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Leadership

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Overview

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James MacGregor Burns has devoted his legendary career to the study of leadership in all its aspects—from politics to business. Leadership, Burns's pioneering study, introduces the highly influential theory of “transformational leadership,” stating that the best leaders are those who inspire others to come together toward the achievement of higher aims. Featuring fascinating case studies drawn from history, Leadership is the classic text for anyone seeking to understand executive ...

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Leadership

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Overview

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James MacGregor Burns has devoted his legendary career to the study of leadership in all its aspects—from politics to business. Leadership, Burns's pioneering study, introduces the highly influential theory of “transformational leadership,” stating that the best leaders are those who inspire others to come together toward the achievement of higher aims. Featuring fascinating case studies drawn from history, Leadership is the classic text for anyone seeking to understand executive decision-making, the dynamics of influence, and moral leadership.

An analysis of the American political system.

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Editorial Reviews

Walter Johnson
To some historians Professor Burns is a fine political scientist. To some political scientists he is a fine historian. In fact, he is the best of both disciplines....

"Many other writers throughout history have analyzed leadership. What is impressive about this new study is the range of Burns' reading about both Western and non-Western civilizations, his freedom from cultural bias, the insights he derives from his own observation of and participation in American politics, and his willingness to grow intellectually....

"An impressive book. Although Burns is sophisticated about the frailties of people, Leadership is also an optimistic book. He ends his study with these words: 'That people can be lifted into their better selves is the secret of transforming leadership and the moral and practical theme of this work.'
The Washington Post

Kenneth B. Clark
Beyond his past major contributions to our understanding of the American political system, in this new book James MacGregor Burns demonstrates that he is not only one of America's outstanding political scientists but a major social philosopher as well. This volume, combining vivid biography, dramatic history, and political theory, woven together in an engrossing fabric, impresses one with its probing insights into the complexities, inconsistencies and the interrelationships among the various parts of the American social, political and economic system. Burns shares his observations and a comprehensive analysis of the dynamic gestalt that is the American political system and nonsystem, and compares it throughout history with the political systems and the revolutions of other nations....

"This is an important book, a book that combines an analysis of the past and a penetrating observation of the present with implications for the future stability of American democracy. —City News

From the Publisher
"An impressive book. Although Burns is sophisticated about frailties of people, Leadership is also an optimistic book." —-The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061965579
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/30/2010
  • Pages: 530
  • Sales rank: 145,012
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

James MacGregor Burns was the Woodrow Wilson Professor of Government Emeritus at Williams College and the author or coauthor of more than two dozen books, including Roosevelt: Soldier of Freedom, which won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and Leadership, which is considered the seminal work in the field of leadership studies.

Educated at Juilliard, Paul Costanzo has brought the sensitivity and nuance of a classical music background to the world of voice acting for over twenty-five years. He was chosen by New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter to record titles in her FBI series, and AudioFile magazine has called his narration "Superb."

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

THE POWER OF LEADERSHIP

We search eagerly for leadership yet seek to cage and tame it. We recoil from power yet we are bewitched or titillated by it. We devour books on power--power in the office, power in the bedroom, power in the corridors. Connoisseurs of power purport to teach about it--what it is, how to get it, how to use it, how to "gain total control" over "everything around you." We think up new terms for power: clout, wallop, muscle. We measure the power of the aides of Great Men by the number of yards between their offices and that of Number One. If authority made the powerful "giddy, proud, and vain," as Samuel Butler wrote, today it entrances both the seekers of power and the powerless.

Why this preoccupation, this near-obsession, with power? In part because we in this century cannot escape the horror of it. Stalin controlled an apparatus that, year after year and in prison after prison, quietly put to death millions of persons, some of them old comrades and leading Bolsheviks, with hardly a ripple of protest from others. Between teatime and dinner Adolf Hitler could decide whether to release a holocaust of terror and death in an easterly or westerly direction, with stupendous impact on the fate of a continent and a world. On smaller planes of horror, American soldiers have slaughtered women and children cowering in ditches; village tyrants hold serfs and slaves in thrall; revolutionary leaders disperse whole populations into the countryside, where they dig or die; the daughter of Nehru jails her political adversaries--and is jailed in turn.

