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Learning to Lead: A Workbook on Becoming a Leader [Paperback]

by Warren Bennis, Joan Goldsmith
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 27, 2010 0465018866 978-0465018864 Fourth Edition
Over his distinguished career Warren Bennis has shown that leaders are made, not born. In Learning to Lead, written in partnership with management development expert Joan Goldsmith, Bennis provides a program that will help managers transform themselves into leaders.

Using wise insights from the world’s best leaders, helpful self-assessments, and dozens of one-day skill-building exercises, Bennis and Goldsmith show in Learning to Lead how to see beyond leadership myths and communicate vision to others. With updates throughout, Learning to Lead is both a workbook and a deeply considered treatise on the nature of leadership by two of its finest and most experienced practitioners—and teachers.

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Editorial Reviews


Doug Willmore, Chief Administrative Officer, Salt Lake County
Learning to Lead is one of the finest books for leaders that I have ever had the opportunity to read. Grounded in proven theory, yet written in action, Bennis and Goldsmith have given anyone who aspires to lead more powerfully and more effectively, a pathway to follow. The pathway they lay out requires work and thought, yet it also calls for the best that you have to give – and as such, has allowed for new levels of self-expression, authenticity, and effectiveness in my own leadership. Clear and concise, yet not simple, it is a book that I will return to again and again.”

Catherine Houser, Executive Vice President of Human Resources, MTV Networks
“They say leaders are born, but leadership is a skill that's bred. Learning to Lead is full of smart, practical thinking on how to unlock the potential for greatness that lies within all of us.”

Raz Ingrasci, President & CEO, Hoffman Institute
“Outstanding leaders effectively embrace the paradox of a path that is equal parts inner wisdom and outward action. Now, just when the demand for excellence is greatest, this modern classic by Goldsmith and Bennis gives leaders of every stripe direct access to great mastery from one who knows you perfectly in your highest aspirations – YOURSELF. Live with this book. Use it to recalibrate your inner compass as you step boldly forward into the greatest adventure of your life.”

Tuscon Citizen
“This definitive and practical guide to leadership, now in its revised and updated fourth edition, is especially important in our current work environment of crisis and uncertainty. The ability to develop competent leaders is, without a doubt, one of our society’s most pressing concerns. This handy workbook is filled with wisdom from the world’s most insightful and accomplished leaders and includes useful self-assessments and dozens of interactive skill-building exercises.”

About the Author

Warren Bennis is Distinguished Professor of Business Administration at the University of Southern California and a consultant to multinational companies and governments throughout the world. He is the author of On Becoming a Leader and Organizing Genius. He lives in Santa Monica, California.

