Other Sellers on Amazon
Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don't Hardcover – September 14, 2010
Explore your book, then jump right back to where you left off with Page Flip.
View high quality images that let you zoom in to take a closer look.
Enjoy features only possible in digital – start reading right away, carry your library with you, adjust the font, create shareable notes and highlights, and more.
Discover additional details about the events, people, and places in your book, with Wikipedia integration.
The Amazon Book Review
Book recommendations, author interviews, editors' picks, and more. Read it now.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
- ASIN : 0061789089
- Publisher : Harper Business; 1st edition (September 14, 2010)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 288 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780061789083
- Item Weight : 15 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.97 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #45,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The author's suggestions are backed by extensive research and real life examples, with the key takeaway being that career success has less to do with performance and more with effectively handling institutional politics.
This book will find its place on my bookshelf and I am certain that I will revisit it numerous times over the coming years.
Brief Chapter Takeaways
1. It Takes More than Performance. It is understood that you need to do a good job, but career success depends on being noticed for your work, defining the dimensions of job performance (as far as possible) to highlight those that favor you, maintaining a close enough relationship with your boss to understand what really matters to her, and making others feel better about themselves (using flattery effectively).
2. The Personal Qualities that Bring Performance. Pfeffer outlines two sets of skills that are crucial to amassing power within organizations: Will - ambition, energy and focus and Skill - self-knowledge, empathy and the ability to put yourself in other peoples' shoes, and (unexpectedly) the ability to tolerate conflict.
3. Choosing Where to Start. This was an illuminating chapter where Pfeffer points out that where you start your career has implications on where you end up. One perspective is to start at the epicenter of the organization (defined in terms of size or ability to control resource allocation) and the other is to stay away from the areas that attract the most talent and rather focus of smaller, emerging niches of the corporation.
4. Getting In: Standing Out and Breaking Some Rules. This chapter highlights the importance of standing out and of not being afraid to ask for help. Invisibility is death ("Brand Recall").
5. Making Something Out of Nothing. This chapter warns against believing that you need to wait until you rise to a higher position to amass more influence and taking little steps irrespective of your position. The easiest ways of doing that are showing compassion and serving as a sounding board for colleagues and also not hesitating to take on smaller tasks that could give you access to power or make you indispensable to senior management.
6. Building Efficient and Effective Social Networks. Network, Network, Network. A wide network of shallow contacts is shown to be effective in building influence. The only way to go about building a network is to create a list of people you would like to meet and then asking people to introduce you, following up, and reciprocating by introducing your contacts to other people. Also attempt to position yourself in brokerage roles (where you control the flow of information). Being connected to someone else in a brokerage role however is not the best means of acquiring influence.
7. Acting and Speaking with Power. Fake it till you make it. Assume a strong posture, use vivid language and understand that expressing anger is sometimes more effective than expressing either remorse or sadness.
8. Building a Reputation: Perception is Reality. First impressions count. Dimensionalize what attributes you would like associated with you and build it through actions that are consistent with your plans. Developing contacts in the media is also a good strategy.
9. Overcoming Opposition and Setbacks: Project power and success in the face of adversity. Be persistent and advance on multiple fronts. Amassing influence requires a thick skin. Another important tip that stood out to me was to avoid making unnecessary enemies and understanding that sometimes you have to work with people you don't like (focus instead on what you need to get out of the relationship).
The following chapters on the price of power were frankly a little less interesting to me (I am more interesting in acquiring power).
While I agree to some degree with that notion, however ultimately, you're working at some goal because of a particular set of skills. You cannot necessarily switch or start at a growing department for the sake of growth or power. One must strive for what is relevant to one's skill sets and or goals. Then you can identify paths to power where relevant. That is only one example of over-simplification.
I found some examples within chapter 9, "Building a repuation" a little far fetched as well; such as, getting the media on your side or having powerful people tout you.
I still gave 4 stars because with a little tweaking and careful consideration, many tactics within this book are useful.
This book is empowering. If you read this and think, "This is depressing. I'll never play these games." you're missing the point. If you don't understand the games, you will always, always, always lose. Understanding the rules helps you stay above the fray rather than being walked over and rudely surprised later. You won't find any other resource that will candidly map out organizational politics and power like this -- especially one this compelling and joyful to read.
I agree with everyone who says this is must-read material and since finishing it two weeks ago, I've already loaned my dogeared copy to two others. Incredible.
What this book is good for is identifying bad management and leaving a company. Hence 2 stars
Top reviews from other countries
Here I liked Jeffrey Pfeffer's ability to point out the importance in how to deal, handle and use power. He points out to the actual reality regarding power play in all organizations. I can imagine for example that the chapter 'It takes more than performance' will be an eye-opener for many. If I want to be completely honest I have to say I liked some of Pfeffer's other books better, still this book here is probably going to have the biggest impact on yourself and in your career if applied properly.
Highly recommended, especially if you have strong reservations regarding 'power'.
Introduction: be prepared for power
- Why you should want power
- Stop thinking, the world is just a place
- Beware of the leadership literature
- Get out of your own way
- A guide to using this book
1. It takes more than performance.
- The weak link between performance and job outcomes
- Get noticed
- Define the dimensions of performance
- Remember what matters to your boss
- Make others feel better about themselves
2. The personal qualities that bring influence
- Change is always possible
- Do an objective self-assessment
- Seven important personal qualities that build power
3. Choosing where to start
- Unexpected paths to power
- What makes some departments more powerful than others
- Diagnosing departmental power
- The trade-off: A strong power base versus less competition
4. Getting in: Standing out and breaking some rules
- Asking works
- Don't be afraid to stand out and break the rules
- Likability is overrated
5. Making something out of nothing: Creating resources
- Creating something out of almost nothing
6. Building efficient and effective social networks
- A definition of networking and networking skills
- Networking jobs
- The ability to network is important in most jobs
- Network skills can be taught and learned
- Spend sufficient time
- Network with the right people
- Create a strong structural position
- Recognize the trade-offs
7. Acting and speaking with power
- Acting with power
- Speaking powerfully
8. Building a reputation: Perception is reality
- You get only one chance to make a first impression
- Carefully consider and construct your image
- Build your image in the media
- Overcome the self-promotion dilemma
- The upside of some negative information
- Remember : Image creates reality
9. Overcoming opposition and setbacks
- Overcoming opposition: How and when to fight
- Coping with setbacks
10. The price of power
- Cost 1: Visibility and public scrutiny
- Cost 2: The loss of autonomy
- Cost 3: The time and effort required
- Cost 4: Trust dilemmas
- Cost 5: Power as an addictive drug
11. How - and why - people lose power
- Overconfidence, disinhibition, and ignoring the interests of others
- Misplaced or too much trust
- People lose patience
- People get tired
- The world changes, but tactics don't
- Leave gracefully
12. Power dynamics: Good for organizations, good for you?
- Power and hierarchy are ubiquitous
- Influence skills are useful for getting things done
- Political influence versus hierarchy in decision making
13. It's easier than you think
- Building your path to power
- Surviving and succeeding in organizations
For further reading and learning