Customer Reviews


37 Reviews
5 star:
 (24)
4 star:
 (8)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How image affects career success
It turns out that becoming a leader and doing something amazing with your life hinge on what makes you different, not what makes you the same as everyone else, according to Sylvia Hewlett in this book. Executive presence is a measure of image rather than performance; it is the manner in which you signal to others that you “have what it takes” to be star...
Published 3 months ago by John Gibbs

versus
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm lots of content-free reviews of the book. Why?
I want to buy this book but am suspicious of the number of one or two sentence reviews, many by people who have reviewed very few other books. The content of this book is specialized enough that I would have expected more substantive comments. As such, I'm wondering if these reviews are genuine or were put there to boost ratings?
Published 17 days ago by Jagadeesh K. Venugopal


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How image affects career success, June 5, 2014
By 
John Gibbs (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success (Hardcover)
It turns out that becoming a leader and doing something amazing with your life hinge on what makes you different, not what makes you the same as everyone else, according to Sylvia Hewlett in this book. Executive presence is a measure of image rather than performance; it is the manner in which you signal to others that you “have what it takes” to be star material.

So, what is it that coworkers and bosses look for when they evaluate an employee’s executive presence? The author and her research team at the Center for Talent Innovation used a survey and focus groups to discover the answer, and they found that executive presence rests on three pillars:

• How you act (gravitas)
• How you speak (communication)
• How you look (appearance)

Of these three ingredients, gravitas is said by senior leaders to be by far the most important, followed by communication and then by appearance. However, appearance and communication tend to be significant factors in assessing a person’s gravitas. Projecting confidence, displaying “grace under fire”, tone of voice, body language and eye contact are all important ingredients of gravitas.

A tall, well-built, white male has an unfair advantage in establishing gravitas when compared with women, people who are overweight, people of other ethnicities, and members of other minority groups. Much of the book is taken up in discussing how these cultural prejudices can be overcome. The author is of the view that the best results are achieved by accentuating the strengths that make you different from the white alpha male, rather than by trying to pretend to be a white alpha male.

This book is useful for anyone who feels that they would like to enhance their executive presence, but it is also useful for managers and leaders who need to have their preconceptions challenged so that their workplaces can experience the benefits of greater diversity.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Let your light so shine before men....", June 17, 2014
This review is from: Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success (Hardcover)
Those who have read one or more of Sylvia Ann Hewlett's previously published books (notably When the Bough Breaks, Off-Ramps and On-Ramps, Winning the War for Talent in Emerging Markets, and Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor) already know that she is among the most intelligent, sensitive, intuitive, and practical business thinkers within subject areas that range from talent evaluation to organizational transformation. Her focus in her latest book, Executive Presence, is of special interest to me because, for more than 30 years, I have worked with corporate clients to help accelerate the development of talent needed at all levels and in all areas of their operations. I am already well aware of the importance of what she characterizes as the three pillars of executive presence (EP):

o How you act (gravitas)
o How you speak (communication)
o How you look (appearance)

Fair or not, more often than not, candidates for a position who have less merit but greater EP have a decisive competitive advantage over candidates with greater merit but lesser EP. "The amazing thing about EP is that it's a precondition for success whether you're a cellist, a salesperson, or a Wall Street banker." Hewlett wrote this book to help her readers "crack the EP code." Although doing so "can be onerous and sometimes eats into your soul, this work and these struggles will allow you to flower and flourish. Once you've demonstrated that you know how to stand with the crowd, you get to strut your stuff and stand apart. It turns out that becoming a leader and doing something amazing with your life hinges on what makes you different, not what makes you the same as everyone else."

I agree while presuming to add that many people (I among them) have never been comfortable with developing EP. In fact, as Hewlett explains in her exceptionally interesting Prologue, she had the same problem while attempting to gain admission to "Oxbridge" (she was accepted by Cambridge) and later when she began her first job as an assistant professor of economics at Barnard College. Over time, both she and I have learned how to present ourselves more effectively. If we can develop some EP, almost anyone else can...if doing so serves their purposes. Hermits have no ineed for EP.

