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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gem of a Book, May 15, 2008
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This review is from: Personality and the Fate of Organizations (Paperback)
Robert Hogan very quickly makes you feel you are in good hands as he distills a long career as personality researcher and organizational consultant into this very accessible volume. His "rules of the road" are simple: Is the principle useful in the real world of leadership and organizational development? and, Is the principle rooted in solid data?

My guess is that Hogan made a practice of underselling--and then overdelivering to his clients. And this is exactly what this book does. It could probably replace a shelf full of business and organizational psychology books. Instead of a cold academic or a irrationally exuberant treatment of the importance of personality in leadership and team building, Hogan takes a refreshingly direct, honest and conversational approach. In the spirit Jim Collin's "level 5 leadership," he is more interested in being helpful than in shining a light on himself.

While reading the book I kept thinking that I was being guided by a favorite Uncle whose interest in teaching me was driven by a deeper level of caring than is found in the typical relationship of teacher/student or writer/reader.

You can tell that Mr. Hogan is interested in helping his reader get results through a singularly no-nonsense approach. While never mean-spirited, he has very little tolerance for practices and theories that do not follow his two "rules of the road". For example, Hogan is quick to dismiss Jung's model of personality as reflected in the Myers-Briggs typology.

Personally, I believe that Emotional Intelligence, Maslow, and Jungian typologies (which don't quite meet Hogan's rules of the road) continue to have large popular followings because they offer real insights in a warmer and less reductionistic way than the Big Five model (which has in fact been a great boon to personality research). Matter of fact and practical is good--but so are texture, nuance, introspection, and non-reductionistic models of personality.

Some of the greatest models of personality have come from novelists and poets--e.g. Shakespeare on the anatomy of dangers of hubris. Great leadership has an element of artistry--as well as other qualities that don't fit neatly in the Big Five or other lexical taxonomies. So science is a great way of knowing--but we have to recognize that it is a way of knowing that is firmly seated in the brain's left hemisphere--and does not have the symphonic or synergistic qualities of ways of knowing grounded in the right hemisphere. There is essential truth in these ways of knowing that should not be dismissed--but integrated into a greater explanatory whole.

This is a surprisingly good book. My only regret is that I didn't have an Uncle Robert Hogan when I was struggling to learn the ropes of organizational behavior :)
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Location: North Carolina

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