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Leadership Books

Archive: Books

Reading Machiavelli's 'The Prince'

Title: The Prince Author: Niccolò Machiavelli Publisher: Oxford University Press, 2008 ISBN-13: 978-0199535699, 186 pages Review: The Prince By Thomas Bergen, getAbstract The end justifies the means. This simple, pragmatic maxim underpins Niccolò Machiavelli's classic work, The Prince. Written...

By getAbstract | March 9, 2011; 04:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

Reading 'Obstacles Welcome'

Title: Obstacles Welcome: Turn Adversity to Advantage in Business and Life Author: Ralph de la Vega Publisher: Nelson Publishers, 2009 ISBN-13: 978-1595552648, 272 pages Review: Obstacles Welcome By Patrick Brigger, getAbstract When Ralph de la Vega was 10 years...

By getAbstract | March 2, 2011; 10:06 AM ET | Comments (0)

The King of Madison Avenue

Title: The King of Madison Avenue: David Ogilvy and the Making of Modern Advertising Author: Kenneth Roman Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010 ISBN-13: 978-0230100367, 304 pages Review: The King of Madison Avenue By Thomas Bergen, getAbstract Author and adman Kenneth...

By getAbstract | February 24, 2011; 03:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

Reading 'High Financier'

This panoramic biography of Siegmund Warburg reveals a complex man who built international banking in response to the great turbulence of the 20th century.

By getAbstract | February 17, 2011; 01:36 PM ET | Comments (0)

Reading 'Aftershock'

Politicians and pundits like to blame Americans' excessive debt for plunging the economy into recession in 2008. But middle-class earners had a good reason for borrowing: Their incomes have dropped since 1980, during a period when the U.S. economy's gains increasingly went to the wealthy. According to former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert B. Reich, the only way out of the doldrums now is to redress that imbalance and help the middle class resume its role powering the economy.

By getAbstract | February 10, 2011; 12:40 PM ET | Comments (1)

Inside 'Obama's Wars'

Hours after his election as the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama learned details of the top-secret circumstances that defined the Afghanistan conflict, a war characterized by inadequate resources, incomplete planning, inchoate strategy and ongoing bloodshed. Bob Woodward of The Washington Post applied his legendary reporting skills to reams of meeting notes, classified reports and interviews to recreate the often tempestuous policymaking on Afghanistan that marked Obama's first 18 months in office.

By getAbstract | February 3, 2011; 08:04 AM ET | Comments (0)

From the pages of 'Senseless Panic'

Title: Senseless Panic: How Washington Failed America Authors: William M. Isaac and Philip C. Meyer Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2010 ISBN-13: 978-0470640364, 190 pages Review: Senseless Panic By Thomas Bergen, getAbstract In his first-person account comparing the...

By getAbstract | January 27, 2011; 03:03 PM ET | Comments (0)

Reading "Prophets of War"

Title: Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex Author: William D. Hartung Publisher: Nation Books, 2010 ISBN-13: 978-1568584201, 304 pages Review: Prophets of War By Patrick Brigger, getAbstract Muckraking author William Hartung delves into...

By getAbstract | January 21, 2011; 04:08 AM ET | Comments (0)

All about "Marshall"

George Catlett Marshall, Jr., a revered soldier and statesman, served as US Army chief of staff during World War II and later as secretary of state and secretary of defense. A born leader, Marshall was, as Sir Winston Churchill described him, "the noblest Roman of them all." He stood resolute for what he believed and, as authors H. Paul Jeffers and Alan Axelrod make clear, the world is a better place because he did.

By getAbstract | January 12, 2011; 03:37 AM ET | Comments (1)

From the pages of 'The CEO's Boss'

Enron. Global Crossing. WorldCom. Adelphia. Tyco International. These corporate cautionary tales point to the crucial importance of responsible corporate governance, something in shockingly short supply in recent years. In this book, Columbia Business School Professor William M. Klepper discusses why boards must show "tough love" to CEOs to keep them in line with corporate goals.

By getAbstract | January 3, 2011; 09:41 AM ET | Comments (0)

Inside 'The Next Hundred Million'

Title: The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050 Author: Joel Kotkin Publisher: Penguin Press, 2010 ISBN-13: 978-1594202445, 320 pages Review: The Next Hundred Million By Thomas Bergen, getAbstract This is a refreshing book, even a reassuring one. Author Joel...

