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Survival of the Savvy: High-Integrity Political Tactics for Career and Company Success Hardcover – December 6, 2004


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Survival of the Savvy: High-Integrity Political Tactics for Career and Company Success + Secrets to Winning at Office Politics: How to Achieve Your Goals and Increase Your Influence at Work + Corporate Confidential: 50 Secrets Your Company Doesn't Want You to Know---and What to Do About Them
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (December 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743262549
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743262545
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this guide to the often slippery realm of office politics, executive coaches Brandon and Seldman champion a politics of "moral means" to "noble ends." However, some of their wisdom has a Machiavellian cast. They recommend avoiding open confrontation with more powerful managers, explain how to network strategically, cite movie godfather Vito Corleone on the importance of veiling your thoughts and detail procedures for getting to your boss with your side of the story before a rival can bad-mouth you. Much of their advice involves the basics of popularity and tact, like their "Balanced Response" technique for inoffensively quashing colleagues’ flawed or incomplete ideas. Image and self-presentation are covered, with bullet points on "power wardrobe," posture, vocal style ("err on the side of speed and slightly revved-up volume") and body language (a clenched jaw and dilated pupils give off bad vibes). Sample monologues provide models for the self-promotional, 30-second elevator speech to corporate bigwigs. If nothing else, employees can always "mention top management catchphrases" and "carry around the Wall Street Journal or Harvard Business Review to show general business acumen." Aimed primarily at "under-political" people perennially steamrollered, ostracized or exploited by slicker operators, the book includes lots of "self-talk" mantras ("it’s ‘networking’ and ‘relationship-building,’ not ‘schmoozing’") that readers can recite to overcome their reluctance to play the game. The authors have a good feel for the nitty-gritty of corporate conflict, misbehavior and skullduggery. Their portrait of a business world ruled by intrigue, "buzz" and "savvy" instead of competence is not reassuring, but this engagingly written and reasonably specific primer will help employees navigate it.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Politics are a reality in any organization, but as this terrific book shows, you don't have to throw your ethics and integrity out the window to master the game. Brandon and Seldman's fresh approach to a taboo topic is as entertaining as it is inspiring. Survival of the Savvy will teach you how to avoid the ego trips and journey with others to greatness.
Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager and Customer Mania!

Seldman and Brandon have years of experience coaching and training at companies like PepsiCo to help executives navigate the complexities and ambiguities of organizational politics with integrity and positive impact. Their practical tips on reading political styles, building a network, and exercising verbal discipline are invaluable.
Michael D. White, Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo International

Finally, a book that speaks the truth about corporate power, influence, and the science of relationships. A must read for serious corporate leaders and, equally important, aspiring leaders!
Jovita Thomas-Williams, Vice President, Human Resources, MGM Grand Detroit Casino

Survival of the Savvy provides CEOs, business leaders, and their teams with vital new insights and essential skills. The authors set the bar at a new height in describing how to effectively understand and influence others and how to ensure a values- based and high-performance work culture.
Edward Ludwig, Chairman, CEO, and President, Becton, Dickinson and Company

Brandon and Seldman, two clever writers, give a lifeline to anyone treading water or trying synchronized swimming in the corporate shark tank...They fill their book with practical, tactical tips to help protect their readers' assets.
Harvey Mackay, author of Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive

Brandon and Seldman tap into the nervous system of corporations and offer fascinating straight talk about a tacit business taboo -- their writing is engaging, entertaining, and easy to relate to.
Deborah Harrington, National Training Director, Citibank North America

They're not kidding when they say "survival;" even Darwin would have approved of this objective look at the precise intricacies of human behavior. If you take office politics seriously, you'll appreciate the weighty analysis Brandon and Seldman bring to even the most obscure workplace scheming. Brandon and Seldman take on the role of corporate anthropologists, dissecting how office politics work and what you can do to master them ethically.
FAST COMPANY'S READER'S CHOICE AWARD REVIEW, FEBRUARY, 2005

"Ever had an idea stolen by someone brash enough to present it as his or her own idea at a VP meeting? Brandon and Seldman offer serious research to substantiate this all-too-prevalent work problem and outline the many ways the politically inept can develop the savvy political instincts we all need to feel valued at our work."
BOOKPAGE

This is a book about what these two mega-powered business consultants call using "high-integrity" politics as a useful change agent...Not incidentally, through case studies, they analyze self-defense strategies to insulate executives from well-known banditos lurking along the trailway to the top.
BUSINESS 2 BUSINESS, JANUARY, 2005

This work will help employees navigate office politics in almost any kind of setting. Corporate consultants Brandon and Seldman offer practical advice, starting with the assumption that engaging in office politics is vital to one's career. Recommended for larger public libraries and all business management collections.
LIBRARY JOURNAL, November 15, 2004

