From Publishers Weekly
Successful leaders young and old share numerous qualities, say Bennis and Thomas. The authors, who bring considerable experience to the table (Bennis has written over 30 books on leadership and Thomas is a senior fellow with Accenture's Institute for Strategic Change), interviewed more than 40 leaders who they deem either "geeks" (aged 21-34) or "geezers" (aged 70-82) to evaluate the effect of era on values and success. The two groups vary in terms of their ambitions, heroes and family lives, but members of both sets share one common experience: all have "undergone at least one intense, transformational experience," which the authors call a "crucible." In some cases the crucible was an actual hardship, e.g., geezer Sidney Rittenberg spent 16 years in prison in China for speaking out against the government. For others, it was a dramatic experience, such as NYSE pioneer Muriel Siebert's entry into male-dominated Wall Street in 1967 or geek Liz Altman's stint working at a Japanese Sony factory before becoming a Motorola v-p. The authors offer interviews and statistical data as evidence for the value of the crucible experiences. Among the survey results: of the geezers, 87% had mothers who worked at home, while only 7% of the geeks grew up similarly; 8% of the geezers had divorced parents, versus 44% of the geeks, both facts no doubt reflecting their eras. As an overview, the book lacks the practical applications of some of Bennis's other works, but it's revealing and entertaining nonetheless.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From the Back Cover
"This invaluable book identifies the special qualities and experiences that help good managers become great leaders. It should be required reading for every aspiring leader."
-Howard Schultz, CEO, Starbucks
"Geeks and Geezers is an insightful and absorbing culling of wisdom from remarkable leaders whose ability to create meaning out of adversity is profoundly inspiring. Read this wonderful book for its useful lessons from those already at the top, but also to get to know the emerging heroes who are shaping our future and changing the very definition of leadership."
-Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School, and best-selling author of Evolve: Succeeding in the Digital Culture of Tomorrow
"Geeks and Geezers is both Warren Bennis's most important and his most enjoyable book."
-Peter F. Drucker, Professor of Social Science and Management, Claremont Graduate University
"An inspired idea, a tantalizing title, an essential book."
-Howard Gardner, coauthor of Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics Meet
"A great book for all ages and all seasons. I was humbled by the stories and inspired by the messages that Bennis and Thomas drew from them." -Charles Handy, social philosopher and author of The Elephant and the Flea
"As a geezer, I still want to understand leadership better-not just how to lead but also how to follow the best people. This book offers fresh and useful ideas from any reader's perspective."
-George P. Shultz, Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford Distinguished Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University