Clearly, Hewlett agrees with Oscar Wilde: "Be yourself. Everyone else is taken." The self-development program she recommends in this book can help a person to reveal more effectively who they genuinely are and suggest who they can become. Authentic (key word) qualities of character connote gravitas, "that weightiness or heft that marks you as worth following into the fire. Gravitas is the very essence of FP. Without it, you simply won't be perceived as a leader, no matter what your title or level of authority, no matter how well you dress or speak. Gravitas, according to 62 percent of the leaders we [at the Center for Talent Innovation in NYC that she founded] surveyed, is what signals to the world that you're made of the right stuff and can be trusted with serious responsibility."

With all due respect to the power of charisma, some of the most evil leaders throughout history possessed it, as did some of the most highly-principled leaders. Frankly, I've always thought that charisma resembles an expensive fragrance: it smells great but don't drink it. There can be no authentic EP without gravitas but that is only one of the three "pillars." Hewlett also explains how to communicate much more effectively, to become more presentable, and in this instance I am again reminded of a passage in Matthew 5:16: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." I'm sure that many agnostics and atheists see the need to increase their EP.

Brilliantly, Hewlett explains both how and why.

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of her coverage.

o Cracking the EP Code (Pages 5-10)
o The Right Stuff (15-18)
o Speaking Truth to Power (25-27)
o How to Deepen Your Gravitas (39-44)
o Command a Room (54-60)
o How to Polish our Communication Skills (74-77)
o Enhancing Appearance: Tactics (100-105)
o Difficult Conversations -- But Extraordinarily Important (111-113)
o Tactics: How to Get the EP Feedback You Need (116-122)
o A Narrow Band of Acceptability (128-131)
o Gravitas (138-142)
o Bleached-Out Professionals (149-156)
o Tactics: Authenticity vs. Conformity (158-164)
o Understand the Diversity Dividend (165-167)

Sylvia Ann Hewlett is convinced (and I agree) that ordinary mortals can crack the EP code and master the skills that will "let their light shine before men." That light will be powered by gravitas. Also, she urges her reader to be reasonable about making whatever changes in attitude and behavior may be necessary to increase EP. Being yourself can be both good news and bad news. What's the point of continuing to be an authentic jerk? A constant whiner?

And I presume to add one more point: Developing EP is a never-ending process, not an ultimate destination. (Hewlett calls it a "journey.") Be flexible, be resilient...and above all else, be patient but committed. Bon voyage!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pragmatic advice - Addresses the tough issues, June 12, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I initially hesitated to purchase this book, since I have a scepticism towards most of the self-help/management genre. I am very glad I picked this book up. It brims with pragmatic advice on the essential topic of Executive Presence. This book is not just for those pursuing positions of power in corporate board rooms. It is for anyone seeking to translate their hard earned merit into just rewards and career progression.
Hewlett artfully balances personal reflection and anectode with relevant case studies and hard data to provide a credible and highly readable volume. She does not shirk from the tough issues faced by many in developing their executive presence.
I came away from the book with a number of practical ideas that I incorporated into my engagement with stakeholders and the board level. Early indicators show encouraging results!
I also found the sections that specifically addressed women to be extremely valuable. As a male responsible for the professional development of female team members, these insights will enable me to support them more effectively and be a better sponsor in terms of their progression. And yes, I have recommended the book to them as important reading.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Code, Cracked, June 24, 2014
This review is from: Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success (Hardcover)
Whether you're aware of it or not, every time you interact with people they're performing a mental calculus on whether you're someone they'd want to take into the foxhole with them. Are you trustworthy? Seasoned in your judgment? Inclined to protect your team? What this book makes clear is how many ways we signal our "leadership readiness" in just about everything we do or say, and even in what we wear or call attention to in our appearance. Hewlett helps us decode what highly effective leaders do, that we might emulate them, but also reveals what WE do that speaks volumes about our courage, competence, and credibility. You'll become conscious of blunders you've made (the first step toward not repeating them); and you'll understand just how, starting tomorrow, you might solicit better feedback so you can start amping up your EP. Incredibly helpful stuff, even for veterans of the corporate battlegrounds.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The subtitle of this immensely useful book, is “The Missing Link Between Merit and ..., July 22, 2014
By 
Ian Mann (Johannesburg, South Africs) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Is an executive position part of your career goal? Do you have the necessary skill and experience? Are you wondering why you are not there yet?

