- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: HarperBusiness; 1 edition (September 14, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780061789083
- ISBN-13: 978-0061789083
- ASIN: 0061789089
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 170 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don't Hardcover – September 14, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Pfeffer (The External Control of Organizations), professor of organizational behavior at Stanford University, posits that intelligence, performance, and likeability alone are not the key to moving up in an organization; instead, he asserts, self promotion, building relationships, cultivating a reputation for control and authority, and perfecting a powerful demeanor are vital drivers of advancement and success. The book has a realpolitik analysis of human behavior that isn't for everyone but its candor, crisp prose, and forthrightness are fresh and appealing. Case studies feature the careers of such leaders as G.E. CEO Jack Welch, General George Patton, Time CEO and Chairman Ann Moore, Lt. Colonel Oliver North, and President Bill Clinton; and Pfeffer dispenses advice on how to overcome obstacles like "the self-promotion" dilemma, how to sharpen one's "acting" skills on the job, and use tactics like interruption to appear more powerful. Brimming with frank, realistic insights on paths to the top, this book offers unexpected--and aggressive--directions on how to advance and flourish in an ever-more competitive workplace.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Is the need for power an evil motivation driven by greed and lust, or is it a worthy goal that produces wealth, longevity, and leadership? Pfeffer asks us to consider the more positive reasons that we reach for power in our professional lives in order to feel in control, get wealthy, and achieve our goals. The desire for power is a topic that is often overlooked or disparaged in most inspirational leadership books because leaders presenting their own careers as models tend to portray themselves as noble and good, and omit discussing the power plays that they used to get to the top. According to Pfeffer, we need to stop seeing the world as a just and fair place, and actively develop those qualities needed to achieve power. He offers advice on how to obtain the initial position on the first rung of the ladder to power, how to take advantage of social networks, build a reputation, and overcome setbacks. Pfeffer never answers the question as to whether power leads to happiness, but he insists that having it will ultimately put you in a better place. --David Siegfried
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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.
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.
If you want to read a no nonsense book with advice that you can implement today. This is it.
That is a fairly apt description. Pfeffer is interested in power as it is practiced. As such (and to the dismay of some of my students and some reviewers on this site), the author seeks to describe the world as it is and how many successful people in it maneuver. Pfeffer breaks down aspects of power such as communication, self-promotion, acting, use of anger as well as other facets. These are outlined and described (with examples) in easy to digest chapters. This work is a mix of study (the nature of power) as well as "how to." For anyone involved in organizations or other political situations where there is competition for resources and rewards, this book is very useful to understand how those who are competitors are likely to behave and act. And while it is true that many view (at least some of the time) these competitions though the lens of ethics, others do not. Even for the ethically minded, this book is very useful in order to gain an understanding of raw power and how it often is practiced.
Pfeffer is a skilled writer who is direct as well as explanatory. An advantage over Machiavelli's work is that Pfeffer speaks to the reader in today's language. Whereas The Prince takes some thought in order to translate the mores and references of the Renaissance for understanding, "Power...." is crystal clear in its precepts.
Furthermore, the book is loaded with practical tips to increase your chances of attaining power (including how to stop self-sabotaging your power). This book exceeded my expectations. And I'm more aware of my role in attaining, sustaining, or relinquishing my power.
What this book is good for is identifying bad management and leaving a company. Hence 2 stars