ON BECOMING A LEADER by Warren Bennis

ON BECOMING A LEADER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Another do-better lecture on leadership--one that is notable mainly for its unacknowledged (or unwitting) debt to Norman Vincent Peale's The Power of Positive Thinking. Viewing with dismay what he perceives as a global vacuum in leadership, Bennis (co-author of 1985's Leaders: The Strategies of Taking Charge and a professor of Business Administration at USC) asserts that leaders are made, not born. In aid of this beguiling notion, he offers a series of advisories that, for all their apparent sincerity, amount to a sermonette on self-realization. Briefly stated, his largely unexceptionable message is that purposeful individuals with genuine viewpoints who accept full responsibility for their own actions can become effective leaders--provided they lead examined lives, have integrity as well as initiative, and foster a capacity for inspiring confidence sufficient to develop consensus. Steering clear of explicit moral judgments, Bennis lards his homilies with anecdotal testimony front a seemingly random sample of ""leaders"" whose ranks encompass the oddly coupled likes of Herb Alpert, James Burke, Betty Friedan, Edward C. Johnson III, Norman Lear, Sydney Pollock, John Sculley, and Gloria Steinem. Pop counsel from an academic ill at ease in the unaccustomed role of lay preacher. More perceptive and practicable audits of the presumptive problem of deficient stewardship include Abraham Zaleznik's The Managerial Mystique (p. 537) and Max DePree's Leadership Is an Art (p. 1051).

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1989
ISBN: 1458765601
Publisher: Addison-Wesley