terms are also essentially unquantifiable, Sperling holds that this respect—lack of abuse, in another phrasing—can be obtained through a tight labor market and monetary and fiscal policy that pushes for full employment. In other words, where management needs to come looking for workers, workers are likely to be better treated than when the opposite holds. In still other words, writes the author, dignity is in part a function of “ ‘take this job and shove it’ power,” which is a power worth fighting for.

A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7987-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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BEATING THE STREET

More uncommonly sensible investment guidance from a master of the game. Drawing on his experience at Fidelity's Magellan Fund, a high- profile vehicle he quit at age 46 in 1990 after a spectacularly successful 13-year tenure as managing director, Lynch (One Up on Wall Street, 1988) makes a strong case for common stocks over bonds, CDs, or other forms of debt. In breezy, anecdotal fashion, the author also encourages individuals to go it alone in the market rather than to bank on money managers whose performance seldom justifies their generous compensation. With the caveat that there's as much art as science to picking issues with upside potential, Lynch commends legwork and observation. ``Spending more time at the mall,'' he argues, invariably is a better way to unearth appreciation candidates than relying on technical, timing, or other costly divining services prized by professionals. The author provides detailed briefings on how he researches industries, special situations, and mutual funds. Particularly instructive are his candid discussions of where he went wrong as well as right in his search for undervalued securities. Throughout the genial text, Lynch offers wry, on-target advisories under the rubric of ``Peter's Principles.'' Commenting on the profits that have accrued to those acquiring shares in enterprises privatized by the British government, he notes: ``Whatever the Queen is selling, buy it.'' In praise of corporate parsimony, the author suggests that, ``all else being equal, invest in the company with the fewest photos in the annual report.'' Another bull's-eye for a consummate pro, with appeal for market veterans and rookies alike. (Charts and tabular material— not seen.)

Pub Date: March 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-671-75915-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1993

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