Joan Goldsmith is a management consultant based in Santa Monica, California.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Fourth Edition edition (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465018866
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465018864
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Warren Bennis (Los Angeles, CA), born in 1925, is an American scholar, organizational consultant and author, who is widely regarded as the pioneer of the contemporary field of leadership. He is University Professor and Distinguished Professor of Business Administration at the University of Southern California. In the past decade, he served as chairman of the Advisory Board of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, working with David Gergen.
Bennis has consulted for many Fortune 500 companies and served as adviser to four U.S. presidents. He has served on the faculty of MIT's Sloan School of Management and was Chairman of the Organizational Studies Department. He is a former faculty member of Boston University, former Provost and Executive Vice President of State University of New York at Buffalo and President of the University of Cincinnati. His global experience includes teaching at the Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta, INSEAD, the London Business School, and IMEDE (now IMD). In 2007, Business Week called him one of ten business school professors who have had the greatest influence on business thinking. He has received 20 honorary degrees and has served on numerous boards of advisors.
Bennis has written or edited 30 books, which have been translated into 21 languages, and many articles on three of his passions-leadership, organizational change, and creative collaboration. The Financial Times recently named Leaders as one of the top 50 business books of all time.
Bennis is proud of the four years he served in the U.S. Army, 1943-1947. At the age of 19 he was one of the youngest infantry commanders in Germany and was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. His dream remains: to write a terrific one-act play.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Life-Long Exploration of Self May 7, 2001
The late Vince Lombardi once asserted that leaders are made -- they are not born. "And they are made just like anything else that has ever been made in this country -- by hard effort and that's the price we all have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal." Bennis and Goldsmith agree. Theirs is literally a WORK book. The material is organized within these seven chapters:
Leadership for a Successful Future ["Followers, who are often partners in an endeavor, look to leaders to interpret reality, explain the present, and paint a picture of the future."]
How to Use This Workbook ["We are introducing a different path to leadership development -- one that has twists and turns. It may not take a reader on a direct route to a finite end-place."]
The Leadership Crisis ["Where have all the leaders gone?...In the past two decades, there has been a high turnover, an appalling mortality -- both occupational and actuarial -- among leaders."]
Knowing Yourself ["If we have a clear awareness of who we are, we can develop the habit of staying tuned to what we say and do."]
NOTE: Bennis and Goldsmith agree with Shakespeare's Polonius ("To thine ownself be true") as does James O'Toole who, in The Executive's Compass and in Leading Change, has much of value to say on the subject of congruence of values and behavior.
Creating and Communicating a Vision ["Vision animates, inspirits, and transforms purpose into action."]
Managing Trust Through Integrity ["The leader has a vision for the organization that is clear, attractive, and attainable....has unconditional empathy for for those who live in the organization.....the leader's positions are consistent....and the leader's integrity is unquestionable.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A straight-forward look at Leadership August 15, 2000
Clarity. Simple, straight-forward, clarity. In the hustle and jive of selling leadership, this book stands out. As the authors point out, leadership has become a growth industry. In our hunger for answers to increasingly complex problems, we consume vast quantities of pretty unsubstantial literature on leadership. "Learning to Lead" brings a clarity to the matter of leadership development that is refreshing. The authors don't try to boil a complex subject down to aphorisms, but they do succeed in clarifying the route to developing leadership. They focus their efforts on exercises that will test and reinforce an aspiring leaders ability to know themselves, to create and communicate a vision, to maintain trust through integrity (couldn't a few of our leaders use that!) and realizing intention through action. Simple. Clear. Straightforward.
The exercises, although mostly paper and pencil activities that anyone could do without cooperating partners, are appropriate for the format of the book. Again they seek to clarify our vision of what we can do, even if we are not Gandhi, Martin Luthor King or Napoleon, to exercise leadership in our lives and our communities. This book is both inspirational and immanently practical. I awarded this book only 4 stars simply for the lack of graphics and visual content. It could have been more effective if it had been developed with visual learners in mind.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Leadership Guru Does It Again! July 11, 2001
By A Customer
This is a book which is incredibly hands on and easy to access. Bennis focuses on the essentials of leadership and unlike so many others, he gives concrete tangible steps for people to take to help them discover their own leadership potential. It is useful for individuals and for groups. It has application for people from all walks of life, at all stages of life and at all stages of personal development!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Using a framework for thinking about and developing leadership talents, this workbook presents a course of study consisting of discussion and many exercises (including a leadership assessment inventory), focusing on character and core competencies. The theme is we are each capable of creating ourselves as effective leaders and can find a place on a continuum of leadership ranging from indirect support to direct leadership. This book offers a highly practical approach to leadership self-development. Reviewed by Gerry Stern, founder, HR consultant.com InfoCenter and Stern & Associates.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Run for president? June 10, 2012
The content is written in an easy and simple style. The exercises are plentiful but sometimes repeat them self only to ask the same topic from a different angle. Nearly all the examples published are about presidents, or characters of world importance. As I do not want to run for presidency, specially not in the US, I could not relate too much to the examples. Of course the people mentioned have their greatness and have been all great leaders, but I am doing hard to relate them to myself. Therefore I got annoyed about the examples. I would have preferred to read some more handy examples about "normal" people, or even leaders in companies taking up their responsibility and become great leaders.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Workbook April 7, 2014
By Robert
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really learned absolutely nothing about being a leader from this book. While it is cheap it is basically just a bunch of blank lines so that you can fill in how you feel and analyze yourself.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars It was okay.
This is a workbook. I did not feel that I gained much out of it but others did in my class. It was not my style. I stopped reading it.
Published 1 month ago by Danielle Roth
1.0 out of 5 stars eBook does not work on Android - Don't download it
I purchased this ebook for my android kindle app. It is not formatted correctly.

The pages reflow but then disappear - You can't use it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Tim Bergkvist
5.0 out of 5 stars It has given me great beginnings
As I strive to improve my leadership, this is just one more way that will help me to it and in an understandable fashion.
Published 2 months ago by Dorothy M. Zabrocki
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Resource
I would recommend this book for those wanting to develop leader skills or for those facilitating leadership courses. Good exercises.
Published 3 months ago by BC reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Needs online support tools
This workbook would be enhanced if there were online tools that support the exercises, especially if there were audios for the guided meditations.
Published 5 months ago by Robyn J. Morrison
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I would recommend this book to anyone who needs it. It really makes you think about who you are as a leader
Published 7 months ago by Kesha F.
1.0 out of 5 stars Keep your friends close...
...and your reviewers closer. Politics makes strange bedfellows, and stranger rationalization of what is right and what is wrong. Good luck to the authors.
Published 8 months ago by Lou Kingin
5.0 out of 5 stars school book
Wife needed this for class she is taking it came like new condition but sols as used.. in very good condiion
Published 12 months ago by FRED ALBRIGHT
5.0 out of 5 stars Warren Bennis hits the ball out of the park again....
With his Fourth Edition, I strongly recommend to anyone who wants to take it up a notch in the office, at home or in life.
Published 12 months ago by Charles J. Tuzzo
4.0 out of 5 stars Purchase Review
Thank you for prompt delivery. I actually ordered the book for my husband so I cannnot comment on the content of the book itself, but my experience making the purchase was... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Christine Harwood
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