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Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life Hardcover – June 8, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-1422103289 ISBN-10: 1422103285 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (June 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422103285
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422103289
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Friedman, a former academic and leadership consultant, presents “Total Leadership,” his “four-way” win method that enables a leader to find mutual value at work, at home, in the community, and personally. He explains that his views are not work-life balance, which he considers a zero-sum game. Using exercises, stories, charts, and lists, the author describes Total Leadership as a program for becoming a leader who acts with authenticity by determining what is important, who acts with integrity by respecting all parts of his life, and who acts with creativity by experimenting to find new solutions. Claiming leadership can and must be learned, the author offers step-by-step instructions for using his principles to produce stronger business results while having a richer life and creating opportunities for others. Although this book appears to be a manual for client seminars and an infomercial for his consulting activities, Friedman nevertheless offers thoughtful insight into important leadership qualities that will improve results while allowing for a fulfilling life for leaders and their followers. --Mary Whaley


In the future, being a leader will require ways to integrate work with rest of one's life, resulting in more effective leadership and a more fulfilling life. Total Leadership points the way.
--Robert Reich, Professor, University of California at Berkeley, former US Secretary of Labor, and author, Supercapitalism

Destined to be a classic, this is a remarkable book.  I have studied leadership and led organizations for over twenty years.  No other book has reshaped my thinking about leadership development as much as Total Leadership.
-- David A. Thomas, Dean, Georgetown University MdDonough School of Business, and author, Breaking Through: The Making of Minority Professionals in Corporate America

With a refreshingly simple approach to winning the daily struggle between family bliss and career satisfaction, Stew Friedman outlines clear and innovative solutions for better managing the competing demands of our lives.  Engaging and inspiring.
--Anne Erni, Head of Leadership, Learning and Diversity at Bloomberg

It is difficult to translate the dynamic process of learning into the pages of a book, but Stew Friedman has done it! When we become more intentional leaders, it benefits every facet of our lives: our work, our families, our community connections, and, at the deepest level, ourselves.
--Ellen Galinksy President, Families and Work Institute 

Total Leadership is so aligned with my thinking as an HR executive and medical director of a global business. With practical tools and compelling stories, Friedman demonstrates how to achieve four-way wins a distinctive, important new concept for today s leaders. 
--Dr. Robert W. Carr, Vice President and Corporate Medical Director, GlaxoSmithKline

“The accessible text includes exercises that the reader can engage in to cultivate his or her confidence, eloquence, and imagination. An excellent career and self-help resource!” — Midwest Book Review

“Stewart Friedman in his book Total Leadership talks about this as ‘four-way wins.’ I think balance is almost impossible these days, but if you try to think of career, family, community, and self as four circles and try to overlap them, you will feel more productive.” — Julie Smolyansky, CEO of Lifeway

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Customer Reviews

It's surprisingly easy to do and very insightful.
It gives us simple exercises to help us understand our vision, our stakeholders and integrate all the four domains to lead a healthy richer life.
Vanaja Shankar
If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself.
Robert Morris

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 49 people found the following review helpful By M. Henderson on July 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I took two intercontinental flights recently and took the time to go through the "Total Leadership" program. And, before I begin my review, I want to say that over the past ten years or so I've seen an absolute avalanche of "leadership" books come out - most of them gimmicky and useless. This is not one of them and in fact I believe the title may deter people from purchasing this; do not be one of them.

"Total Leadership" is about finding your way when you have multiple responsibilities tugging you in different directions. Until now, I've often felt family pulling me one way, only to find the more time I spend with them the more I resent the time it takes away from work. Similarly, on business trips for example, I fight with feelings of guilt for being away from my family. And that's not to mention the the toll all of this takes on my health, when I'm too busy to exercise or just watch the game with friends. I'm here to say this book can help, like finding the long lost manual and finally figuring our how to do new things with a product, this book acts as a guide to finding a semblance of control in your life. It's not about sacrifice, and it's definitely not found in the idea of "balance", this book advocates a powerful third way: overlapping your domains and drawing boundaries.

What makes this book especially effective are the exercises the author puts the reader through. The reader is asked to define the issue, starting with the multiple responsibilities and challenges s/he faces, then it moves on to defining your domains, where is it that you spend your time? Most of the readers (including myself) would find four areas: self, family, work and community.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Tech-shaman on June 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Stew Friedman has hit the ball out of the park by writing a book about his real-world experience helping people combine and optimize their home life with their work life. I took a class from Stew at Wharton a few years ago as the ideas and techniques in this book were evolving. The basic idea is to use Stew's rating methodology to rank how much effort you put into different parts of your life and to measure it against the returns you get. It's surprisingly easy to do and very insightful. Then, the book shows you how to optimize where you focus your energy so you can get better results in all the parts of your life that matter. Very few business and leadership books admit that the link between your home life and your work life is an integral part of how you function in both. Total Leadership not only understands this idea, it teaches you how to strengthen the link, enriching your life at work and at home. Try it, it works!
-a happy VP somewhere in Silicon Valley
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Format: Hardcover
I wish this book had been available 20 years ago when I was a senior-level corporate executive, struggling without much success to balance everything in my life. At that time, I had a large corporate staff to supervise and was married and the father of four teenagers, three sons and a daughter. Moreover, I was actively involved in several non-profit organizations. Finally, whenever possible, I tried to "squeeze" into my already busy life a occasional round of golf, a visit to one of the local art museums, "going out" to see a film. What I should have done -- but failed to do -- is what Stewart Friedman recommends in this book: to reflect on and then explore (through a four-step process of discovery) the relative importance of four domains in my life (i.e. work, home, community, and self) and determine (a) whether or not the goals I was pursuing in each were in synch, (b) in synch with the other goals, and (c) and how satisfied I was with what was happening in each and all domains. That was then...

