From Publishers Weekly
Twenty-five years after the publication of Leadership, Burns expands upon his theories about how leaders cultivate their successors to explore how they create environments conducive to social and personal development. He distinguishes between "transactional" leaders, who thrive on cutting deals, and "transforming" leaders, whose sweeping changes totally revamp political institutions. Although the book relies on a variety of historical examples, it devotes particular attention to Franklin Roosevelt, about whom Burns has written extensively in the past (The Lion and the Fox; The Soldier of Freedom). Burns's underlying theory imagines leadership as part of a broader social process in which leaders and followers are closely interrelated. Starting with psychologist Abraham Maslow's theories of the hierarchy of human needs, the book suggests leaders attain their power through their responsiveness to others' desires for security, self-esteem and personal development, putting themselves in a position to "create and expand the opportunities that empower people to pursue happiness for themselves." As such, leadership is an inherently positive process, distinguishable from tyranny by the latter's inability to promote liberty and equality. Amusing asides, in which Burns describes how he attempted to apply his understanding of leadership principles to raising his children, enliven the scholarly consideration of leadership's evolution over the centuries. These accessible anecdotes, as well as Burns's explications of historical examples, will ensure the book's influence extends beyond its most obvious implications for political science.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Burns continues to study the art of leadership in this new examination of what he calls transitional
leadership. Taking into account Jefferson's famous words, Burns states that the most successful leaders are those who are conscious of the pursuit of happiness. But what exactly is the pursuit of happiness? Burns believes it begins with the basic human necessities of food and shelter and includes the desire for dignity and respect. Some leaders are just deal makers and opportunists for a select group, but the author defines transitional leaders as those who aim "for the protection and nourishing of happiness, for extending the opportunity to pursue happiness to all people." Analyzing past leaders (FDR, Gandhi, Mao Tse-tung, among others) and changes and revolutions in leadership around the world, Burns gives concise histories behind the subject matters before dissecting the different leadership styles of monarchs, politicians, and social reformers and the impact they have made throughout the world. An excellent examination of the art of motivating, organizing, and directing people for the common good. Michelle KaskeCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved