Still Surprised: A Memoir of a Life in Leadership

Overview

If many of our organizations have become more democratic, moreresilient, more adaptable, and more transparent, it is becauseWarren Bennis has provided much of the intellectual and ethicalfuel over the past half-century to our most influential andsuccessful leadership experts and practitioners.

Still Surprised illuminates how the world-changing ideasof Bennis and his colleagues resulted from the searing crucible oftheir own encounters, events, and experiences— not within asterile...

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Overview

If many of our organizations have become more democratic, moreresilient, more adaptable, and more transparent, it is becauseWarren Bennis has provided much of the intellectual and ethicalfuel over the past half-century to our most influential andsuccessful leadership experts and practitioners.

Still Surprised illuminates how the world-changing ideasof Bennis and his colleagues resulted from the searing crucible oftheir own encounters, events, and experiences— not within asterile laboratory of ideas. It demonstrates how students ofleadership are formed by what they discover about themselves onroads that are opened to them by circumstances—and by theroles they choose to carve out for themselves as a result.

The memoir begins, appropriately, with the surprise of anawkward and confused teenage Warren Bennis being prodded into hisfirst leadership position, in vicious combat during the latterstages of World War II. This child of the depression is thensurprised by the opportunity to attend college, thanks to the GIBill, at the raucous and revolutionary Antioch College. Next come anumber of breathtaking roles: working alongside some of the world'smost intriguing and celebrated figures, from Cambridge to Calcutta,to reshape organizational life; successfully putting his owntheories into practice as a university provost and president; andcoaching not only U.S. presidents and top corporate CEOs butsuccessive waves of ambitious young women and men.

This is also a memoir of our times, seen through the prism ofBennis's own development during crucial inflection points of recentdecades. His own medley of insecurity, hard work, determination toinvent a new life, and growing capacity to engage others all cameinto play amidst transformations within our society.

The art of leading well is not based on quick formulas formoving people, Bennis has noted; it flows from becoming anintegrated person, one who is able to discover and define—andredefine—oneself in the face of surprises and challenges. Theannals of modern leadership would be incomplete if our foremostauthority on leadership had not detailed his own journey ofself-discovery, as he finally does here—to the delight ofdevotees and admirers around the globe.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"As a wonderfully honest reporter, Warren does not hesitate to discuss his disappointments and his mistakes, personal as well as professional. Yet this book has an excitement, an energy, a joie de vivre that is inspiring. As an essentialist, I suspect that Warren was born with an ebullient temperament. And yet at the same time, I must acknowledge that Warren is at the happiest point in his life right now, because the roles that he assumed in the last twenty years— master teacher, mentor, writer, pundit, and, yes, guru—are the ones into which he has grown. And they have made him what he is, just as surely as he excelled in them because of who he is." (Howard Gardner, The Washington Post, August 11, 2010)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470432389
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 8/16/2010
  • Series: J-B Warren Bennis Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 674,429
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Warren Bennis is distinguished professor of business administration at the University of Southern California. He is chairman of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University's Kennedy School. He has also served as president of the University of Cincinnati and provost of SUNY-Buffalo. He lives happily in Santa Monica with his wife, Dr. Grace Gabe.

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Table of Contents

Prelude.

1 The Crucible of War.

2 Launch.

3 Rites of Passage.

4 Great Groups.

5 Fighting the Bull.

6 Going State.

7 A Year at Sea.

8 Coming Home.

9 The Crucible of Age.

Acknowledgments.

About the Author.

Index.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2012

    In this fascinating memoir, celebrated leadership guru Warren Be

    In this fascinating memoir, celebrated leadership guru Warren Bennis looks back on what he learned fighting in the US Army during World War II, studying at Antioch College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), experiencing psychotherapy, and working as a leader in academia throughout his eventful life. Bennis discusses the traits he discovered among successful leaders, including empathy, respect for others, and the ability to listen and to adapt. He explores the transformational “crucibles” he went through to become a leader and a leadership expert. getAbstract believes aspiring and current leaders in business, academia, the military and politics can learn from Bennis’s insights, experiences and observations about leadership.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2011

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