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Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don't Hardcover – September 14, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Some specifics: the word "ethics" does not appear in the index (nor in the book as far as I can tell); he uses Oliver North's testimony before Congress (you know -- when he lied) as a great example of effective "power speech"; he applauds Rahm Emanuel's profane screaming outbursts as effective positioning; he says that if a CEO trusts ANYONE, he (or possibly she) is a fool; that people actually like to work in hierarchic control and will gravitate to you if you are powerful even if they despise you. All of this without even a small nod to ethical or moral questions. And he never, ever questions whether one should consider pursuing happiness, satisfaction, spiritual fulfillment, or family rather than "power.Read more ›
A good education? Hard work and smarts? Being well liked?
Not so much, at least according to Jeffrey Pfeffer, a Stanford Business School professor and author of numerous books on this and related subjects. No, despite popular notions and the usual urban myths, Pfeffer contends that the path to power is significantly different than the popular notions we were raised to believe.
In "Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don't," Pfeffer sets out example after example of just how poorly served executives are by using the above listed methods and instead take a more aggressive approach to the utilization of tools like building relationships (always appear to be supporting your boss), networking, self-promotion (in healthy doses, but not too much), organizational visibility, control of information as well as the usual power profile advice on initial impressions, speech, posture, etc.
Pfeffer uses numerous examples - from the top of the corporate ladder (former GE boss, Jack Welch, of course, but also Bill Clinton, a former chairperson of Time, Inc, Ollie North and others) to those just getting started (including new recruits and interns) to illustrate what works and what doesn't in stark, cold terms. While Pfeffer admits that his techniques may not be for everyone or may make some squeamish, he recommends you try them anyway and keep your fears to yourself as you work your way up the corporate ladder, preferably quickly.
The only disappointment here is perhaps in the labeling.Read more ›
Although Pfeffer does not invoke the core metaphor from Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" in The Republic, I think it is especially relevant to the various misconceptions about power that Pfeffer refutes. The situation in Plato's allegory is that people are located in a darkened cave watching shadows dance on a wall. (The source of light is outside the cave.) They think they are watching ultimate realities. Rather, what they observe are images, yes, but also distortions. The same is true of the "just world hypothesis" that the world is predictable, comprehensible, and therefore potentially controllable.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Refreshingly honest book that cuts through all the PR stuff that powerful people usually put out as advice :-)Published 2 months ago by The name is Mill, John Stuart Mill
It is a great pragmatical book to understand politics and power dynamics in different contexts.Published 4 months ago by Andres Bernal
Very readable book with some great stories. Interesting that EQ did not really feature instead the author dwells on the dog eat dog world of corporates in the past. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Fleur D'Souza
I absolutely loved Professor Pfeffer's book. I'm a business professional, and I read all the time. There are few books I have read more than once, and Power is definitely among... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Bogumil K. Baranowski
It's probably not even fair for me to review this book, as it was written for folks who are trying to gain power in large organizations. Read morePublished 6 months ago by MLeland