By getAbstract | December 27, 2010; 09:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Inside 'Leading in Times of Crisis'

Contemporary executives have more to manage than leaders did at any time in the past. They're like plate spinners, juggling to keep all their firms' interests--customers, employees, investors, regulators, suppliers and the environment--from crashing to the ground. David L. Dotlich, Peter C. Cairo and Stephen H. Rhinesmith bring years of leadership expertise--and the results of 20 interviews with senior executives about 21st-century management--to this examination of leading in a "complex, diverse and uncertain" world.

By getAbstract | December 15, 2010; 08:11 AM ET | Comments (0)

Within the pages of "The Squam Lake Report"

This slim volume is named after the isolated New England resort where 15 renowned economists, academics and policymakers met in the fall of 2008 to devise solutions to the "World Financial Crisis." That they convened amid fast-paced, seismic economic events adds to the star-chamber aspects of their collaboration. Still, these éminences grises--all nonpartisan, without commercial sponsorship or political axes to grind--developed their ideas by sharing their expertise. Their recommendations cover reforms in banking, financial products, regulation, compensation, pensions and hedge funds: all the named villains of the last crisis.

By getAbstract | December 9, 2010; 02:21 PM ET | Comments (0)

Aboard 'Never Fly Solo'

The cockpit of a fighter jet is the last place you would expect to find someone with claustrophobia and a fear of heights. Remarkably, Lt. Col. Rob "Waldo" Waldman managed to keep that little secret from the US Air Force during a stellar career in which he flew 65 combat missions in Serbia and Iraq.

By getAbstract | December 2, 2010; 04:07 AM ET | Comments (0)

A look inside 'Start-Up Nation'

Israel deliberately focuses its national assets on innovation and entrepreneurship. It has one of the highest levels of research and development of any nation and a higher concentration of engineers and scientists than any other country. A land of early adopters, Israel is the world's top Internet user and has the highest density of business start-ups...

By getAbstract | November 24, 2010; 04:05 AM ET | Comments (1)

Inside Brooks's 'The Battle'

Nothing less than the future of America is at stake, says conservative public policy expert Arthur C. Brooks in his dissection of the nation's political and economic scene. Relying on surveys, polls and statistics (some almost up-to-the-minute, some quite dated), he posits a split in the U.S. between a 70 percent majority that supports free enterprise, limited government and less taxes, and a 30 percent minority made up of the "intellectual upper class" and its followers who cheer "social democracy," big government and soaking the rich. Brooks, head of the American Enterprise Institute, discusses the U.S.'s historical love of free enterprise.

By getAbstract | November 18, 2010; 02:39 PM ET | Comments (0)

Inside 'The People's Machine'

oe Mathews' book vividly describes how the confluence of a European childhood, bodybuilding, movies, popular culture, politics, history and ambition shaped the life of a remarkable public figure, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Highly detailed and readable, this is an informative account of how California's best-known modern political leader improbably rose to power. He portrays Schwarzenegger as a complicated, talented politician whose attention to detail in building and managing his persona has consistently paid off in money and power.

By getAbstract | November 11, 2010; 12:26 PM ET | Comments (0)

Exploring 'Soldier: The Life of Colin Powell'

With Colin Powell, what you see is what you get. Karen DeYoung's exhaustive biography of the former secretary of state reveals a man who prioritized loyalty and military values. The respect shown Powell over the years is a reflection of his deep-rooted strength of conviction, subdued yet commanding personality, and sense of decency. A career soldier who served two tours of duty in Vietnam and commanded the 1991 Persian Gulf War victory, Powell dealt in the power of the chain of command. How that served--or, late in his career, may have disserved--him and his country is at the crux of this book.

By getAbstract | November 4, 2010; 09:47 AM ET | Comments (1)

Inside 'How They Blew It'

In this timely yet disturbing book, journalist Jamie Oliver and recruitment expert Tony Goodwin present a rogues' gallery of entrepreneurs and CEOs who have disgraced themselves and destroyed their companies, often trashing the savings of multitudes of innocent bystanders. Some of these guys didn't blow it, exactly, in that they went home plenty rich--but their firms still suffered on their watch. The authors lightly, charmingly depict the lives of these corporate desperados, offering lessons other leaders can draw from their stories. While morbidly fascinating and a bit sensational, the book sometimes loses its edge as it catalogs deals negotiated, firms bought, bad strategies enacted and millions lost.

