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Paths to Power: How Insiders and Outsiders Shaped American Business Leadership Hardcover – January 4, 2007
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"Paths to Power offers a useful way to think about how much economic mobility there really is in America and how it has evolved." -- The Washington Post, February 18, 2007
From the Back Cover
—David Gergen, Director, Center for Public Leadership, Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and author, Eyewitness to Power
“Paths to Power is a major study, both penetrating and wide-ranging, of the forces that create effective leadership in the business world today. It is especially impressive in its analysis of the central roles of religion, race, and gender, and other factors in producing top leadership in the twentieth century.”
—James MacGregor Burns, Woodrow Wilson Professor of Political Science, Emeritus, Williams College
“Paths to Power makes fascinating reading for all who have been to the top, those who are aspiring to reach the top, and all MBA students who are about to begin their careers to reach the top.”
--Thomas Phillips, former Chairman and CEO, Raytheon Company
Top Customer Reviews
Rather than limiting their attention to a set number of exemplary leaders - in chronological order -- and then devoting a separate chapter to each, taking a linear approach to the material, the co-authors chose to examine the evolution of 20th century business leadership in terms of the ten decades, assigning to each following the first chapter an appropriate component (birthplace, nationality, religion, education, class, gender and race, etc.) while frequently cross-referencing throughout the entire century. For example, they juxtapose comparable individuals such as James Stillman's presidency of National City Bank (1891-1909) and Sanford "Sandy" Weill's of Citigroup (that National City Bank eventually became) a century later.
Mayo, Nohria, and Singleton's role In Paths to Power is more that of cultural anthropologists than as biographers or even business historians. They create a social and economic context within a 100-year framework as they examine what separated outsiders from insiders in business leadership in the 20th century. In the city where I live, we have a number of outdoor markets at which slices of fresh fruit are offered as samples of the produce available. In that same spirit, I frequently include brief excerpts from a book to help those who red my review to get a "taste.Read more ›
What I don't like and don't agree with is that finding the path to power and getting to the inner circle is purely a matter of things the individual cant control --what social class their father was in, whether they went to an ivy league school, their race, religion, gender etc.
While there is probably truth in the authors argument, and facts carefully selected to support a conclusion jumped too early, I think the net effect will be discouraging for many people, or push them into a state of profound resignation.
There is another book by Robert Caro,called Path to Power about Lyndon Johnson, who grew up as a dirt poor boy from the Hill Country of Texas, without education, and who the patrician Kennedy, Harvard educated boys hated --who beat the odds, through ambition, super human effort, and maniacal drive to not only become Senator but President of the United States
For example, there is a story in the book about LBJ hearing FRD was landing at in a sea port in Texas, rushed to the dock and strong armed his way into the photograph so he could be seen as an insider, not an outsider
Another example that stands in stark contrast to the authors dismaying conclusion is that of Steve Jobs, who grew up as an adopted son, in a 1/2 Jewish lower middle class family, who dropped out of Reed College, studied with a guru in India in bare feet. It was not caste and calling but the guru urging that he give up the idea of being a zen master, and become a business man.
Like Johnson, Mr. Jobs, beat the odds through super human drive, game changing ideas, and passion for great design.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is extremely valuable for young people who want to succeed in business. There are several essential social and economic contexts what separated outsiders from insiders in... Read morePublished on March 16, 2008 by Y. Wu "Skylar"