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Leading Minds: An Anatomy Of Leadership

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"Leading Minds" addresses a crucial and often ignored component of leadership -- the mind. What distinguishes the mind of an effective leader, and what is the mentality of his or her followers? Gardner links the study of creativity with the study of leadership to demonstrate the many similarities between traditional creators (artists and scientists) and leaders in business "Leading Minds" addresses a crucial and often ignored component of leadership -- the mind. What distinguishes the mind of an effective leader, and what is the mentality of his or her followers? Gardner links the study of creativity with the study of leadership to demonstrate the many similarities between traditional creators (artists and scientists) and leaders in business, politics and the military. He argues that the key to leadership is the creation of an arresting story -- one that grabs the followers' attention and inspires them to greater efforts. In portraits of a wide range of leaders -- from Oppenheimer to Gandhi -- Gardner re-creates each of their stories, shows where each fits in the matrix of "leader archetypes," and reveals the ways in which they ultimately succeed or fail."Gardner elaborates a plausible typology of leadership and identifies several core characteristics of leaders....persuasive." "--New York Times Book Review" "Superb."--Warren Bennis, "Harvard Business Review" "Once again, Gardner brings his brilliant intuition and analytic skills to the study of human excellence."--Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University


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"Leading Minds" addresses a crucial and often ignored component of leadership -- the mind. What distinguishes the mind of an effective leader, and what is the mentality of his or her followers? Gardner links the study of creativity with the study of leadership to demonstrate the many similarities between traditional creators (artists and scientists) and leaders in business "Leading Minds" addresses a crucial and often ignored component of leadership -- the mind. What distinguishes the mind of an effective leader, and what is the mentality of his or her followers? Gardner links the study of creativity with the study of leadership to demonstrate the many similarities between traditional creators (artists and scientists) and leaders in business, politics and the military. He argues that the key to leadership is the creation of an arresting story -- one that grabs the followers' attention and inspires them to greater efforts. In portraits of a wide range of leaders -- from Oppenheimer to Gandhi -- Gardner re-creates each of their stories, shows where each fits in the matrix of "leader archetypes," and reveals the ways in which they ultimately succeed or fail."Gardner elaborates a plausible typology of leadership and identifies several core characteristics of leaders....persuasive." "--New York Times Book Review" "Superb."--Warren Bennis, "Harvard Business Review" "Once again, Gardner brings his brilliant intuition and analytic skills to the study of human excellence."--Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University

