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Leading for a Lifetime: How Defining Moments Shape Leaders of Today and Tomorrow Paperback – June 15, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-1422102817 ISBN-10: 1422102815 Edition: First Trade Paper Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; First Trade Paper Edition edition (June 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422102815
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422102817
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #754,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Leadership is a rare gift granted to a privileged few……….isn’t it?

Well, no. In fact, authors Warren G. Bennis and Robert J Thomas have discovered that leadership is forged in what they term a crucible of experience. Leaders aren’t just born— they develop by building on the lessons of their times. Everyone who can “learn to learn”, or extract wisdom from the daunting circumstances of life’s transformative moments, can grow to become a leader.

This important new theory is illustrated by examples from two generations of American leaders. Leading for a Lifetime includes interview with such leaders as correspondent Mike Wallace and Architect Frank Gehry, whose crucibles occurred in the 1940’s and 1950’s; and also with young leaders like EarthLink founder Sky Dayton and Ford executive Elizabeth Kao, who came of age in the 1990’s.

Their lessons are as diverse as their experiences—from World War II to the World Wide Web—but the outcomes are the same. This engaging, practical analysis highlights the importance of what leaders old and new have always shared: the desire to learn for a lifetime.

About the Author

Warren G. Bennis is Founding Chairman of The Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California, and a world-renowned expert on leadership. Robert J. Thomas is an Associate Partner with the Accenture Institute for Strategic Change.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
Note: This is a revised and updated reissue of Warren G. Bennis and Robert J. Thomas' previously published Geeks & Geezers. The review that follows is of that book whose insights are essentially the same in the reissue.

I have read all and reviewed most of the books which Bennis has authored or co-authored. My opinion is that this is the most thought-provoking as yet produced by the self-styled "geezer" and his co-author, Thomas. In From Good to Great, Jim Collins explains that he and his 21 research associates set out to answer these questions: Is it possible for a good, mediocre or even terrible organization to become great? If so, what are the underlying variables that enable it to do so? If not, why not?. "We came to think of our research effort as akin to looking inside a black box. Each step along the way was like installing another lightbulb to shed light on the inner workings of the good-to-great process."

Similarly, what we have here is Bennis and Thomas' response to another question: "Why are some people able to extract wisdom from experience, however harsh, and others are not?" Bennis and Thomas asked successful geeks to share the secrets of their youthful triumphs and distinguished geezers to tell them how they continue to stay active and engaged despite the changes wrought by age. They selected and then interviewed a group of 43 effective leaders, ranging in age from 21 to 93. Their research also included others who were not interviewed. As many as possible of the interviews were videotaped because Bennis and Thomas knew that "taping would preserve a wealth of information that no transcript could capture.". The results of their study are presented and discussed in this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAME on December 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," is one of Friedrich Nietzsche's most famous sayings. In their quest to uncover the secrets of great leadership across generations, Warren Bennis and Robert J. Thomas arrive basically at the same conclusion in this revised update of their earlier book Geeks & Geezers. The ability to overcome adversity is the universal theme that emerges from their interviews with 18 "geeks," leaders mostly younger than 30, and 25 "geezers," leaders mostly aged 70 to 80, in search of lessons about leadership, as shaped by generational differences. How disparate and how alike were the corporate leaders of the World War II generation and today? Though raised in radically different generations, both groups share unflinching optimism, rock-solid integrity and the ability to inspire others. We strongly recommend the leadership principles in this finely crafted, absorbing book to leaders and potential leaders. Look at it this way: The effort won't kill you; in fact, it'll probably make you stronger.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Reid Mccormick on August 18, 2014
Format: Paperback
“Stripped to its essentials, leadership involves just three things – a leader, followers, and a common goal.”

I was really excited to read this book. I loved the premise: a study on older leader and younger leaders, finding out what they have in common and where they differ.

Unfortunately this book never seemed to bloomed into the book I was anticipating. Half the book sets up the definition of “geezer” and “geek” (aka old and young) leaders. While the last half of the book is nothing more than pieced together interview excerpts.

The overall concept of the book, the basic ideas of leadership, and research is all good, I do not find fault in the book. However I feel like other books on leadership do a better job tying everything to together.
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