By getAbstract | October 28, 2010; 10:57 AM ET | Comments (0)

Exploring 'Von Braun'

Aeronautics historian Michael J. Neufeld's biography covers it all. He captures von Braun's entire story, from child prodigy obsessed with rockets to SS major developing deadly V-2 rockets for Germany to science celebrity living large in America.

By getAbstract | October 21, 2010; 11:04 AM ET | Comments (0)

Inside 'Fault Lines'

Dismissing the 2008 recession as an inevitable free-market setback might seem simple, but economist Raghuram G. Rajan doesn't take the easy path. He makes a compelling case that the weak links in the global economy remain both visible and fixable. In a provocative analysis unhindered by ideological boundaries, Rajan argues against such government interventions as propping up the U.S. housing market. Yet he urges Americans to create a more generous safety net for unemployed workers facing a "jobless recovery." Rajan's more challenging suggestions, such as rebalancing the international economy or changing global monetary institutions, may not shift policy makers' actions, but he argues persuasively that failing to do so will mean deeper fault lines in the next crisis.

By getAbstract | October 13, 2010; 11:09 AM ET | Comments (0)

Inside Ron Paul's 'End the Fed'

Congressman and erstwhile presidential candidate Ron Paul believes that the Federal Reserve, not money, is the root of all evil. In his somewhat repetitious--and sometimes fearful--book, Paul holds the Fed responsible for wars, recessions, depressions, bubbles, busts, scheming politicians, overextended consumers and creeping socialism. And that's just in the first chapter.

By getAbstract | October 6, 2010; 11:42 AM ET | Comments (2)

Inside 'The Match King'

Readers who love fascinating stories with unforgettable characters will thank professor and market expert Frank Partnoy for his book on 1920s business icon Ivar Kreuger. This remarkable figure was a global financier, Greta Garbo's close companion and an adviser to prime ministers, kings and a U.S. president. Though he was one of the world's greatest con men, he has somehow slipped, all but forgotten, from popular history.

By getAbstract | September 29, 2010; 09:54 AM ET | Comments (0)

No One Would Listen

Harry Markopolos's suspicion led to an investigative odyssey. In the course of trying to create investment instruments that competed with those of Bernie Madoff, Markopolos and his team uncovered not only the largest financial fraud in history, but also a dangerously dysfunctional U.S. regulatory system.

By getAbstract | September 7, 2010; 12:15 PM ET | Comments (0)

Making Globalization Work

Just about every major gathering of world leaders draws determined, often violent, protests against globalization. If you wonder why, Joseph E. Stiglitz's book explains the ample reasons. The Nobel Prize-winning economist follows up his 2002 book, Globalization and Its Discontents, with further analysis of pressing economic, political and environmental concerns, and the conflicts they engender between developing and developed countries.

By getAbstract | September 7, 2010; 12:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

The return of depression economics

Nobel Laureate and economic scholar Paul Krugman investigates the forces that drive economic growth and recession. His ability to maintain the essence of a topic while simplifying complex economics with examples and analogies is a hallmark of his work. Despite its gloomy title...

By getAbstract | September 1, 2010; 11:26 AM ET | Comments (0)

Accelerating out of the Great Recession

Boring history and economic lessons can drop some students into zonked-out slumber. Fortunately, this book will rouse them. International consultants David Rhodes and Daniel Stelter deliver a mix of entertainment and education that is enhanced by engaging examples and an appealing style. They solidly package business and historical lessons from the Depression era and apply them to the "Great Recession.

By getAbstract | August 24, 2010; 11:11 AM ET | Comments (0)

The world's toughest job

Former Olympian, Australian turned American, Harvard Business school graduate, corporate dealmaker, Carnegie Hall cellist, Renaissance man and a bona fide larger-than-life character, Wolfensohn was the World Bank's president from 1995 to 2005. During this period, the restless, energetic Wolfensohn was like a raging tornado, ripping through the bank's stately Washington, D.C., offices, upsetting long-held traditions, tangling daily with the bank's entrenched bureaucrats, determined to make a difference for the three billion people who live in abject poverty.

By getAbstract | August 18, 2010; 03:58 AM ET | Comments (0)

George Washington, CEO?

Brookhiser works many intriguing anecdotes into his narrative and demonstrates vividly just how Washington became such a significant leader. getAbstract welcomes his history-based examination of how to use Washington's leadership lessons.

