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Comment: ALMOST LIKE NEW - NO MARKS in wonderful condition (some shelf wear/cover wrinkle-corner fray; tight, clean; A cursory review reveals: No inscriptions, pen marks, highlighting, underlining, and No notes on pages (we guarantee a refund if there are any!)
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On Leadership Paperback – March 12, 1993

4.2 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA-- Gardner asserts that the most critical problem challenging the U. S. today is its lack of leadership. He proposes and supports with excellent illustrations his theories on leadership that go beyond charisma to heightened motivation, trust, confidence, and shared values on the part of those in charge and their followers. Giving historically significant examples of leaders, Gardner shows the tremendous amount of energy, talent, and dormant enthusiasm that can be mobilized by effective leaders in all levels of society. Given the current apathetic situation he decries, this easily read, inspiring text should be required reading for all high-school social studies classes. Gardner challenges leaders in all walks of life to take their positions in the bastions of the American democracy now or face the dismal consequences later.
- Barbara Batty, Port Arthur I.S.D., TX
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Joseph Jaworski President, American Leadership Forum John Gardner in his extraordinary book demystifies a subject of awesome proportions and brings it into very short focus for all of us. Clear, concise, this book is comprehensive and accessible, and without doubt, will be seen as one of the seminal works on leadership. For anyone who is a real student of leadership, this book is an absolute must.

Michael H. Walsh Chairman and CEO, Union Pacific Railroad Company There may be someone in the country who knows more about leadership than John Gardner -- but if so, I don't know who it is. "On Leadership" belongs on the desk of every business, government, and educational executive in the country.

Howard T Prince, II Ph.D., Colonel, U.S. Army "On Leadership" is a particularly important book for America today. John Gardner has faced current realities with courage and clarity and shows that the tasks of renewing our social organizations and releasing the human possibilities that lie undiscovered or have been suppressed by modem institutions are the critical leadership challenges facing us today.

Fred M. Hechinger President, The New York Times Company Foundation, Inc. At a time of Teflon politicians and professional image makers, John Gardner proposes a powerful antidote to the nation's leadership crisis. He demystifies leadership and links it inseparably to accountability. "On Leadership" offers an essential lesson in history and a demanding but optimistic guide to the future.

Walter E Ulmer, Jr. President, Center for Creative Leadership John Gardner gives us more than a wonderful tour of leadership concepts and practices. "On Leadership" is a rich and lively commentary on our culture. This is a masterpiece that will appeal to the widest range of audiences. The book will stimulate further exploration into this crucial human activity. Essential for every bookshelf, "On Leadership" should be required reading now -- and be reread about once a year!

Joseph Slater President Emeritus, The Aspen Institute "On Leadership" is a combination of wisdom, wit and perception. John Gardner, the supreme generalist, achieves a marvelous synthesis of his own leadership experience and observations over a lifetime.

Howard P. Allen Chairman and CEO, Southern California Edison Company In "On Leadership, " John Gardner has shown uncommon insight in his analysis of this complex and difficult topic. His perceptive guidance to leaders and followers alike is a contribution to leadership development and a service to our nation.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; Revised ed. edition (March 12, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0029113121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0029113127
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a book that can rightly be called a classic to those who study the subject of leadership. It is now over ten years old but is still used by many universities as a textbook for their leadership or business classes. Gardner can truly be called a renaissance man due to his many talents and achievements. With a formal education in psychology he has been a teacher, corporate officer, public-servant in the government, respected author, and military officer. He was awarded the Presidential Metal of Freedom in 1964. Through these experiences he has learned much about leaders and the subject of leadership. On Leadership is written from the heart and discusses the author's philosophy and personal reflections on what it takes to lead others. He defines leadership as "the process of persuasion or example by which an individual (or leadership team) induces a group to pursue objectives held by the leader or shared by the leader and his or her followers".

Gardner begins by stressing the lack of leadership in the U.S. He believes this is a critical problem and opines that new leaders are desperately needed to tackle the obvious monumental societal problems that exist in our culture. Much of the book has a common thread on the critical need for leadership development. The author frequently uses historical examples to highlight his theories on leadership. On Leadership begins by stressing that understanding real leadership is an important first step. Leaders must be accountable, and must be held accountable for their actions and the direction they are taking us. He also does not shy away from a bold discussion on the importance of shared values, ethics, integrity and responsibility.
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Gardner's first sentence of his introduction, "Why do we not have better leadership?' is first answered by his initial definition of leadership attached to a disclaimer: "attention to leadership alone is sterile--and inappropriate. The larger topic of which leadership is a subtopic is the accomplishment of group purpose" [italics original]. This purpose, he says, is furthered by people other than individuals traditionally identified by leaders, such as "innovators, entrepreneurs and thinkers." He did not intend "to deal with either leadership or its related subjects comprehensively" but wanted instead to "illuminate aspects of the subject that may be of use in facing our present dilemmas--as a society and as a species" (p. xvi).

His book accomplished his purpose by highlighting, in vignettes, what by the 1990s had become the standard topics of leadership--traits, contexts, leader-follower dynamics, and so forth. In this sense, Gardner's book, with a flavor made particular by his extensive political examples, is in the genre of classic leadership textbooks, and his answer to the question posed in his first sentence was the book-length elaboration of the final sentence of his introduction: "We can do better. Much, much better" (p. xix).

His contributions to the field of leadership studies include his discussion of "dispersed leadership," which is woven through the text, his thoughts about renewal, and his discussion of how leadership and followership can release human potential. His extended definition of leadership, found on the first page of the first chapter, stated "Leadership is the process of persuasion or example by which a leader (or leadership team) induces a group to pursue objectives held by the leader or shared by the leader and his or her followers" (p.
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John Gardner opens with the question that I have often pondered myself, "Why do we not have better leadership?" For me, the following question is 'how did these people obtain their position?' Of course the latter question exceeds the scope of Gardner's text.

Gardner does explain the attributes of a leader, basic components of leadership and its placement & utilization in large-scale organizations. The author enlivens this academic material by breathing politically historical examples to illustrate its application. The discussion comes full circle when Gardner segues into leadership development, motivation, and the release of human potential.

Personally, I relished absorbing and will emphasize the value of Chapter 13, 'Sharing Leadership Tasks'. Up until this point, most of the material colorfully delivered has been the foundation of leadership in its academic sense and you can find most of these precepts in any leadership text. But in Chapter 13, Gardner ties the principles together and hold all parties responsible. Leaders must be accountable for their actions & outcomes and conversely, the subordinates/constituents are responsible for holding their leader accountable. Gardner does not gloss over the role and responsibility of the subordinate/constituent because they act as a check & balance component for their leader. Furthermore, Gardner challenges the leader to trust, empower and hold his or her subordinates/constituents accountable for their jurisdiction and involve their energy & ideas. Gardner left me with the impression that any person at any level accepting responsibility and sharing in leadership tasks can have a positive ripple effect on those with whom s/he come into contact.
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