Then too, striking displays of power stick in our memories; themore subtle interplays between leaders and followers elude us. I have long been haunted by the tale of an encounter with Mtesa, king of Uganda, that John Speke brought back from his early travels to the source of the Nile. The Englishman was first briefed on court decorum: while the king's subjects groveled before the throne, their faces plastered with dirt, Speke would be allowed to sit on a bundle of grass. Following an interlude of Wasoga minstrels playing on tambira, the visitor was summoned to the court, where women, cows, goats, porcupines, and rats were arrayed for presentation. The king showed an avid interest in the guns Speke had brought. He invited his guest to take potshots at the cows, and great applause broke out when Speke dropped five in a row. Speke reported further:

"The king now loaded one of the carbines I had given him with his own hands, and giving it full-cock to a page, told him to go out and shoot a man in the outer court, which was no sooner accomplished than the little urchin returned to announce his success with a look of glee such as one would see in the face of a boy who had robbed a bird's nest, caught a trout, or done any other boyish trick. The king said to him, `And did you do it well?' `Oh, yes, capitally.' " The affair created little interest in the court, Speke said, and no one inquired about the man who had been killed.

It is a story to make one pause. Mtesa was an absolute monarch, but could a man be randomly shot at the whim of the tyrant--indeed, of a boy? Did the victim have no mother or father, no protective brother, no lover, no comrade with whom he had played and hunted?

The case of the nurse of the children of Frederick William, king of Prussia, may be more instructive. Despising the mildly bohemian ways of his oldest son, the king heaped humiliation on him and flogged him in public. When the crown prince fled with a companion, the king had them arrested, falsely told his wife that their son had been executed, beat his children when they intervened in their brother's behalf, and dealt with the companion--the son and grandson of high-ranking generals--by setting aside a life imprisonment sentence imposed by a military court in favor of the death penalty. He forced his son to watch while his friend was beheaded. One of the few persons to stand up to the king was the nurse, who barred his way when he tried to drag his cowering children out from under the table, and she got away with it.

Sheer evil and brute power always seem more fascinating than complex human relationships. Sinners usually outsell saints, at least in Western cultures, and the ruthless exercise of power somehow seems more realistic, moral influence more naive. Above all, sheer massed power seems to have the most impact on history. Such, at least, is this century's bias. Perhaps I exemplify the problem of this distorted perception in my own intellectual development. Growing up in the aftermath of one world war, taking part in a second, studying the records of these and later wars, I have been struck by the sheer physical impact of men's armaments. Living in the age of political titans, I too have assumed that their actual power equaled their reputed power. As a political scientist I have belonged to a "power school" that analyzed the interrelationships of persons on the basis only of power. Perhaps this was fitting for an era of two world wars and scores of lesser ones, the murder of entire cities, bloody revolutions, the unleashing of the inhuman force of the atom.

I fear, however, that we are paying a steep intellectual and political price for our preoccupation with power. Viewing politics as power has blinded us to the role of power in politics and hence to the pivotal role of leadership. Our failure is partly empirical and psychological. Consider again the story of Mtesa and Speke. It is easy to suspend disbelief and swallow the story whole, enticing as it is. But did the English visitor actually know what happened in the outer court? Was the king staging an act for him? If a man did die, was he an already doomed culprit? If not, would Mtesa later pay a terrible price at the hands of his subjects? Or turn back to the brutality of Frederick William? Was his "absolute" power more important than the moral courage of the nurse who resisted him? So shocking are the acts of tyrants, so rarely reported the acts of defiance, that we forget that even the most despotic are continually frustrated by foot-dragging, quiet sabotage, communications failures, stupidity, even aside from moral resistance and sheer physical circumstance. Leadership. Copyright © by James M. Burns. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Table of Contents