By getAbstract | August 13, 2010; 05:26 AM ET | Comments (0)

Battling Fannie and Freddie: On the brink

If books about the 2008 financial collapse are starting to run together in your mind, rest assured that former Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr.'s memoir is unique. In the first account by a high-ranking government official, Paulson lets out some juicy details.

By getAbstract | August 6, 2010; 08:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

The financial crisis from the CEO's chair

Duff McDonald's book covers a fascinating historical moment - the 2008-2009 Wall Street debacle - by profiling a pivotal character in the thick of it, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase.

By getAbstract | August 2, 2010; 08:55 AM ET | Comments (0)

How Fidel Castro became leader for life

The United States has had 10 presidents since Fidel Castro became Cuba's prime minister in 1959. From Eisenhower, who refused to meet with him, to Kennedy, whose CIA wanted to kill him, to Clinton, who tried to ignore him, Castro outlasted them all.

By getAbstract | July 27, 2010; 11:35 AM ET | Comments (0)

The surprising insights of John Maynard Keynes

The modern recession casts doubt on many long-held economic beliefs, in particular, the validity of free markets. This biography of John Maynard Keynes reveals how Keynes' pre-World War II experiences shaped an economic worldview that still holds lessons for the 21st century.

By getAbstract | July 19, 2010; 06:54 AM ET | Comments (1)

Lincoln as leader: Our most accesible president

President Lincoln met regularly with his generals and cabinet members, with Congress, and with the wounded at hospitals. This kind of hands-on personal approach was typical of his leadership style, making him perhaps the most accessible president the U.S. has ever had.

By getAbstract | July 12, 2010; 12:14 PM ET | Comments (2)

Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not after you.

By getAbstract | July 5, 2010; 08:55 AM ET | Comments (0)

Diagnosed with Parkinson's, still CEO

David Jones, a leading executive in British mail-order fashion retailing, was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 1982, at age 39. In spite of that diagnosis, he remained a CEO of major companies for two decades.

By getAbstract | June 28, 2010; 10:53 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Jack Welch way of winning

Winning matters because success leads to happy companies and "creative and generous" employees, as well as opportunities, jobs and tax revenue. Jack and Suzy Welch offer advice on how to win in their book, 'Winning.'

By getAbstract | June 21, 2010; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Remembering 'The Wizard of Westwood'

Former UCLA coach John Wooden always believed that basketball was merely a vehicle for teaching his players about life and what really matters. Download this free summary of Wooden's book, coauthored with Steve Jamison, 'The Essential Wooden.'

By getAbstract | June 14, 2010; 11:34 AM ET | Comments (0)

Peter Drucker: The unreleased recordings

Peter Drucker had an exemplary career as a management theorist, business consultant and best-selling author. However, relatively few of those who respect him ever experienced him as a classroom teacher.

By getAbstract | June 7, 2010; 10:39 AM ET | Comments (0)

Never read 'Too Big to Fail?' Download this summary

Although Lehman CEO Richard S. Fuld Jr. was responsible for the firm's risky approach, in some ways it didn't fit his usual style. Spurred by the success of Goldman Sachs, Fuld had pushed Lehman's leverage far beyond its conservative roots.

By getAbstract | May 31, 2010; 04:57 AM ET | Comments (1)

'Mobs, Messiahs and Markets'

What do Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Osama bin Laden, George W. Bush and Alexander the Great have in common? They are do-gooders gone bad, ready to force their vision of the greater good on an unwilling world.

By getAbstract | May 24, 2010; 12:54 PM ET | Comments (1)

Heifetz and Linsky's 'Leadership on the Line'

When leaders express visions of change, there's no guarantee they'll succeed. As a leader, you will find that your opponents can use a variety of tactics to sabotage your vision, many of them so subtle you might not even notice the arrows coming until it's too late.

By Andrea Useem | May 17, 2010; 12:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

Jack Stahl's 'Lessons on Leadership'

Jack Stahl, former CEO of Revlon, builds a strong case that corporate leaders must master seven core leadership skills.

By getAbstract | May 12, 2010; 11:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

Mike Bloomberg: The unlikely mayor

Take an average, middle-class man with uncommon vigor. Then, imbue him with the discipline and confidence to take maximum advantage of the great opportunities he encountered in college, Wall Street and, eventually, the electrified world of New York City politics.

