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The Hero's Farewell: What Happens When CEOs Retire
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A thoughtful account of the transition that high-powered CEOs confront as they consider retirement."--Chicago Tribune
"Intriguing exploration of succession strategies."--H.A. Raymond, University of South Dakota
"Excellent--thoughtful, well-documented, rich material, well-written. An important contribution."--Lynne Rosansky, Babson College
"Excellent book on what makes the CEO tick. The scholarship is sound, and the conclusions are convincing."--F.M. Buchanan, Salisbury State University
"Excellent--covers a very intriguing topic which all managers must deal with."--Lanny A, Karus, State University of New York, Oswego
"A shrewd management study."--Newsweek
"Sonnenfeld presents an original theory, based on five years of research and interviews with fifty top executives, to explain both the psyches and the departure styles of CEOs. He offers frank, revealing profiles of individual business leaders and how they left....A pathbreaking achievement. Sonnenfeld's research is innovative and substantive, his material is soundly organized, and he presents it with skill and flair. The book deserves to be read widely, both by business people and by others who want insights into what's happening in corporate America."--The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Sonnenfeld has provided a valuable service, as well as an interesting study, by showing through examples that the method by which a CEO exits a firm can be as important to the company as the method by which that same chief executive led it."--The Miami Herald
"[Sonnenfeld] has succeeded--and succeeded brilliantly--in what he set out to do....One of the best business books of the past year, perhaps of the decade....[The Hero's Farewell] has something of real value to say about management and, more important, about leadership. The volume is filled with fascinating stories from inside corporate boardrooms, but these stories never fall into mere anecdotalism: they always make or confirm an important point. It is challenging. It is highly recommended."--The Toronto Globe and Mail
"This is a fascinating book, not least for what it has to say about the nature of leadership and the complex psychology of those who achieve it....A welcome change from the breathless simple-mindedness of so many of the management best-sellers of recent years."--Financial Times (London)
"Replete with examples of post-leadership fulfillment, often through activities that involve continued leadership outside the corporate context....The Hero's Farewell offers a thoughtful and humanistic study of a side of the CEO that has parallels for all."--Harvard Business School Bulletin
"In this fascinating and informed look at management succession...Sonnenfeld explores the sense of emptiness and insignificance that retiring CEOs feel....One of those rare business books that informs as well as engages."--Business Week
"A clever, thoughtful exposition on the retirement patterns of CEOs....Sonnenfeld has created an entertaining game of identifying useful stereotypes: once you learn them, you can apply them to every leader you know."--The Atlantic
"This is a book about everybody who works....Sonnenfeld's views into these privileged private lives are filled with compassion and insight....It is rare for a book to provide absorbing biography, compelling social commentary, critical historical observation, or vital personal counsel. The Hero's Farewell does all of this and does it well."--Fortune Magazine
"A pathbreaking achievement....Deserves to be read widely, both by business people and by others who want insights into what's happening in corporate America."--The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Engrossing....Not pretentious or bookish, this work ranges captivatingly over much received wisdom and research concerning late-career phenomena and contributes its own new results and stimulating leads."--Choice
"A creative, innovative work--an act of leadership in itself."--James MacGregor Burns, Williams College
"An insightful and imaginative book exploring an important but hidden side of leadership....Sonnenfeld's in-depth account is a model analysis of how the human and strategic sides of business are connected."--Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School
"Fascinating....I'm sure the book will be a great success."--Alfred G. Goldstein, President, Sears Specialty Retailing
"A fine piece of work and beautiful writing. It's well-crafted, very solid in terms of theory, literature, and original data, and written with much heart."--Douglas T. Hall, Boston University
"A super book--very well written."--Walter Trosin, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Merck & Co.
"A very comprehensive work which has broken new ground. I don't know of any other volume that has given attention to top management retirement....This should get a warm reception and a good deal of applause."--Harry Levinson, The Levinson Institute
"Each time I read over this book, I come away more excited and informed....Marvelous stuff--and writing."--Warren Bennis, University of Southern California
"Most interesting and analogous to what happens to U.S. Presidents even before they retire."--James David Barber, Duke University
"Interesting and readable....Systematic, precise, cautious, and learned."--Roger Brown, Harvard University
"Each time I read over this book, I come away more excited and informed....Marvelous stuff and writing."--Warren Bennis, University of Southern California
"A monumental accomplishment. Sonnenfeld has done what he set out to do--describe that half of executive succession that no one has examined."--Academy of Management Executive
"Extremely well documented....It is surprisingly free of technical, academic writing, yet it retains an authoritative, scholarly respectability."--Business Book Review
"This book is written about a timely and relevant topic, the author's inferences are reasoned, and the writing style is riveting."--Academy of Management Review
"Day-long interviews with 50 prominent retired CEOs yield insightful, richly described examples of each exit style.... Sonnenfeld's use of quotes and anecdotes bring to life the unique problems founders face when exiting the firms they created. Throughout these chapters, revelations by the CEOs about the events and politics surrounding their departures as well as their own tumultuous feelings are poignantly captured in Sonnenfeld's engaging writing style."--Journal of Management
Top Customer Reviews
--Level 1: I don't know what I don't know.
--Level 2: I know what I don't know.
--Level 3: I have an action plan to address what I know I don't know.
--Level 4: I can coach and mentor others. I can teach the course!
So feeling pretty smug that I've been around the block once or twice, I was startled to realize that I was back at Level 1 regarding what happens when CEOs retire. Wow. I learned a lot from this book--and, like all great books, I found immediate value in attaching a memorable label to four kinds of CEO retirement. Recommended to me by Paul McKaughan (a "retired/ambassador" CEO), I've already recommended this book to more than 20 other CEOs.
First published in 1988 by Harvard prof Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, the book is part history, part expose and part therapy. "This is a book," he begins, "about how the management succession process involving chief executive officers of major corporations is affected by the heroic view that CEOs have of themselves. Some plan carefully and choose wisely who will succeed them. Others fight the process and must be forced out in what can be traumatic episodes for the CEOs and the organizations."
Painstakingly researched (five years and 50 personal interviews), the book describes four types of CEO retirement transitions:
--The Monarch's Departure. "Monarchs leave their thrones only through their death, ill health, or as with [Boston Consulting Group's Bruce] Henderson, a palace revolt."
--The General's Departure. "Although as with monarchs, the leader's heroic mission is important to generals, it is not as important as are their needs for a heroic identity.Read more ›