30 review for Leading Minds: An Anatomy Of Leadership

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bob

    Summary: Studies how leaders effectively communicate with the minds of those they lead using case studies of eleven direct and indirect leaders. Howard E. Gardner is a cognitive psychologist who works in the field of education. One of his most significant works is The Unschooled Mind, the thesis of which is that outside of domains where an adult has great expertise, most adults theorize about the world with the mind of a five year old. In this work, Gardner focuses on effective leadership as an e Summary: Studies how leaders effectively communicate with the minds of those they lead using case studies of eleven direct and indirect leaders. Howard E. Gardner is a cognitive psychologist who works in the field of education. One of his most significant works is The Unschooled Mind, the thesis of which is that outside of domains where an adult has great expertise, most adults theorize about the world with the mind of a five year old. In this work, Gardner focuses on effective leadership as an exercise of communication with the minds of others, seeking to influence them to action that follows one's leadership. For Gardner, storytelling is central, and effective leaders are not only able to tell a story that communicates with those who share their expertise, but also with a wider public responding with the "unschooled mind" of a five year old. He identifies two types of leaders, indirect leaders, like Albert Einstein, and direct leaders, like Franklin D. Roosevelt. Some individuals exercise both kinds of leadership. Gardner considers eleven individuals who exercised leadership in a variety of domains:  Margaret Mead: Anthropology J. Robert Oppenheimer: Physics Robert Maynard Hutchins: Higher education Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., Business (General Motors) George Marshall, Military and Statecraft Pope John XXIII: Religion Eleanor Roosevelt: American women Martin Luther King, Jr.: Civil rights Margaret Thatcher: Political Jean Monnet: International leadership Mahatma Gandhi: International leadership After introductory chapters outlining his basic approach and methodology, Gardner devotes a chapter to each of these leaders, except for the last two, who he considers together. What is fascinating is that he looks at the development of these leaders, the story they told and how they adapted their stories when their leadership moved beyond those who shared their expertise, and how effective they were. He looks at indirect leaders like Jean Monnet, who essentially served other national leaders in forming the framework of the European Union, and direct leaders like Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. who communicated a compelling, missional story for General Motors. He also considers their areas of failure. For a leader like Robert Maynard Hutchins, his inability to embody his story with the faculty at the University of Chicago, and include a wide constituency in his vision were critical failures. From these profiles, Gardner identified six constants of leadership: 1. The Story: Leaders must have a central story or message that includes those necessary for accomplishing her vision. Often these are inclusive, but not always, as in political or military conflict. 2. The Audience: A story cannot succeed without being heard and heeded, and the effective leader is able to communicate in a nuanced fashion that different audiences will understand. 3. The Organization: The influence of a leader's story depends on an organization for implementation--be it a business, a political party, a movement. Margaret Mead never created an organization and had no school of followers after she died. 4. The Embodiment: Leaders, especially direct leaders, must embody their story. George Marshall not only spoke about a vision for service but embodied it in his integrity, hard work, and willingness to work behind the scenes for the success of the war effort. 5. Direct and Indirect Leadership. Indirect leaders influence through symbolic products whereas direct leaders engage with their followers as they articulate a story. 6. The Issue of Expertise. Those who move from leadership within a domain to wider leadership, like J. Robert Oppenheimer, do so because of proven expertise. The paradox is that the wider one's leadership, the less their technical expertise alone is a factor. Two appendices in the form of extended tables chart Gardner's analysis, the first consider the eleven leaders in this study, the second ten world leaders during the World War II era. I did have one reservation about this study. It seemed to me that Gardner's approach presupposed his conclusions. This does not necessarily invalidate his conclusions, given that this work extends prior research. But I would be cautious in considering this as an all-encompassing account of leadership. For me, it suggested the importance of having, and effectively communicating to different audiences, one's story of a preferred future. Gardner's eleven leaders, although they each have their failings, are generally positive figures. His account of story and the unschooled mind also recognizes that some leaders are able to communicate compelling stories and gather a following with very bad consequences, as in the case of Hitler or Mussolini. There are also instructive lessons for those who are so "wonky" about their stories, that they are unable to garner a following outside those who are already sufficiently wonky. There is also a quite wonderful lesson in the stories of those like Pope John XXIII, George Marshall, and Eleanor Roosevelt who embodied the stories they conveyed, and so were able to lead all the more effectively. Most of us both lead and follow in our lives. Gardner's book shows important qualities of story, inclusion, embodiment and expertise as critical in leading well. He also helps us when we follow, to listen to the stories leaders tell and the congruence between story and the life of the leader. It seems to me vital to consider whether the story is one that works for all who a potential leader would lead, or whether those stories will intensify the divides between those included and those excluded.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Devin Partlow

    This is a case study of a number of very famous leaders followed by the author drawing conclusions from the similarities and differences of these famous leaders. I will say that he did a good job of picking leaders from all walks of life but I fear that readers could take his conclusions as "How to be a Leader" rather than "Here are Some Traits I Found in My Survey of Leaders". Since I feel like the author wasn't explicit enough in stating that what his conclusions were the latter, he's penalized This is a case study of a number of very famous leaders followed by the author drawing conclusions from the similarities and differences of these famous leaders. I will say that he did a good job of picking leaders from all walks of life but I fear that readers could take his conclusions as "How to be a Leader" rather than "Here are Some Traits I Found in My Survey of Leaders". Since I feel like the author wasn't explicit enough in stating that what his conclusions were the latter, he's penalized .5 stars!! lol 3.5 stars (definitely worth the read tho)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bernie May

    A bit thick and academic for my tastes, but thourough and thoughtful. Worth the read if you think deeply about leadership and its future directions.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

    I knocked this book down to three stars because it is hard to read at times. It's clearly from the mind of an academic; that is the only real gripe I have with it. It is not a how-to manual and it never pretends to be (it's perhaps one of the main points that such a prescriptive approach isn't possible). There are several good reasons for reading this book if you can get past how dry it is: -The beginning chapters lay out the foundation of human development and the sophistication of the mind as on I knocked this book down to three stars because it is hard to read at times. It's clearly from the mind of an academic; that is the only real gripe I have with it. It is not a how-to manual and it never pretends to be (it's perhaps one of the main points that such a prescriptive approach isn't possible). There are several good reasons for reading this book if you can get past how dry it is: -The beginning chapters lay out the foundation of human development and the sophistication of the mind as one learns. These chapters alone are enlightening for one who has never studied such topics. -The biographies are short yet complete. The authors cover how each person became a leader and how they fit into the mold that is presented throughout the book. -Each biography covers the downfalls and failures of the leader. This is a common miss in many books that cover such "larger than life" personalities. There are several references to the inevitability of failure, and how one responds to this partially determines their ability to lead. -The authors admit that their perspective is not the only valid one and not without its criticisms. Most people who look at academics as overly egotistical and stubborn should take special note of this. It wouldn't be my first recommendation on leadership books, but certainly worth the read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Hasan Saraç

    Başarılı olmuş, liderliğiyle insanlığın - toplumların gelişimine pozitif katkıda bulunmuş değerlerin hayatını incelediğinizde önce bir hayali olduğunu görüyorsunuz. En güzel örneğimiz ulu önderimiz Mustafa Kemal Atatürk... . Bir hayali, bir umudu, somut bir hedefi olmayan kişiden gerçek bir lider çıkamaz. Belli düşüncedeki insanları bir süre peşinden sürükleyebilenler olabilir, ancak bir yere varamazlar. . Dünya tarihi, lider olma şansını yakalamışken toplumları savaşa sürükleyen, kaosa sürükleyen v Başarılı olmuş, liderliğiyle insanlığın - toplumların gelişimine pozitif katkıda bulunmuş değerlerin hayatını incelediğinizde önce bir hayali olduğunu görüyorsunuz. En güzel örneğimiz ulu önderimiz Mustafa Kemal Atatürk... . Bir hayali, bir umudu, somut bir hedefi olmayan kişiden gerçek bir lider çıkamaz. Belli düşüncedeki insanları bir süre peşinden sürükleyebilenler olabilir, ancak bir yere varamazlar. . Dünya tarihi, lider olma şansını yakalamışken toplumları savaşa sürükleyen, kaosa sürükleyen ve ölümünden sonra ardında kötü anılar bırakan nice insanı yazdı. Ya da tam tersi, hayattayken hak ettiği iltifatı yeterince alamadan ölen, ardından ağıtlar yakılanları... .

  6. 5 out of 5

    Marian

    I read as far as the chapter on Eleanor Roosevelt and decided there was not enough new substance or analysis to inspire me to go on. I wrote down a few insights from the earlier chapters, but this book is primarily a collection of introductory biographies on the included persons. Audible speaker is fine, but the delivery and content is somewhat flat. There are other books I would rather read. Disappointed as I am a long-term fan of the Theory of Multiple Intelligences.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jake

    Pros: A great collection of short biographies from a diverse group of people. The book is filled with interesting information. I would have never thought to read about some of these successful individuals. Cons: A little too academic for my taste. It read more like a text for a graduate course. The themes felt a little disjointed. After reading, I don’t think I could boil down the author’s leadership philosophy into a few sentences.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Bowen

    Awesome analysis of the 11 leaders, but very academic book...often dry and hard to push through.

  9. 5 out of 5

    JOHN

    The life stories of the 11 selected leaders from diverse backgrounds, provide insight to the question of effectiveness and success in a multitude of leadership roles. The ability to conceptualize the work of leading through these stories. Presenting an opportunity to reflect on the elements of leadership, and the varying approaches to leadership in varying aspects of life. The connection of 'lessons from the past, and its implications for the future' is very instructive for people assuming leade The life stories of the 11 selected leaders from diverse backgrounds, provide insight to the question of effectiveness and success in a multitude of leadership roles. The ability to conceptualize the work of leading through these stories. Presenting an opportunity to reflect on the elements of leadership, and the varying approaches to leadership in varying aspects of life. The connection of 'lessons from the past, and its implications for the future' is very instructive for people assuming leadership roles, as well as those that are in current leadership positions. Providing a practical approach on the importance for leaders to know their story, make the connection of lessons from the past, their implications for the future, and to be able to communicate it effectively.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    What I liked most about this book is the brief biographies of each leader and how Gardner highlighted their qualities that mostly pertain to leadership. These are historical figures that I had always wanted to know more about and Gardner writes about them in a way that is useful to Inspiring leaders. He is very explicit when writing about how his work can be useful to the reader (sometimes verges on repetitiveness). His findings were pretty straightforward with nothing groundbreaking, but if not What I liked most about this book is the brief biographies of each leader and how Gardner highlighted their qualities that mostly pertain to leadership. These are historical figures that I had always wanted to know more about and Gardner writes about them in a way that is useful to Inspiring leaders. He is very explicit when writing about how his work can be useful to the reader (sometimes verges on repetitiveness). His findings were pretty straightforward with nothing groundbreaking, but if nothing else it was a very well-written synopsis of various leaders of the 1900's. I have always liked Garder's works and would read more by him.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lawrence Linnen

    Gardner defines a leader as an individual who significantly affects the thoughts, feelings, and/or behaviors of a significant number of individuals. He selected the leaders purposefully to reinforce his arguments on leadership and to obtain a better understanding of effective leadership. Gardner presents case studies of Margaret Mead, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Robert Maynard Hutchins, Alfred P. Sloan, George C. Marshall, Pope John XXIII, Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Margaret That Gardner defines a leader as an individual who significantly affects the thoughts, feelings, and/or behaviors of a significant number of individuals. He selected the leaders purposefully to reinforce his arguments on leadership and to obtain a better understanding of effective leadership. Gardner presents case studies of Margaret Mead, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Robert Maynard Hutchins, Alfred P. Sloan, George C. Marshall, Pope John XXIII, Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Margaret Thatcher.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    I read Parts I and III of this text for a Leadership in Context course. Gardner's notion that leaders remember they are dealing with the eight-year-old mind is spot-on. Gardner has a tendency to drill the point home throughout the text, but that should not take away from the poignancy of the initial idea. The chapters on Ghandi and Monet were interesting overviews of the men as leaders. In my case, having known nothing of Monet and shamefully little on Ghandi, these chapters were enriching reads. I read Parts I and III of this text for a Leadership in Context course. Gardner's notion that leaders remember they are dealing with the eight-year-old mind is spot-on. Gardner has a tendency to drill the point home throughout the text, but that should not take away from the poignancy of the initial idea. The chapters on Ghandi and Monet were interesting overviews of the men as leaders. In my case, having known nothing of Monet and shamefully little on Ghandi, these chapters were enriching reads.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Scott Wozniak

    If you're looking for leadership theories, frameworks, or even best practices this book will disappoint. But if you want a comparative biography of the most influential leaders of the 20th century, you'll like this book. From Ghandi to Eleanor Roosevelt to Oppenheimer their lives are summed up, analyzed, and compared. Warning: It's written very academically. The author is a Harvard Professor and it feels like a term paper. Phrases like "one would think" (avoiding using "I") and a lot of redundan If you're looking for leadership theories, frameworks, or even best practices this book will disappoint. But if you want a comparative biography of the most influential leaders of the 20th century, you'll like this book. From Ghandi to Eleanor Roosevelt to Oppenheimer their lives are summed up, analyzed, and compared. Warning: It's written very academically. The author is a Harvard Professor and it feels like a term paper. Phrases like "one would think" (avoiding using "I") and a lot of redundant thesis statements clutter up an otherwise good way to get a lot of biographies in one book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Reading this book for a graduate class, I was not expecting much. I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed most parts of this book. Basically Gardner takes a look at great leaders in the 20th century and tries to come up with a common theme of what leadership looks like and where it comes from. I particularly enjoyed the middle section of the book that looked at specific characters that I did not know a great deal about (like Margaret Mead). Recommended as a character study of great figures and Reading this book for a graduate class, I was not expecting much. I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed most parts of this book. Basically Gardner takes a look at great leaders in the 20th century and tries to come up with a common theme of what leadership looks like and where it comes from. I particularly enjoyed the middle section of the book that looked at specific characters that I did not know a great deal about (like Margaret Mead). Recommended as a character study of great figures and as a journey through some parts of 20th century history that you may not usually read about.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Don

    Profiles of different leadership styles - at the highest level, between those of direct and indirect influence - but then with other nuance built in. Gardner takes a sociologist's view on leadership and the outcomes as a result of different leadership styles. Readable and engaging as he discusses some of the great 20th century leaders and how they fit into his leadership framework. Profiles of different leadership styles - at the highest level, between those of direct and indirect influence - but then with other nuance built in. Gardner takes a sociologist's view on leadership and the outcomes as a result of different leadership styles. Readable and engaging as he discusses some of the great 20th century leaders and how they fit into his leadership framework.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Joanna

    Gardner lays out the characteristics of leadership in some surprising ways. Notes that high levels of verbal intelligence, distance from father figure, and exposure to travel are commonalities. Uses unlikely and new studies (people) as examples. Fascinating. What makes a leader? Read on...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jaime

    This is a cool book. i'm reading it for class, but it's basically a quick run-down of some very impressive leaders in our history. It examines the different leadership styles and what events/traits lead a person to become extraordinary. Very interesting. This is a cool book. i'm reading it for class, but it's basically a quick run-down of some very impressive leaders in our history. It examines the different leadership styles and what events/traits lead a person to become extraordinary. Very interesting.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Keith

    I've read other Gardner books. He is an excellent writer and researcher. While the theme here is interesting and the biographies of each of the leaders he chooses to study are ok, the book is not compelling. His others were much better and more thought provoking. I've read other Gardner books. He is an excellent writer and researcher. While the theme here is interesting and the biographies of each of the leaders he chooses to study are ok, the book is not compelling. His others were much better and more thought provoking.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Emma Laskin

    Great Book since I helped write it!!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Peter Bistolarides

    Great on narrative. Some practical observations on leadership, but not as rich in this as one would expect

  21. 4 out of 5

    LeAnne

    Oh, where are they in American public schools?

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    leaders as storytellers

  23. 4 out of 5

    Paul Mamani

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tyler

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Denlinger

  26. 4 out of 5

    Farzana

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tim Mather

  28. 4 out of 5

    Monica

  29. 4 out of 5

    Darrin Fiddler

  30. 4 out of 5

    Fabricio Echeverría

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