Power: Why Some People Have It — and Others Don’t

Power: Why Some People Have It — and Others Don’t

Harper Business, New York, 2010

In this crowning achievement, one of the greatest minds in management theory reveals how to succeed and wield power in the real world.

Over decades of consulting with corporations and teaching MBA students the nuances of organizational power, Jeffrey Pfeffer has watched numerous people suffer career reversals even as others prevail despite the odds.

Our most common mistake is not having a realistic understanding of what makes some people more successful than others. By believing that life is fair, we tend to subscribe to the “just-world phenomenon,” which leaves us unprepared for the challenges and competition of the real world.

Now Pfeffer brings decades of his incredible insights to a wider audience. Brimming with counterintuitive advice, numerous examples from various countries, and surprising findings based on his research, this groundbreaking guide reveals the strategies and tactics that separate the winners from the losers. Power, he argues, is a force that can be used and harnessed not only for individual gain but also for the benefit of organizations and society. Power, however, is not something that can be learned from those in charge — their advice often puts a rosy spin on their ascent and focuses on what should have worked, rather than what actually did. Instead, Pfeffer reveals the true paths to power and career success. Iconoclastic and grounded in the realpolitik of human interaction, Power is an essential organizational survival manual and a new standard in the field of leadership and management.

Selected Editorial Reviews
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. (© Reed Business Information)
Publishers Weekly
Jeff Pfeffer nails it! Political skill, not just talent, is central to success in every field. In Power, this leading scholar comes down to earth with practical, even contrarian, tactics for mastering the power game.
Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Chaired Professor, Harvard Business School, and bestselling author of Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin and End and SuperCorp
Talk about speaking truth to power! In refreshingly candid prose, Jeff Pfeffer offers brilliant insights into how power is successfully built, maintained, and employed in organizations. It'™s well known that when Pfeffer speaks about power, smart people listen. This book shows why.
Robert Cialdini, author of Influence
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