The subtitle of this immensely useful book, is “The Missing Link Between Merit and Success.” Based on my 22 years of working closely with people in executive positions, I know she has hit the mark – Executive Presence (EP) is the missing link.

This is not the first book on looking and sounding like an executive, there have been many before. However, Sylvia Hewlett’s take on this issue rings true where other books I have read left me with a discomfort that something is missing from the explanation.

There are two reasons for trusting this book. The first is that Dr Hewlett lived the problem she has tackled in this book. The second is that she has been able to do a piece of credible research that turns the “woolly and elusive concept” of EP into a clear, securely founded, practical model. “Which is why I wrote this book,” she explains.

Dr Hewlett grew up in a Welsh mining community, had few clothes, no social graces and spoke English with a thick working-class accent. Despite her formidable intelligence, she failed her interview for a place at Oxford University despite qualifying, because she was so inappropriately dressed for the situation. (Not knowing any better, she had dressed like the Queen Mother!)

She also qualified for Cambridge University and after the interview at which she dressed more appropriately, was accepted into the University.

She taught Economics at Barnard College (associated with Colombia University) where she initially had difficulty convincing anyone she was a professor and not a student, and was not taken seriously by faculty. Aged 27, (which is very young for such a position,) she her hair waist-long and wore flowing ethnic skirts. “I now understand that my early struggles to command attention and respect in lecture halls and faculty meetings did not center on content or delivery (I was a clear, crisp speaker and knew my material cold), but rather centered on the way I presented myself.”

If the first reason for trusting this book is the author’s personal experience, second reason, is the research conducted through the Center for Talent Innovation, where Dr Hewlett is President and CEO. Her research team conducted a national survey involving nearly 4,000 college-educated professionals. Included in the cohort were 268 senior executives. The research aimed to ascertain what co-workers and executives look for when they evaluate an employee’s EP.

Without Executive Presence, no one attains a top position, lands an extraordinary deal, or develops a significant following. Executive presence is not a measure the person’s ability and performance, rather it is a measure of the image you project that you “have what it takes, that you are star material.”

Each year the Concert Artists Guild hosts an international competition. From an applicant pool of 350 instrumentalists and singers from all over the world, 12 extraordinary young musicians are brought to the Merkin Concert Hall in New York City where a distinguished jury judges the finalists.

What emerges with regularity is the importance of non-musical factors in the final judgement. Did the musician smile, exhibit confidence, make eye contact with the audience, and so on?

The world of work is no different.

Executive Presence is comprised of three pillars that apply across all industries, all business types and all economies. The specifics differ vastly. What is required in a high-end law firm is not the same as in a chain of supermarkets, a hospital, or and marketing firm.

The three pillars are “Gravitas” how you act, “Communication” how you speak, and “Appearance” how you look.

These pillars are not of equal importance. “Gravitas” was identified as mattering most by 67% of the 268 executive in the survey. “Gravitas” implies knowing your field exceptionally well.

“Appearance” might seem to be highly important from my introduction to this column, but it is not, rated only 5% of what makes up Executive Presence. “Communication” was rated 28%.

Gravitas is not only projecting intellectual horsepower, but also having the confidence and credibility to get heard and accepted. Gravitas has six components.

The first is confidence and projecting “grace under fire”. It is when under attack that this element of EP shows. We know we are in the presence of a leader when he or she remains calmly in control in the most difficult of circumstances.

Then there is decisiveness, holding to a carefully thought through position and being threatening if necessary. Behind this is integrity, being able to “speak truth to power,” where others are not.

While decisiveness and confidence signal conviction, courage, and resolve in a leader, when these are not accompanied by empathy, they look like egotism, arrogance, and insensitivity.

A leader’s reputation needs to be nurtured and guarded because it goes before one has even appeared. Finally, leaders need a vision.

Effective communication, the second pillar of Executive Presence is critical. As I have written a number of times in the column, a brilliant idea poorly presented sounds like a poor idea.

