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58 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2006
The 2 stars is the average I give to all the fable books written by Patrick.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: 5 stars

Obviously, it is the best one. (you can see it from the sales record in Amazon). It was the first Patrick's book I read. I have finished reading the whole book in one setting and couldn't wait and jump to look for his other books. The book has a reasonable length, setting up a bit simplified, but not over-simplified, and still reasonable fable-like setting to illustrate all important team dysfunctions and team building skills. The whole book is tight and coherent and an easy but enlightening read. Highly recommended!

Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable 4 stars

It is a good one but not as great as the five team dysfunctions. A very good explanation of all kinds of meetings and how to use each of them. I recommend you buy one, read it and keep it as a reference. One drawback is the author tried to spicy up the book so one of the main characters will occassionally scream out some rude comments if he didn't take his pills. I never work with such an unusual person and I prefer less dramatic in a management fable. (not something like in "Desperate Housewife", the neighbor besides you was a serial killer and the housewife across the street did her gardener and used her Chinese maid to bear her baby.)

I should have stopped here and never rush to read his other books..

The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: 2 stars

This is the one made me begin to feel betrayed. If the five dysfunctions have been crafted for months, this one seems to be done within weeks. The fable setting needs more polishing works. Although the four obsessions have been presented with reasonable clariy, reading this book makes you feel that the author thinks you are an idiot. Scenarios like how the VP HR plots to damage the trust seem to be more suitable for a toddler fable rather than something for teenagers, not mentioning for managers. The rough plot affects the whole four points--though four very good points. I will recommend you to skim the whole book in less than 20 minutes by standing in a bookstore.

Five temptations of CEO 1 star?

It is the one makes me begin to feel angry. Again, if the five dysfunctions have been crafted for months, this one seems to be done within hours. The major story (95% of the book) happened in a dark train, where a poor CEO was taught about these five temptations by some ghost-like old men, who turned out later to be the previous CEOs in the SAME company! Again the five temptations are all great and worthwhile points. It is the plot that made me sick. If you have a chance, skim the whole book in less than FIVE minutes.

