PEAK PERFORMERS: The New Heroes of American Business by Charles A. Garfield

PEAK PERFORMERS: The New Heroes of American Business

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A tediously intense and exhortative inquiry into what makes achievers run--at all levels of Corporate America's hierarchies. As a young computer programmer at Grumman, Garfield was impressed by the productive dedication of his fellows to the goal of putting a man on the moon. So impressed, in fact, that he left to earn a doctorate in clinical psychology and launch an enterprise called the Performance Sciences Institute. In addition to pursuing studies of individual excellence, this organization offers commercial goods and services--audio/visual training material, seminars, keynote presentations, et al. More than 500 interviews later, Garfield claims to have isolated six traits shared by most so-called peak performers. In plain English, these less-than-astonishing attributes are: purposefulness (""missions that motivate""); a sense of priorities (""results in real time""); discipline (""self-management through self-mastery""); the ability to collaborate effectively (""team building/team playing""); a talent for avoiding blind alleys (""course correction""); and the capacity to anticipate as well as respond to change (""change management""). Using a handful of corporate celebrities and a host of lesser lights as exemplars, Garfield hammers away at dreary length on the power of these cardinal virtues, which in less trendy times might have been labeled commitment, perseverance, vision, initiative, leadership, or simply pride in one's work. His cast of characters is of some marginal interest, ranging from Victor Kiam (of Remington shaver notoriety) and the Weider brothers (who, apparently unbeknownst to Garfield, have agreed to reimburse thousands of customers for falsely advertised muscle-building pills) through a Miami-based exterminator (named ""Bugs"" Burger) whose employee turnover is well below industry norms. An off-peak performance, of interest mainly to true believers in cando inspirational fare.

Pub Date: Feb. 17th, 1985
Publisher: Morrow