Thinking about Leadership

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Overview

"Nan Keohane breaks down leadership to the fundamentals—a combination of innate ability and acquired skills that helps motivate others to work toward a common goal. This book is about inspired leadership—and inspiring 'followership'—and should be required reading from the classroom to the boardroom."—John Mack, chairman of the board, Morgan Stanley

"Nan Keohane's book is well-titled. Its focus is on thinking about leadership—exploring its many facets, complexities, and conundrums. It is not a 'how-to-do-it' book, but rather a sophisticated amalgam of the reflections of an author who is both a political philosopher and an experienced leader. Readers will enjoy—as well as learn from—the many references to the experiences of well-known leaders such as Mandela and Lincoln as well as to the voluminous literature on leadership."—William G. Bowen, president emeritus of Princeton University and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

"Drawing on her impressive skills as a leader and political theorist, Nan Keohane has made a major contribution to the study of leadership. This book is both thoughtful and wonderfully readable. The chapter on gender, alone, is worth the price of admission!"—Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Harvard University, author of The Powers to Lead

"A wonderfully thoughtful meditation on what it means to lead, and to follow, by a noted political philosopher who knows the boardroom as well as she knows the seminar room. This study of leadership stands out for its clarity, candor, depth, and humanity. A must-read for anyone—leader or follower—confronting the manifold opportunities and dilemmas of power."—Josiah Ober, Stanford University

"Nan Keohane is both an insightful political theorist and an experienced leader who is uniquely suited to thinking about leadership. This refreshing and richly textured discussion raises fundamental questions—why we need leaders, how leaders differ from followers, what is good leadership for democracies—and provides strikingly original observations in response."—Ruth Grant, Duke University

"Thinking about Leadership is replete with important, telling, and original insights and information. The book addresses key questions about leadership that, while not necessarily new, need to be posed, over and over again. Nannerl Keohane does not know how to write a bad sentence or make an uninteresting point."—Barbara Kellerman, author of Bad Leadership: What It Is, How It Happens, Why It Matters

"Thinking about Leadership is one of the best books on leadership I have ever read. If more people—especially leaders and would-be leaders—were to read it, it would broaden their assumptions about what they could and should do. Keohane draws upon impressive, high-level personal experience as a leader. Her reputation as a scholar is equally and deservedly superb."—Joanne Martin, Fred H. Merrill Professor, emerita, Stanford University

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
Political scientist, political theorist, and former president of Wellesley College and Duke University, the eminent scholar and leader Keohane has applied her considerable talents and experience to help readers better understand the complex world of leadership. . . . [Thinking about Leadership] is a very good introduction to many of the key aspects and controversies in leadership and is recommended for general audience interested in taking a first step into the field of leadership studies.
Enlightened Economist
Books about management usually leave me cold. . . . Thinking about Leadership by Nannerl Keohane is better than many I've dipped into. It's sensible, and short, and captures two aspects of leadership that seem pretty fundamental. The first is its definition of leadership. . . . The second is her emphasis on the importance of judgment.
— Diane Coyle
BizEd Magazine
[A] gentle, reflective book that examines the relevant literature, supports and refutes it with anecdotal evidence, and sifts everything through Keohane's own experiences as president of Wellesley College and Duke University. . . . She's not telling anyone how to be a leader; she's raising questions that ought to interest anyone interested in the role or the topic.
— Sharon Shinn
Times Higher Education
Keohane's book is to be recommended, particularly if you are an academic thinking about becoming a leader.
— Amanda Goodall
Huffington Post
Keohane understands as well that advice about the 'right balance between disparate qualities'—exhibiting warmth or distance; eliciting love or fear—isn't all that helpful because 'it does not come with instructions for knowing when to use one approach and when the other.' Leadership, Keohane reminds us, is as essential in a democracy as it is in a monarchy, oligarchy, or a dictatorship.
— Glenn Altschuler
Australian Review of Public Affairs
Keohane's exploration of the unique demands placed on all leaders, both men and women, in democracies is especially interesting. . . . Keohane's rich personal experiences and her deep engagement with political theory (informed by literature and the arts) therefore provide important insights into leadership.
— Haig Patapan
Political Studies Review
The manner in which dilemmas connected with the theory of leadership are presented is noteworthy and thus this book ought to be read by those interested in this issue.
— Maciej Hardifiski
Enlightened Economist - Diane Coyle
Books about management usually leave me cold. . . . Thinking about Leadership by Nannerl Keohane is better than many I've dipped into. It's sensible, and short, and captures two aspects of leadership that seem pretty fundamental. The first is its definition of leadership. . . . The second is her emphasis on the importance of judgment.
BizEd Magazine - Sharon Shinn
[A] gentle, reflective book that examines the relevant literature, supports and refutes it with anecdotal evidence, and sifts everything through Keohane's own experiences as president of Wellesley College and Duke University. . . . She's not telling anyone how to be a leader; she's raising questions that ought to interest anyone interested in the role or the topic.
Times Higher Education - Amanda Goodall
Keohane's book is to be recommended, particularly if you are an academic thinking about becoming a leader.
Huffington Post - Glenn Altschuler
Keohane understands as well that advice about the 'right balance between disparate qualities'—exhibiting warmth or distance; eliciting love or fear—isn't all that helpful because 'it does not come with instructions for knowing when to use one approach and when the other.' Leadership, Keohane reminds us, is as essential in a democracy as it is in a monarchy, oligarchy, or a dictatorship.
Australian Review of Public Affairs - Haig Patapan
Keohane's exploration of the unique demands placed on all leaders, both men and women, in democracies is especially interesting. . . . Keohane's rich personal experiences and her deep engagement with political theory (informed by literature and the arts) therefore provide important insights into leadership.
Political Studies Review - Maciej Hardifiski
The manner in which dilemmas connected with the theory of leadership are presented is noteworthy and thus this book ought to be read by those interested in this issue.
From the Publisher
"Political scientist, political theorist, and former president of Wellesley College and Duke University, the eminent scholar and leader Keohane has applied her considerable talents and experience to help readers better understand the complex world of leadership. . . . [Thinking about Leadership] is a very good introduction to many of the key aspects and controversies in leadership and is recommended for general audience interested in taking a first step into the field of leadership studies."—Choice