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Customer Reviews

The heavy theoretical discussions found in numerous management books are replaced with simple, yet eye-opening advice that one can put to use immediately.
I. Hunkar Ozyasar
This books helps even those who loathe the notion of organizaitonal politics learn practical ways of increasing their impact while remaining true to themselves.
Flawless consulting
There are many useful tips and strategies in this book which can be easily applied and can make a difference in the way you are viewed within an organization.
Orfilio Pelaez

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The Four Star rating indicates my respect for what Brandon and Seldman accomplish in this volume. However, I wish they had developed several of their core concepts in much greater depth and with tone and diction worthy of those insights. I groaned when encountering clunkers such as "Get off that river in Egypt -- De-Nile!" because Brandon and Seldman are not "teaching synchronized swimming in a shark tank!" Then "Merge into the Savvy Zone" while recognizing the importance of "Different Strokes for Different Folks." (I'm not making this stuff up. It's in the book.) That said, Brandon and Seldman generally succeed when recommending and then explaining "high integrity political tactics for career and company success."

When reflecting on his career, President Harry S Truman proudly described himself as a politician, reputedly claiming that politics "is the art of the possible." It should be added that throughout Truman's public service, his personal integrity was impeccable. Brandon and Seldman make two obvious but important points: Like it or not, politics are inevitable when two or more -- and especially when three or more -- people are involved, and, it is nonetheless possible to be (as was Truman) an effective politician without compromising one's integrity. In fact, as Jim O'Toole asserts in The Executive's Compass: Business and the Good Society as does David Maister in Practice What You Preach: What Managers Must Do to Create a High Achievement Culture, those whose lives are guided and informed by admirable values (e.g. honesty, loyalty, decency, trustworthiness) will achieve much greater success than will those whose lives aren't. Therefore, the "savvy" executive is one who combines high principles with street smarts. No news there.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Karen Seidman on August 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As a leadership coach, I have successfully used this book with clients at all levels of an organization. This book has been extremely helpful with clients who saw politics as "slimy" to help them look at political savvy as something that can be exercised with integrity.

This book does three things:

1) Reframes politics as ethical influence. Politics change from being a dirty word to a necessary leadership skill for effectively impacting the organization.

2) Offers a self-awareness tool to help people identify their strengths and weaknesses.

3) Offers practical ready-to-implement strategies for becoming more impactful.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By H. Friedman on January 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a fine tips and tactics book as indicated in the title. The authors' goal of taking the high ground, "moral means" to "noble ends" is laudable since there are only a few books out there that come from an ethical base rather than an amoral or Machiavellian perspective. The book didn't quite live up to expectations on that goal. Several of their suggestions had an amoral slant such as when they talk about "quashing" others' ideas, even if done inoffensively. At times, it comes across as more of a micro-level beginner's book when they write about the value of carrying the Wall Street Journal around in the hope of showing others one's business acumen. I doubt this ever really works. In addition, they go into power dressing, posture, elevator speeches, vocal speed and even how dilated one's pupils should be when influencing others. Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) is a much better source for this type of micro-level detail for influence management. I was hoping for a more strategic perspective. The book is very well written and helps one understand the reality of organizational politics, which some people would prefer not to hear. This book should help the many people they call `under political' defend themselves and survive when facing the down side of corporate politics.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Betsy Westerndorf on April 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I have historically been a person who has shunned the idea of political savvy. In the first place, being "political" meant being shady or underhanded. Add "savvy" to the equation, and you have a loud underhanded jerk in an Armani suit.

You can imagine my surprise when I used the Style Strength Finder in Rick Brandon and Marty Seldman's Survival of the Savvy and discovered that I was, in fact, quite high on the political continuum. I also saw that, truth be told, I had several unacknowledged weak spots which I knew had limited my possibilities. Who did I think was sailing my ship? I had been leaving myself vulnerable to certain conditions in the name of some moralistic misinterpretation of political savvy.

This book is chocked full of ideas and considerations. If you are not facing a specific political situation, I would recommend reading the first six chapters and then letting your fingers be your guide. Open the book to any page and read a few paragraphs or pages. It will change the way you look at what is right in front of you, and it will give you concrete ideas for increasing your ability to be your best and be seen for you best regardless of the political climate.

I learned that every environment is political. It is political to be non-political. Remember in high-school when you got your teacher assignments, and you immediately sought out someone older to find out how this teacher graded? That was political and smart. And guess what. Nothing has changed; the classroom has just gotten more complex, and you'd be wise to get some tips for success.

I was recently coaching a group of young people in Presentation Skills. They knew that their job was to bring fresh new ideas into the organization.
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