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Leadership [Paperback]

by James MacGregor Burns
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)


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Book Description

November 9, 1982 0061319759 978-0061319754 1

One of America's leading historians on the role of leadership in American history.



Editorial Reviews

Review

"...An impressive book. Although Burns is sophisticated about the frailties of people, Leadership is also an optimistic book..." -- Walter Johnson, The Washington Post

"...an important book..." -- Kenneth B. Clark, City News

About the Author

James MacGregor Burns received his doctorate in political science from Harvard. In 1971, Burns won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for his biography Roosevelt: Soldier of Freedom. A past president of the American Political Science Association, Burns is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and serves as Distinguished Leadership Scholar at the Academy of Leadership that bears his name at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1 edition (November 9, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061319759
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061319754
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #568,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leadership: an analysis study November 23, 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The world of leadership is examined through a sweeping assessment on its power and purpose to its origins in James MacGregor Burns's book, Leadership. This book is a very comprehensive overview of the study of leadership as it distinguishes not only what are the two basic styles of leadership: transforming and transactional, but evaluates the theory and practice of leadership skills as well. Burns stated in Leadership, "I define leadership as leaders inducing followers to act for certain goals that represent the values and the motivations¬-the wants and needs, the aspirations and expectations-of both leaders and followers" (19).

Throughout the book, Burns discussed the leadership styles of political leaders to religious and social leaders. From Martin Luther King, Jr to Moses to Mahatma Gandhi to Napoleon, plus Machiavelli and even Adolf Hitler, Burns cited how these leaders made vital distinctions between wants and needs. According to Burns, "the process of leadership must be seen as part of the dynamics of conflict and of power; that leadership is nothing if not linked to collective purpose; that the effectiveness of leaders must be judged not by their press clippings but by actual social change measured by intent and by the satisfaction of human needs and expectations" (3).
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The cornerstone of leadership literature February 11, 2002
Format:Paperback
This is the definitive book on leadership. It is long, dense with historical facts, sparkling with insights, and is essential reading for the leadership scholar. Few other leadership books merit a place on the essential reading list for this field.
Burns's accomplishment of recognizing the taxonomy of leadership is unmatched to this day. He distinguishes, for example, intellectual leadership from executive leadership, and explains how each is forged in the "crucible" of circumstances.
Rather than serving as a "how to" guide on leadership, Burns provides the reader with a framework for understanding his or her leadership role, and the requirements that accompany each role. Finding one's own reflection in this catalog of leadership roles can be an exciting and satisfying moment for the reader.
Burns is best known for developing the concept of "transforming" leadership, or "transformational" leadership as he calls it in this book. It stands in contrast to "transactional" leadership, which holds that every leader-follower encounter is an isolated event.
Whether the reader perseveres through the whole book, or just reads the introductory chapters, he or she will be in the presence of some of the best thinking to date on leadership.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic for the 21st Century April 22, 2007
Format:Paperback
When I was a doctoral student, I wrote my dissertation about transforming leadership. As a full-time doctoral faculty member at one of America's leading online universities, I now mentor students in leadership and organizational change, among other specializations.

Leadership, by James MacGregor Burns the Pulitzer Prize winning author, is the most important book I have read in the field of leadership. In it, Burns coined the term, Transforming Leadership, and distinguished it from its more mundane counterpart, Transactional Leadership.

In so doing, Burns catalyzed much of the theorizing and research into transforming leadership (also called transformational leadership, visionary leadership, and charismatic leadership, among others) from the latter part of the 20th century through today.

In this foundational book, Burns argued that there was a "crisis of leadership" because people did not understand the essence of leadership. Whereas traditional, transactional leaders concern themselves with exchanging money for services, the modern, transforming leader "seeks to satisfy higher needs, and engages the full person of the follower" in a "collective purpose," that is, a common vision or shared goal. The end result is leadership "that can produce social change that will satisfy followers authentic needs" (p. 4).

A classic, the message of this book is as meaningful and urgent today as it was when Burns wrote it. We need a new form of leadership to help us deal with the problems of an ever shrinking, interconnected world. Those who would be part of a collective effort to make the world a better place, would do well to read this book.

Robert E. Levasseur, Ph.D., author of "Leadership and Change in the 21st Century"
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The MUST book on leadership. February 17, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is THE classic, set-the-bar book on leadership. Professor Burns has produced a masterful, beautifully written, historically based view of leadership behavior. In this book, he first introduces his idea of 'transforming leadership.' Now in his 80s, he is Senior Scholar at the James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership at University of Maryland. A true classic.....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple and Practical April 19, 2012
Format:Paperback
This book was a required reading for me for my MBA program in which one of my concentrations is in Leadership Development. When I requested it from Netgalley, I thought it looked familiar, but when I saw the edition above, I recognized it as the book I had used.

What stood out most to this book was that the "lessons" from the author could be used in multiple sectors. From non-profit to for profit. He, excellently, used "real life" lessons that in the work I have done tends to work better than in simple dicatating of expectations. Also, although the author used many historical figures in his lesson, the lessons "taught" were timeless, as should be the case in true leadership development.

As I am writing this from a business perspective, I could easily see this used with new leaders, as well as in a HR/OD setting.

I wish I could give it more than 5 stars..I truly believe, as I believed then, this book has alot of life lessons for our young adults all the way up to corporate leadership on the "tenets" of what makes someone an ethical leader in society.

Also, I must make a note that the person who reviewed this book as anything but practical, must not have been using this book right. I think with the way that the book is written, it would keep a person whose normal position isn't in leadership development interested. One of the challenges with leadership books is that they get bogged down, written dryly and get very wordy which will detract readers and make the consultant's job more difficult. I did not find this with this book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars a book for all times
this book will go a long way in addressing the problem of political leadership in Africa and other developing countries. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Bolaji Samson Aregbeshola
4.0 out of 5 stars OK
This product was exactly as described.
I am including these next few words becasue Amazon requires it. That needs to be changed.
Published 3 months ago by KC
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent text for use at all levels.
Highlyy informative for with little or no leadership experience, and explicatory of successful leadership experience for those who have experience and want to learn the basis for... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Manuel De La Torriente
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Topic, not well Executed
Leadership is a secondary source history/political science book drawing on historical examples, psychology, and some philosophical concepts on governance. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jacob Foxx
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic
A must read, a bit dated in the references (often reads more like a history book than a leadership text at this point) but still fresh and relevant.
Published 8 months ago by Frank Markow
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing, provocative, profound
A brilliant, seminal classic. Highly recommended for aspiring leaders -- and thoughtful followers -- and quoted and drawn upon by leadership scholars around the world.
Published 9 months ago by Harmony Seeker
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good
I purchased the item for a friend of mine and my friend loved it and said that is very satisfied
Published 13 months ago by Adnor Pitanga
5.0 out of 5 stars great
thanks for your dealing i will deal again and again with you because it was nice to deal with you
Published 14 months ago by Salah Meemar
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Doing Business with you
I received the merchandise on time, the book was as it was described and price was reasonable. Great doing business!!!!
Published 16 months ago by A. Lindsay
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Have
Leadership by James MacGregor Burns is a must have for anyone studying leadership. Burns presents a thorough discussion of leadership - its origins, its purpose, styles, and... Read more
Published 23 months ago by swftjwl
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