A great comfort emerges form the research conclusions on Appearance, the third pillar of Executive Presence. Appearance is defined as “grooming and polish” rather than “physical attractiveness” or “body type” according to the respondents. These, fortunately, can be corrected where “physical attractiveness” or “body type” usually cannot.

“Crack the EP code you’ll be first in line for the next plum assignment and be given a chance of doing something extraordinary with your life,” asserts Dr Hewlett. To do that, read this book. It is an easy read full of accounts of familiar business executive and other leaders. The book will keep you engaged as you learn this most crucial lesson.

Readability Light -+--- Serious
Insights High -+--- Low
Practical High -+--- Low
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful insight into a professional mystery!, June 11, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success (Hardcover)
I have read many-a-professional books that vow to give you the magic "key" to success. However, none have hit home as much as this one as it talks about all of the soft skills necessary for success. There is no secret to mastering technical skills, becoming an expert, or knowing your field; however, no one ever tells you that all of your hard work in those areas can be derailed by a bad or negative presence. This book dives into some of those soft skills with real and recent examples in politics and pop-culture. I sped through this book and loved it. It opened my eyes to the true definition of executive presence and how to work towards it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A right balance between hard facts and real life stories, August 8, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is the first book of Sylvia Ann Hewlett I read. The book is extremely well written and easy to read and to understand, even for a non native English speaker like me. the three "pillars" of Executive Presence (EP) are well introduced and explained:

1. Gravitas: how you act
2. Communications skills: how you speak
3. Appearance: how you look

Sylvia then explains with hard quantitative and qualitative data and real life stories the key aspects of each pillar of the EP and how you can develop them. She does not stop there. She also presents the key blunders and how to overcome or avoid them. Most tips and advices provided in the book are common sense things but very often forgotten, in particular if you're on a hot seat or under the spotlight.

However and in my opinion, the book is more focused on the corporate world, in particular the C-Suites job, and the political world. Like most of the books on leadership and management, the not-for-profit and public sectors are missing. That is why I am giving 4 stars rinse 5 stare.

I think authors should take time to study the not-for-profit and public sectors. There are probable a lot to learn from leaders and managers of these sectors.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading for Men and Women who Want to Improve their EP, July 25, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success (Hardcover)
I cannot put this book down. Sylvia has eloquently set out that one thing that has been eluding men and women who have the potential, passion and ability to rise as executives in their area of expertise. It explains in detail those skills and behaviours that move you from good to excellent in an honest way. I am a young black woman who is positioning for a career that requires interacting with persons of varying leveels and background. This book has been a great gift to myself. Women....go get this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Practical advice for self-improvement, September 10, 2014
This review is from: Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success (Hardcover)
Sylvia Ann Hewlett’s Executive Presence provides the reader with a roadmap to establishing a successful personal brand, regardless of one’s field. To the point, brimming with real-world examples and supported by quantitative academic research, Sylvia’s narrative interweaves her own personal experiences and lessons learned, providing authenticity and valuable insight.

The good news for anyone looking to “up their game” is that the one does not have to master every success factor to achieve “executive presence” and that the success factors can be learned and practiced. Simple but powerful techniques, such as speech coaching, are available to those resourceful enough to seek them out, and can pay handsome dividends when diligently applied.

EP is an entertaining read, filled with great advice that leaves the reader empowered to take charge of his/her own career, and should become part of the standard required reading list at top business schools and career services offices.
Whether one is a senior applying to college, an aspiring artist or actor, or an executive climbing the career ladder, Executive Presence is a must read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended book - insightful tactics based on rigorous research, June 25, 2014
Executive Presence offers insightful tactics on how to identify and embody the executive presence you need to succeed. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn how to make the leap from just working like an executive to being viewed as an executive. But even beyond that, since one of the things that I find remarkable about the book is it’s relevancy to anyone – regardless of industry, age, country-culture or gender. Whether you are a banker in New York, consumer goods entrepeneur in rural India or an aspiring professor in London, everyone needs to learn how to exude executive presence. Great read!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success
Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success by Sylvia Ann Hewlett (Hardcover - June 3, 2014)
$26.99 $14.83
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.