"Books about management usually leave me cold. . . . Thinking about Leadership by Nannerl Keohane is better than many I've dipped into. It's sensible, and short, and captures two aspects of leadership that seem pretty fundamental. The first is its definition of leadership. . . . The second is her emphasis on the importance of judgment."—Diane Coyle, Enlightened Economist blog

"[A] gentle, reflective book that examines the relevant literature, supports and refutes it with anecdotal evidence, and sifts everything through Keohane's own experiences as president of Wellesley College and Duke University. . . . She's not telling anyone how to be a leader; she's raising questions that ought to interest anyone interested in the role or the topic."—Sharon Shinn, BizEd Magazine

"Keohane's book is to be recommended, particularly if you are an academic thinking about becoming a leader."—Amanda Goodall, Times Higher Education

"Keohane understands as well that advice about the 'right balance between disparate qualities'—exhibiting warmth or distance; eliciting love or fear—isn't all that helpful because 'it does not come with instructions for knowing when to use one approach and when the other.' Leadership, Keohane reminds us, is as essential in a democracy as it is in a monarchy, oligarchy, or a dictatorship."—Glenn Altschuler, Huffington Post

"Keohane's exploration of the unique demands placed on all leaders, both men and women, in democracies is especially interesting. . . . Keohane's rich personal experiences and her deep engagement with political theory (informed by literature and the arts) therefore provide important insights into leadership."—Haig Patapan, Australian Review of Public Affairs

"The manner in which dilemmas connected with the theory of leadership are presented is noteworthy and thus this book ought to be read by those interested in this issue."—Maciej Hardifiski, Political Studies Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691156187
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 9/16/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 350,733
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Nannerl O. Keohane is the former president of Wellesley College and Duke University. She is the author of "Higher Ground: Ethics and Leadership in the Modern University" and "Philosophy and the State in France: The Renaissance to the Enlightenment" (Princeton).

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Table of Contents

Preface ix
INTRODUCTION 1
CHAPTER ONE: What Is Leadership? 18
CHAPTER TWO: How and Why Do Followers Matter? 48
CHAPTER THREE: What Determines Who Becomes a Leader and Which Leaders Will Succeed? 83
CHAPTER FOUR: Does Gender Make a Difference? 121
CHAPTER FIVE: How Does Leadership Work in a Democracy? 155
CHAPTER SIX: How Do Character, Ethics, and Leadership Interact? 194
Conclusion 224
Notes 237
Bibliography 267
Index 283

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