By getAbstract | April 30, 2010; 11:31 AM ET | Comments (0)

Summary: 'Nelson's Way'

Horatio Nelson is one of the great military figures of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. His daring strategies and gritty style brought him victories and glory, and secured Britain's place as the ruler of the seas at that time.

By getAbstract | April 23, 2010; 12:32 PM ET | Comments (0)

Summary: 'Eisenhower on Leadership"

No U.S. general before Eisenhower had led a military coalition representing different nations. What was George Marshall thinking?

By getAbstract | April 16, 2010; 11:53 AM ET | Comments (3)

Summary: 'George Washington's Leadership Lessons'

As an up-and-coming leader, Washington even paid for dance lessons so that he could excel at this then-crucial social skill.

By getAbstract | April 9, 2010; 03:03 PM ET | Comments (1)

Summary: Seth Godin's 'Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us'

Becoming such a leader, being charismatic, being positive and being active are all choices you make, not gifts you receive, writes Seth Godin in 'Tribes.' You can do the same: Shine a light, build a tribe and make a difference.

By getAbstract | April 5, 2010; 10:45 AM ET | Comments (0)

Summary: 'High Altitude Leadership'

Chris Warner is not the first mountain climber to chronicle near-death experiences scaling the high peaks of the Himalayas. What makes Warner unique is his ability to extract critical lessons from his adventures and shape them to be relevant for business leaders at sea level.

By getAbstract | March 29, 2010; 10:32 AM ET | Comments (0)

Summary: 'The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual"

As the army's touchstone for leadership, The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual stresses ethics, high moral character and the honorable refusal to obey unlawful orders.

By getAbstract | March 22, 2010; 06:15 AM ET | Comments (1)

Summary: 'Top-Notch Executive Resumes'

A traditional résumé just doesn't stand out in today's competitive environment, particularly at the executive level. Career expert Katherine Hansen offers the latest advice for creating evolved, technology-driven résumés for the C-level.

By getAbstract | March 15, 2010; 10:52 AM ET | Comments (0)

Summary: 'Upstarts!: How Gen Y Entrepreneurs are Rocking the World'

Gen Y companies differentiate themselves from the competition through clever use of technology, superior branding and imaginative business practices.

By getAbstract | March 8, 2010; 05:34 AM ET | Comments (0)

Summary: 'The Secrets of CEOs'

To find out what motivates CEOs and how they think about leadership, Steve Tappin and Andrew Cave conducted comprehensive interviews with 150 chief executives for their book, 'The Secrets of CEOs: 150 Global Chief Executives Lift the Lid on Business, Life and Leadership.'

By Andrea Useem | March 1, 2010; 09:42 AM ET | Comments (0)

Summary: 'Rethink: A Business Manifesto'

Ric Merrifield asks -- and answers -- the all-important question for executives: "What should I do today?" Read and download a free summary of his new book, Rethink: A Business Manifesto for Cutting Costs and Boosting Innovation.

By Andrea Useem | February 22, 2010; 06:42 AM ET | Comments (1)

Summary: 'The Truth about Middle Managers'

In this much-needed book, Paul Osterman looks at how middle managers have fared during the past decades of corporate upheavals and how their jobs have changed.

By Andrea Useem | February 16, 2010; 06:21 AM ET | Comments (1)

Summary: 'The Busy Manager's Guide to Delegation'

Business experts Richard A. Luecke and Perry McIntosh offer a simple, straightforward five-step plan you can use to delegate job assignments.

By Andrea Useem | February 8, 2010; 07:12 AM ET | Comments (2)

Bill George's '7 Lessons for Leading in a Crisis'

In his book on corporate crises, former Medtronic CEO and now Harvard Business School professor Bill George says calamities either make or break executives.

By Andrea Useem | February 1, 2010; 04:28 PM ET | Comments (0)

Summary: 'Leadership in the Era of Economic Uncertainty'

In the midst of an economic downturn, monitoring and managing cash are among a company's most important responsibilities.

By Andrea Useem | January 25, 2010; 01:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

About this blog

We are pleased to launch this new weekly feature in partnership with getAbstract, an online library of business book summaries. GetAbstract's mission is "to provide executives worldwide with the best in business knowledge," and our mission with this feature is...

By Andrea Useem | January 22, 2010; 02:41 PM ET | Comments (0)

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