Holding the Center: Memoirs of a Life in Higher Educationby Howard W. Johnson
Memoir of a former MIT President, as well as professor, corporate director, and advisor to American government agencies and to museums and foundations.See more details below
Memoir of a former MIT President, as well as professor, corporate director, and advisor to American government agencies and to museums and foundations.
- MIT Press
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.75(d)
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
What People are saying about this
Holding the Center is a rare accounting of how
President Howard Johnson skillfully lead MIT throughout the 1960s campus revolt.
Executives everywhere will learn a thing or two about conflict management from this engaging diary of a university president.
Holding the Center is an exceptionally wise and readable book, rich with the fruits of long experience in troubled times. All of us who have some responsibility for university leadership should cut out the list of maxims in the Coda and tape it up near our desks.
What a multiple feast Howard Johnson has given us. At one level his book is a fascinating autobiography of the leader of arguably the greatest research institution in the world. At another level, it is a riveting history of how this university, MIT, coped with and responded admirably to the spastic hyper-turbulence of the Vietnam era. But for me personally, as a student of human organizations, the most important contribution this book makes is how it illuminates the darkness surrounding our understanding of how complex organizations are led through periods of unparalleled change -- a challenge, I need hardly add, that all of our contemporary institutions are confronting today.
Holding the Center tells two engrossing stories. One is Howard Johnson's personal journey from the South Side of Chicago to the presidency of one of the most prestigious universities in the world; a journey that transited the Great Depression, military service in Europe and World War II, and a circuitous climb to the peak of higher education. The other story recounts his experience as President of MIT in the late 1960s and 1970s when MIT, like other
American universities, was wracked by student and faculty dissent growing out of opposition to the Vietnam War and a profound shift in cultural attitudes. An understanding of Johnson's personal values and life experiences helps to explain how he skillfully managed the potentially explosive forces in a way that preserved campus comity and the integrity of the institution. Together, these two stories make an absorbing, and even inspiring, narrative which tells us much about higher education -- and American -- during a period of turbulent change.
This is a remarkable book about a remarkable man. Howard W. Johnson has served his community well, as an educator and a leader in business and the arts. He is the kind of man whom people instinctively trust. Johnson's memoirs make good reading and should be studied by anyone interested in the history of Boston and
Cambridge from the 1960s to the 1980s, or in how one great institution faced the educational crises of 1969-70.
Holding the Center represents not only the personal memoir of a deeply dedicated man but also a vivid history of MIT since World War II.
This book reveals one of the secrets of MIT's success as one of the greatest
American institutions of higher learning -- the continuity of its governance throughout its history.
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