Leadership BS

Fixing Workplaces and Careers One Truth at a Time
By Jeffrey Pfeffer
277 Pages

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I subscribe to Jim Collins’ idea that creating great organizations requires first confronting the “brutal facts.” That’s what Jeffrey Pfeffer champions in Leadership BS. He asserts that a lot of the current management literature is mere pap designed to market leadership thinking. Many of the leadership books and models we see today are not anchored in dealing with the real world. Pfeffer challenges us to acknowledge the “disconnects” between reality and action — to confront the brutal facts and design enlightened ways in our leadership to address those facts. He sheds light on the way the current literature, and the leadership development marketplace, oversimplifies problems, obscures complexity, and too easily puts forth “solutions” that are largely ineffective. In this sense, his work is a provocative and important read. However, he does not offer any compelling alternative approach. My key takeaway is that leadership is a serious endeavor and must be approached in a clear-eyed fashion — with a performance oriented mindset and an appetite for the hard work required to become proficient at it.

– D. R. Conant

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