Now, here's my take on a few of Friedman's key points.

1. Most people (including business leaders) function in the aforementioned domains. Once each has been measured, he challenge is to make whatever modifications are necessary to establish and then sustain harmony between and among them. "The whole fits together elegantly."

2. According to Friedman, "total" leaders possess great strength because they do what they love, drawing upon the resources of their entire (four-domain) life. By acting with authenticity, they are creating value for themselves, their families, their businesses, and their world.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robert Selden on January 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
As the jacket cover explains Total Leadership is "adapted from author Stew Friedman's popular Wharton School course". I found that to be both the strength and weakness of this book. Friedman's core concept of identifying one's values and then using these to improve your leadership in four areas (domains as he calls them) is simple, yet brilliant.

Unlike so many other leadership books, this is not a book about what makes a great leader. This is a book about finding out what makes you a great leader. A very worthy and ultimately practical, pursuit.

Through a series of activities, Friedman encourages the reader to analyse one's leadership activities in terms of the key stakeholders - work, home, community and self. A simple process of drawing four circles to represent the current strength and interaction within these four stakeholder domains and then redrawing then to represent a better balance, gives the reader the basis of a leadership vision.

A well designed series of simple, yet effective activities, takes the reader on his or her leadership journey. Very easy to follow and to implement.

It's obvious that the book has been developed from a successful course. It's always a big ask to do this well, as often some of the course's success comes through the personality of the presenter. Written in the first person, I found it a little verbose. For example the introduction went for 24 pages, which perhaps could have been handled in four. Friedman's style did not resonate with me - perhaps he would be totally different in person. I also found some little annoying things such as constant use of the term "Total Leadership participants". Having mentioned this once, they could have just been referred to as "participants" thereafter.
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More About the Author

Since 1984 Stew Friedman has been at Wharton, where he is the Practice Professor of Management. In 1991 he founded both the Wharton Leadership Program - initiating the required MBA and Undergraduate leadership courses - and the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project.

Stew served for five years in the mental health field before earning his PhD in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan. In 2001, he concluded a two-year assignment (while on leave from Wharton) at Ford, as the senior executive for leadership development. In partnership with the CEO, he launched a portfolio of initiatives to transform Ford's culture; 2500+ managers per year participated. Following these efforts, a research group (ICEDR) hailed Ford as a "global benchmark" in leadership development.

Stew's most recent book is Baby Bust: New Choices for Men and Women in Work and Family (Wharton Digital Press, 2013). He is author of the award-winning bestseller, Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life (Harvard Business, 2008). It describes his challenging Wharton course (originally produced at Ford), in which participants do real-world exercises to increase their leadership performance in all parts of their lives by better integrating them, while working in peer-to-peer coaching relationships and using an innovative social learning site. The Total Leadership program - which marries the work/life and leadership development fields - is now used by individuals and organizations worldwide, including the 57K+ students in Stew's recent Coursera course. The Total Leadership Web site was chosen as one of Forbes' best for women. Forthcoming in October 2014 is his next book, Leading the Life You Want: Skills for Integrating Work and Life (Harvard Business).

Stew's other publications include the widely-cited Harvard Business Review articles, "Work and life: the end of the zero-sum game" (1998) and "Be a better leader, have a richer life" (2008), and "The Happy Workaholic: a role model for employees" (Academy of Management Executive, 2003). His Work and Family - Allies or Enemies? (Oxford, 2000) was recognized by the Wall Street Journal as one of the field's best books. In Integrating Work and Life: The Wharton Resource Guide (Jossey-Bass, 1998), Stew edited the first collection of learning tools for building skills for integrating work and life.

He has advised many organizations, including the U.S. Departments of Labor and State, the U.N., and two White House administrations. He gives high-energy keynotes, conducts interactive workshops, and is an award-winning teacher. The New York Times cited the "rock star adoration" he inspires in students. He was chosen by Working Mother as one of America's 25 most influential men to have made things better for working parents, and by Thinkers50 as one of the "world's top 50 business thinkers." The Families and Work Institute honored him with a Work Life Legacy Award in 2013. Follow him on Twitter @StewFriedman. Tune in to his show, Work and Life, on Sirius XM 111, Business Radio Powered by the Wharton School, Tuesdays 7:00 PM EDT.