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Leadership: The Inner Side of Greatness, A Philosophy for Leaders, New and Revised Hardcover – August 22, 2002

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Product Details

  • Series: J-B US non-Franchise Leadership (Book 174)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 2 edition (August 22, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787959561
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787959562
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,535,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Like most books about leadership, this one improves when the author finishes up with generalities and gets down to specifics. Whether it fulfills its "promise" ("to double your business leadership effectiveness on any measure you choose") is debatable; still there are pickings in the book for the would-be leader of a kind not to be found in the many other treatises on the subject. Believing that leadership is a "mindset and a pattern of behaviors" that can be learned and taught, Koestenbaum presents and illustrates the meaning of his "Leadership Diamond." This consists of "four strategies for greatness": vision (thinking big and new), reality (having no illusions), ethics (providing service), and courage (acting with sustained initiative). The "greatness" theme becomes a bit tedious, but there are many compensations. For management collections.
-A.J. Anderson, Graduate Sch. of Lib. & Information Science, Simmons Coll., Boston
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Praise for Peter Koestenbaum

"This is the thinking person's leadership book. It makes my Top-10 list if for no other reason than it quotes the likes of Shakespeare and Kierkegaard. But Koestenbaum's message is profoundly simple: Leadership begins within the self and focuses on rejecting mediocrity." —Tom Brown, Tom's "Top Ten" Column, Industry Week

"Provocative and challenging." —Booklist

"Koestenbaum explains how age-old questions apply to the new world of work." —Minneapolis Star Tribune

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Micael Cimet (mireya@uol.com.br) on May 18, 1998
Format: Hardcover
For the intelligent business person tired of easy recipes, and yearning for a deeper approach to the paradoxes of modern business, here is a work by an original thinker, Psychologist and Philosopher, applying the ages-old wisdom of Philosophy to the challenges of leadership in today's business world. Koestenbaum presents his approach in a didactic manner, yet never underestimating his audience, utlizing a model for Leadership values in the form of a four vertex diamond: Vision, at the top, encompassing the ability to think strategically, but also to understand others with different cultures and realities than our own; Courage at the bottom, which surprisingly represents not heroic, one-time achievements but rather sustained initiative, the ability to focus on an objective throughout life; Reality on the left, comprehending the ability to deal with hard facts, but also the understanding of the paradoxical nature of life; and, last but not least, Ethics, which beyond anything represents empathy and stewardship, service to others as the ultimate way of realizing greatness.
Two fundamental concepts guide the whole book: Greatness, the embodiment of one's potential for life; and Free Will, the simple but powerful recognition of every human being's ability to take charge of his own life and the consequences of his decisions. Dealing with each of the four dimensions of the leadership diamond at increasing levels of depth, Koestenbaum allows the reader to approach practical problems in everyday's business life with new, enriching perspectives, staying away from oversimplifying, or establishing any orthodox "right" answer, but rather recognizing the paradoxical nature of many apparently easy questions in the business arena of today.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Serge J. Van Steenkiste on December 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Peter Koestenbaum correctly adopts a holistic, philosophical approach to leadership that has a better chance to resist the grinding effect of time than an approach built on the last ephemeral buzzword. Leadership means greatness in all one does. Koestenbaum stresses that leadership is not limited to the work sphere. Koestenbaum identifies the six areas of leadership that he calls work, family, self, social responsibility, ecological responsibility, and financial strength.

Koestenbaum links his leadership model in part to philosophy because of its depth, perennial strength. Koestenbaum does not believe in born leaders. Leadership is rooted in one's free will, which underpins both responsibility and accountability. Just having money or authority does not turn anyone into a true leader. Character strength ultimately separates aspirants from authentic leaders who have a personality strong enough for translating mere words into actions.

Koestenbaum builds his leadership model in the form of a diamond whose beating heart is greatness that rests on standards. Four competing styles of thinking shape how the leadership diamond looks like: Vision, reality, ethics, and courage. Vision gives someone a larger view; reality is built on pragmatism; ethics reflects a concern for feelings; courage is rooted in free will. Koestenbaum associates supporting tactics at the professional, social, psychological, and philosophical levels with each of these four styles of thinking. Koestenbaum helps his audience build individual and organizational skills mostly through good examples.

To summarize, Koestenbaum gives his readers building blocks that they can assemble like a Lego. Anyone looking for the proverbial silver bullet will be disappointed. Leadership is shrouded into ambiguity, polarity, and uncertainty. Greatness in leadership is a lifelong endeavor which is open to anyone who has the character strength it takes to make a real difference.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rajiv Chopra on March 23, 2013
Format: Paperback
I must say that I loved this book. I borrowed it from my library, because I have become so tired of management books, that I decided that I would never buy another one. I decided, in fact, that I would only buy books on specific topics. When I picked up this book, I must say that I was intrigued by the cover, and I thought that I would check it out to see if it would live up to the cover.

The book surpassed anything that I had thought about from the cover. This book is brilliant, because it goes back to the core, to timeless principles that we often forget in our mad urge to surpass the last quarter's targets. Management often says one thing and does another. This is the cynical me speaking, but I have seen that the people 'lower' down the rungs do see this difference between management-speaka and management-behaviour, which is why, in this year's WEF findings, top management was seen to be only slightly more credible than the politicians. If indeed top management, nay - people at all levels, apply the principles enunciated in the book, then indeed we will be in a better place.

When I read about The Leadership Diamond, I thought - here comes one more tool. Yet, when I went deeper and deeper into the book, I found that the explanation of the Diamond, and the sub-Diamonds struck a deep emotional chord with me.

I was not too happy with some of the chapters on the implementation techniques, as I felt that these could have been dealt with in some more depth. However, the fact also remains, is that I would love to see Prof Koestenbaum taking me through the principles in person, and not just in the book.

A brilliant book, one that I shall now buy on my Kindle!
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