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A Leader's Legacy Hardcover – August 18, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0787982966 ISBN-10: 0787982962 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (August 18, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787982962
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787982966
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.7 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


" …an often emotional but compelling book…offers a thoughtful and reassuring perspective that any leader or aspiring leader can use…" (Business Executive, June 2007)


"Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner have done it again! In clear, concise essays filled with wisdom and insight, they set the standard of what leaders need to be in order to excel in the twenty-first century, starting with the legacy that they want to leave behind. A Leader's Legacy is a must-read, not just for those at the top of organizations but for anyone at any level who aspires to be a leader."
—Bill George, former chairman and CEO, Medtronic; author, Authentic Leadership

"This superb book defies conventional wisdom in favor of being truly wise. In chapters such as ‘Leaders Should Want to Be Liked’ and ‘Failure Is Always an Option,’ Kouzes and Posner portray leaders on a human scale, opening leadership to anyone who is willing to be fully human. That, of course, is a challenge! And yet the style of this book—with its stories of well-grounded leaders and its engaging conversational prose—encourages the reader to live into and up to that challenge. A Leader's Legacy will surely become key to the literary legacy that its authors have been leaving in their wake over the past twenty-five years."
—Parker J. Palmer, author, The Courage to Teach, A Hidden Wholeness, and Let Your Life Speak

"In their new book, Kouzes and Posner provide a badly needed supplement to all those other books on leadership. First, they don’t just say that everyone can be a leader—that oft-repeated bromide is little more than a cliché now. They demonstrate (with good examples) how true and important the idea is. And second (again with effective examples) they make ‘leadership’ something that will interest not just ‘organizational’ types but anyone who hopes to make a difference in the world."
—William Bridges, author, Transitions and Managing Transition

"A Leader’s Legacy is an indispensable daily reference for leaders at every level of every enterprise. Legacy is a gift to leaders of today, to leaders of the future."
—Frances Hesselbein, chairman, Leader to Leader Institute

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Customer Reviews

This was not one of the choices, but I stumbled upon it through another book.
Heather Beheler
While it is an in depth blueprint for leadership, A Leader's Legacy is a more succinct and thought provoking book.
Philip R. Heath
This book is a must read for anyone desiring to get a grasp on their leadership philosophy.
A. Rogers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Trish Corlew on January 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am in the midst of a serious crisis in our work environment. I purchased multiple books to help me evaluate our situation. This book was one of the best I read. It made me question why it's taken me so long to act on a problem that we have had for a while. Thank you for such a wonderful book that asked great questions to get me to realize how important this change is to our organization. This book will inspire you to be a better leader and it is quite easy to read. Some of my favorite passages are:

- "We're (leaders) presented with the chance to change a life."

- "Nothing really significant can ever be achieved unless people feel appreciated by their leader."

- "Extraordinary achievements never bloom in barren and unappreciate settings."

- "Leadership requires a resonant connection with others over matters of the heart."

- "Leadership is personal."

- "If you have people working for you in leadership roles who truly don't care if other people don't like them, THEN FIRE THEM." (emphasis I added)

My personal favorites, which just emphasized that my intuition was right along...

- "It's about intimacy. It's about familiarity. It's about empathy. The kind of communication needed to enlist others in a common vision requires understanding constiuents at a much deeper level than we normally find comfortable. It requires understanding others' strongest yearnings and their deepest fears. It requires a profound awareness of their joys and their sorrows. It requires experiencing life as they experience it."

- "When was the last time I fought for a value that I cherished? When was the last time I was resolute in the face of stern resistance?
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Nichols on September 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I found the authors nailed it with this book. It's full of insights into being a leader. . . and in a conversational, easy to read format. The book is full of compelling stories, I read it in a couple of sittings.

I guess what I loved most about it was the common sense, no nonsense way leadership is viewed. Simple statements (not simplisitic) such as "We will work harder and more effectively for people we like. And we will like them in direct proportion to how they make us feel." As they point out we don't need to read mountains of studies on emotional intelligence to understand the truth of these words.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In twenty-one separate but related essays that comprise this volume, James Kouzes and Barry Posner share their thoughts about the positive and enduring impact that an effective leader can have. The nature and extent of each effective leader's legacy, of course, varies from one to another. While reading the Introduction and then the first few chapters, I began to think about great leaders throughout history such as Jesus, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and Mohandas Gandhi. Obviously, there are differences between and among them and other great leaders in terms of when and where they lived, the circumstances in which they were born and raised, and the challenges they faced. However, all of them had a vision of what ought to be as well as an absolute faith that it could be fulfilled, they attracted the support of others who shared their vision and their faith, and they possessed what Bill George characterizes as "authenticity."

Also as I read this book, I thought about the film It's a Wonderful Life in which George Bailey (portrayed by James Stewart) is given the opportunity to know what would have happened, and not have happened, had he not lived. He eventually realizes that the quality and value of his own life are best measured by the quality and value he gives to the lives of others. That is his "legacy," the core concept that Kouzes and Posner rigorously examine throughout their book. A simple idea? Yes and no. We are well-advised to remember Oliver Wendell Holmes' assertion, "I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity."

Kouzes and Posner are persistent empiricists and diehard pragmatists.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Hoel on September 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have become increasingly familiar with the work of Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner for the past 5 years and now they've taken Leadership to an even more exciting level. We all leave a legacy and have a choice of how we want people to remember us. It's the way we live and this is an inspiring resource to how we each can do that in the most positive way. This a great follow up to their insightful research of The Leadership Challenge and is filled with stories of how I can facilitate learning in others to not only take the challenge, but to also accomplish extraordinary results. Anyone can do it, and this book helps us learn how. I use it in every class I teach. This is a "must have" resource for anyone teaching leadership or wanting to learn more of the logical ways to simply move closer to living the legacy we desire.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Alan Spiegelman on October 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Kouzes and Posner boil down their 20+ years of research on the characteristics that define true leaders in this easy to read, no nonsense book. They discuss the fact, by definition, no one can be a leader unless they have followers, and no one will follow those with poor leadership skills. Leadership is about treating people with respect, no matter where they may be on the corporate ladder. The authors really hit the mark with this concise, but well thought out and extremely relevant synopsis of the traits of true leaders. This is a must read for those in positions of responsibility for others in the corporate world, as well as in our government and educational institutions.
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