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Driven to Lead: Good, Bad, and Misguided Leadership 1st Edition

4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0470623848
ISBN-10: 0470623845
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Editorial Reviews


"...former Medtronic CEO and smart leadership thinker Bill George loved it, and I have to think someone who's been studying the topic since at least the 1960s would have something smart to say." (Washington Post, October 2010)

From the Inside Flap

In this follow-up book to the best-selling Driven, Harvard professor Paul Lawrence applies his four-drive theory of human behavior to the realm of leadership, explaining how leadership—like all human behavior—can be understood as a function of the balance, or lack of balance, of four basic human drives: the drive to acquire, to defend, to comprehend, and to bond. We achieve an optimal state of leadership when all four drives are cultivated and balanced.

In this next-step resource, Lawrence uses historical examples and current leadership crises to explain how the balance of the four drives results in one of three types of leadership:

  • Good leadership: The best leaders, followers, and stakeholders fulfill the four drives in a balanced manner.

  • Misguided leadership: These leaders, followers, and stakeholders fulfill one or some of their four drives while ignoring or supp-ressing the others.

  • Evil leadership: Defines leaders who are missing the drive to bond and have influence over others and only fulfill their drives to acquire, defend, and comprehend.

Driven to Lead explains the biological underpinnings of leadership behavior and offers a compelling discussion of the history of leadership. It examines the critical turning points in the leadership of political institutions, the rise of the corporation as the leading economic institution, and the leadership of religious, artistic, and scientific organizations.

Based on theories that are universal, testable, and actionable, Driven to Lead brings to light a general theory of human behavior that can be used to cultivate good leadership and leaders who have a balance of the four drives.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (August 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470623845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470623848
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #530,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
This book is nothing short of a revelation for all those concerned with the current state of affairs be it in business, politics, or the environment. Not that "Driven to lead" offers any concrete hints at what to do specifically to prevent environmental destruction or social inequities, but rather that it provides something far more important: a rigorous concept of human nature, which informs us in many insightful ways how to build societal institutions that ensure human flourishing in a sustainable manner.

This book owes its genius not necessarily to the novelty of the presented facts, but rather the coherent presentation of these facts within a concise theory, that is comprehensible to all. The book is highly informative, eminently readable and of urgent need.

"Driven to Lead" renders greatly needed service, in that it questions assumptions that have long dominated social sciences, and especially notions of leadership. The theory presented provides a crucial stepping stone in our endeavor to understand ourselves better, to build and lead the best organizations possible, and to understand how we can deal successfully with the current environmental and societal crises.

A true masterpiece, as Warren Bennis calls it. Indeed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pat McLagan on July 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Lawrence's book is one of a growing number focused on a deeper understanding of institutional leadership--its actual and potential role in our complex world. Driven to Lead is an intelligent book with a number of important messages for leaders at all levels. Throughout, it "renews" and provides a modern perspective on Darwinism, proposing that 4 independent drives have evolved that must work together (coordinated by the executive part of our brains) for success and evolution in all spheres:including in society, corporations, governments, globally.

He takes the reader on a quick trip through history -- describing good, bad, evil and misguided leadership and leaders. He spends a lot of time exposing bad/evil leaders in all sectors -- those operating "without conscience," including those who caused or contributed to recent financial disasters. His thoughts reflect a good understanding of psychology and psychopathy, economics, history, recent brain research, philosophy, and organization dynamics. But beyond the theoretical, he presents a variety of important potential solutions to today's institutional problems, proposing ways to reform the UN, American election processes, leadership development and promotion practices, corporate regulation and boards.

His main theme throughout is that our future wellbeing and evolution requires leaders who will use their higher thinking abilities to balance the drives to Acquire, to Bond, to Comprehend, and to Defend. I was a bit worried initially that this might be another "leadership style" book, but I leave Driven to Lead convinced that there is a good basis for his conclusions, that he is onto something, and that this way of thinking can help us in decisions and actions as individuals and as leaders.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By David Austin on March 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Brilliant book, disciplined, well cadenced, drawing on and integrating disparate disciplines. Lifts the reader to a level above the confusion and opinion around leadership, provides an integrating framework. Best read of the last 12 months. You may not agree with everything but few would find nothing new and rewarding in the book. I bought the Kindle edition first but bought the hard copy soon after.
David Austin, Assoc Professor Entrepreneurship, Melbourne Business School, Australia
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dale Micetic on June 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Driven to Lead is a wonderful book for understanding the physiological connections in the brain and the resulting cognitive behavior- show how the brain works...or doesn't. Dr. Paul Lawrence's premise is that we, as social beings are controlled by our brains attempt to balance the four basic drives common to every human being. Driven to Lead is insightful in assessing the impact of drives when in balance as well as when out of balance.
I have cited Dr. Lawrence work often in communicating what causes human behavior to behave as it does. I would recommend this book for anyone wanting to understand human behavior as well as the impact of corporate decision making when decisions are made devoid of the "drives" balance. Lawrence takes the last 30-40% of his book making application of his theory to various world events which I found less useful and at times a stretch. Overall, a very well done tome.
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