Prologue: The Crisis of Leadership 1

Part I Leadership: Power and Purpose

1 The Power of Leadership 9

The Two Essentials of Power 12

Leadership and Followership 18

What Leadership Is Not: Closing the Intellectual Gap 23

2 The Structure of Moral Leadership 29

The Power and Sources of Values 30

Conflict and Consciousness 36

The Elevating Power of Leadership 41

Part II Origins of Leadership

3 The Psychological Matrix of Leadership 49

The Cocoon of Personality 53

The Wellsprings of Want 61

The Transmutation of Need 68

The Hierarchies of Need and Value 72

4 The Social Sources of Leadership 81

The Family as Imperium 82

Political Schooling 85

Self-esteem, Social Role, and Empathy 94

5 The Crucibles of Political Leadership 105

The Spur of Ambition 106

The Need for Gratification 112

Openings and Closures: The Structure of Political Opportunity 119

The Creation of Followers 129

Part III Transforming Leadership

6 Intellectual Leadership; Ideas as Moral Power 141

Intellectuals at the Tension Points 143

Liberty and Power 148

Intellectuals and the Nature of Liberty 157

The Intellectual Test of Transforming Power 163

7 Reform Leadership 169

Great Britain: The Insistent Particularists 172

Russia: Reform from Above 181

Reform in America: Dilemmas of Transforming Leadership 190

8 Revolutionary Leadership 201

France: The Maelstrom of Leadership 205

Russia: The Vocation of Leadership 215

China: The Cult of Leadership 228

9 Heroes and Ideologues 241

Heroic Leadership 243

Ideological Leadership 248

Leadership as Transformation 252

Part IV Transactional Leadership

10 Opinion Leadership: The Missing Piece of the Puzzle 257

Arousal: The Mobilization of Political Opinion 259

Aggregation: The Alignment of Opinion 265

Voting: The Conversion of Opinion 274

11 Group Leadership: Bargainers and Bureaucrats 287

The Leadership of Small Groups 289

Bureaucracy Versus Leadership 295

Leadership in Political Interest Groups 302

12 Party Leadership 308

Parties: Conflict and Leadership 311

Party Leaders and Government Leaders 315

One-Party Leadership 329

Party Leadership: Power and Change 337

13 Legislative Leadership: The Price of Consensus 344

The Legislator as Leader 346

Group Leadership and Legislative Structure 355

Central Legislative Leadership 363

14 Executive Leadership 369

The Political Executive: Power and Purpose 371

The Executive Leader as Decision Maker 378

The American President as Executive Leader 385

Part V Implications: Theory and Practice

15 Decision and Change 401

The Leader as Policy Maker 404

Decision and Dissent 407

The Test: Real, Intended Change 413

16 Toward a General Theory 422

Leadership and Collective Purpose 425

Leadership as Causation 433

Leadership and Change 439

17 Political Leadership as Practical Influence 444

Teaching Leadership or Manipulation? 446

The Armament of Leadership 451

Leadership: Of Whom? To What? 457

Acknowledgments 465

Sources 467

Index 509

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2005

    Leadership: an analysis study

    The world of leadership is examined through a sweeping assessment on its power and purpose to its origins in James MacGregor Burns¿s book, Leadership. This book is a very comprehensive overview of the study of leadership as it distinguishes not only what are the two basic styles of leadership: transforming and transactional, but evaluates the theory and practice of leadership skills as well. Burns stated in Leadership, ¿I define leadership as leaders inducing followers to act for certain goals that represent the values and the motivations¬¿the wants and needs, the aspirations and expectations¿of both leaders and followers¿ (19). Throughout the book, Burns discussed the leadership styles of political leaders to religious and social leaders. From Martin Luther King, Jr to Moses to Mahatma Gandhi to Napoleon, plus Machiavelli and even Adolf Hitler, Burns cited how these leaders made vital distinctions between wants and needs. According to Burns, ¿the process of leadership must be seen as part of the dynamics of conflict and of power that leadership is nothing if not linked to collective purpose that the effectiveness of leaders must be judged not by their press clippings but by actual social change measured by intent and by the satisfaction of human needs and expectations¿ (3). From chapters on the social sources of leadership to the crucibles of political leadership and reform leadership, Burns¿ book discussed how the leadership process is not inclusive and exclusive to any one style and formula.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2014

    Swiftclaw

    I dont want war...

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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