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The Five Temptations of a CEO: A Leadership Fable 1st Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 148 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0787944339
ISBN-10: 0787944335
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Imagine running into the ultimate management mentor late one night on an otherwise deserted commuter train, and walking away from the strange encounter with an encapsulated guide to success in the corporate world. That's exactly what screenwriter and business coach Patrick Lencioni has done in The Five Temptations of a CEO: A Leadership Fable, placing his tale in an easy-reading and thought- provoking kind of self-help novel.

Designed to be read in a single sitting, this book uses the unexpected meeting between troubled high-tech honcho Andrew O'Brien and a mysterious old man named Charlie to explore a series of common traps that can unwittingly ensnare any hard-driven executive. Lencioni hones in on the five "temptations" of the workplace: desires to jealously guard career status, consistently remain popular with subordinates, unfailingly make correct decisions, constantly strive for an atmosphere of total harmony, and always appear invulnerable. A discussion of the story's events and their real-world implications follows, as Lencioni shifts from screenwriter mode to business coach to help answer some of the questions he raises. --Howard Rothman

From Library Journal

This tape presents the story of Andrew, a CEO, and the five temptations he faces in management. The central part of the work is a quirky dream. Very simplified, the temptations are putting self first, wanting to be liked rather than to lead, making decisions reluctantly, elevating harmony above productive argument, and not trusting subordinates. The author's discussions at the end of the story help clarify the main points, and the narration is nicely done by Boyd Gaines. Some of the ideas are good, but the advice is not consistently insightful. Recommended only for libraries with large management collections.AMark Guyer, Stark Cty. Dist. Lib., Canton, OH
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: J-B Lencioni Series (Book 11)
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787944335
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787944339
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.7 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #442,404 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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.
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By A Customer on April 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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