Silos, Politics and Turf Wars NEGATIVE 1 star

The worst one. Negative 1 star is because it wasted my time. I thought the five temptation one was the worst until I read this one. Patrick spends most of the book to illustrate the silo problems rather than provide any solution. And he even spends many pages about the main character's struggle in balancing his work and his wife's pregnancy, which I believe, should belong to another fable about personal life balance, given how many pages the author devoted to this. From other fables, more or less, you can at least learn something. But not from this one. Forget it!
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2000
This book outlines, in a fable mode, the five temptations of a CEO. The temptations are : - choosing status over results (i.e. wanting to protect own status instead of focusing on bottom-line results) - choosing popularity over accountability - choosing certainty over clarity (i.e. analysis paralysis - always delaying to make key decisions until all facts are gathered) - choosing harmony over healthy conflict (in meetings) - choosing invulnerability ("I am never wrong") over trust ("I too can make mistakes) in the face of subordinates
Although these temptations are valid, they are pretty much common sense. Moreover, I think there are more than 5 temptations; you may add others, e.g. not wanting to delegate, selecting the wrong people, making intuitive decisions not based on any facts, not willing to learn from setbacks, back down in the face of setbacks (instead of facing it with courage) etc.
Overall, I think this book is ok; easy to read and quite interesting. However, I believe it is too expensive for its content.
If you want to find out about key insights from an 'actual', successful CEO, I suggest you read Michael Dell's "Direct From Dell". Here he described his temptations and how he had coped with them.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2003
The people who continue to complain about the popularity of these "parable books" just amaze me. Don't they realize that the storytelling framework just enables difficult topics to be covered in a much less threatening way? I love these books because I can give them to my staff without worrying that the lessons and basic truths will be lost amid too much theory and ever-shifting paradigms. And these short books mean that they are also much more likely to be read. Keep 'em coming, as long as the stories themselves are engaging.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2003
Patrick Lencioni has a talent for cutting through the complexities of leadership and teamwork to highlight core principles then presenting them in easily digestible fictional form. In this book (in the UK going by the title of Five Temptations of a Manager) technology company CEO Andrew O'Brien has a mysterious encounter with an unlikely mentor on a deserted commuter train the night before the annual meeting of the board of directors. He's in trouble but doesn't understand why. The enigmatic Charlie leads him through an exploration of five "temptations" that often trip up ambitious executives: Choosing status over results; choosing popularity over accountability; choosing certainty over clarity; choosing harmony over productive conflict; choosing invulnerability over trust. Easily read in a single sitting, this book conveys the temptations effectively in fable form, followed by a summary and discussion by Lencioni. This may not be a comfortable book for some leaders to read. It doesn't let them off the hook for any of a company's problems. The message is timely as CEOs exit failing companies with massive severance packages. If you read only one of Lencioni's books, you will probably find his style further developed and even more effective in his second book, The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive, or his third, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2001
Every CEO understands that "it's lonely at the top." That loneliness contributes to temptations that can cause an otherwise dedicated executive to go down the wrong path. In this leadership fable, Lencioni, president of The Table consulting group in the San Francisco area, stimulates our thinking with an enjoyable story that captivates the reader's attention. Identifying with Andrew, a troubled CEO, isn't difficult at all . . . and may even be a bit uncomfortable. The discomfort dissolves with the learning that comes in page after page.
Working late on the night before an important board meeting, Andrew O'Brien finds himself on a commuter train. Alone. Except for Charlie, who appears to be a janitor. A conversation develops through which Charlie, an unexpected source of wisdom, shares valuable insight and perspectives with Andrew.
The lessons are built around the five temptations that lead CEOs astray. The fable is well-woven and thought-provoking. Following the story, Lencioni presents his model: a summary of why executives fail. A self-assessment concludes the book. Though I wasn't that excited about the self-assessment, the value of the balance of the book overcomes any deficiencies I might see in those few pages.
The Five Temptations are choosing status over results, choosing popularity over accountability, choosing certainty over clarity, choosing harmony over productive conflict, and choosing vulnerability over trust. Lest you think that you can now avoid reading this book because you know the secrets, let me admonish you that merely knowing the words is considerably different than understanding the concepts. That benefit will come with reading the book, then applying the learnings to strengthen your personal performance.
This quick read can make a significant difference in your effectiveness and happiness.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2000
Pat Lencioni delivers a strong message in this book to anyone in a leadership position, not just CEOs. And that message is that when things go wrong, leaders have themselves to blame. And it offers a challenge to all leaders asking whether the have the courage to accept the responsibility of failure and make the necessary adjustments. The book is effective in its story telling, as well as, being a capable tool for self-assessment. The story of Andrew O' Brien, the CEO of a failing company facing his yearly review, was compelling and all too real. I believe everyone has a little Andrew O' Brien in all of us and, at times a lot more of him in us. This book read like a good Hollywood screenplay with a surprise ending. Along with the story, the book also discussed the points that were mentioned in the story and offers a questions and exercises which can be used as self assessment to determine what temptations the reader may be suffering from. As a graduate student, I am so glad that I have found this book because it has helped me discover some potential temptations that I have and I can get an early start on not falling victim to them. I recommend this book highly to everyone who is in a leadership position. And it should be on the course syllabus for any class teaching leadership or management skills. When I'm in a leadership position this book will definitely be required reading for all of my subordinates.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2000
I read this book and it changed my entire management approach. It forced me to ask myself MANY questions about how I manage and I wound up really changing my management approach on several critical dimensions. I'm convinced this book had more influence over my management skills than ANY other book I've read. If you are honest with yourself and have the courage to identify things you could be doing better, this book is a MUST read. Its like 10 years of management experience in 4 hours...but I'd wait until you've managed at LEAST a few people before you read this. Otherwise, I'm not sure you would get what you are supposed to out of this brilliant, life-changing book.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2006
Nothing succeeds like success in this follow up fable by Patrick. His books work best when they're relevant to your specific situation. In this case if you're in a leadership role and need a little shot in the arm to do the right thing (although I don't imagine many CEO's reading this book). Recommend passing on this rather light fare and looking over Patrik's "5 Dysfunctions of a Team".

Summary - A CEO has just completed a year with very average results. Staying late for the annual meeting he travels home on the subway and meets a homeless man who asks a few pointed questions...

The Five Temptations of a CEO:

1. The desire to protect their career.

2. The desire to be popular.

3. The need to make "correct" decisions.

4. The belief that it is better for people to get along then have conflict.

5. The desire for invulnerability.

Some additional nice quips from the book:

* Overcoming the 5 temptations: Choose results over status, choose accountability over popularity, choose clarity over certainty, choose conflict over harmony, and choose trust over invulnerability.

* Some exec's fear being wrong so much that they only make a decision when absolutely certain of the results.

* The best way to come up with the right decision quickly is to get everyone together and suck all the honest opinions out and come to consensus.

* If no one feels a little pushed out of place then we probably didn't put all of our issues on the table.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2004
I think this is a must read book. Easy to read and entertaining. I really believe that at some point in our lives we all fall into one or more of the temptations. It is almost impossible to avoid them, mostly because we are unable to identify them. This book really opened my eyes and it will certainly open yours too.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 1999
This book was sent directly to me from the Table Group. They had seen my other reviews and wanted my opinion on Lencioni's book.
As CEO of a company I can say that this book was better than most. Any CEO position comes with different responsibilites and this book isn't trying to give the reader a check list of items they should meet in order to be successful. Instead, this book gives the reader five different holes CEO often fall into. This is something that other books fail to address, it's also probably the main area most CEOs fail at.
The book was a little too easy and a little too short, but I enjoyed how the temptations were laid out and the fable story line worked for me. However, I would have liked to have seen more information on how to correct these temptations once a CEO knows that he/she has problems.
A little too short and little too easy, but better than most of the books out there. This is a book any CEO or any want-to-be CEO should read.
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Customers who viewed this also viewed
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick M. Lencioni (Hardcover - April 11, 2002)

The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable
The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable by Patrick M. Lencioni (Hardcover - September 1, 2000)


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