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Power: Why Some People Have It - and Others Don't | [Jeffrey Pfeffer]

Power: Why Some People Have It - and Others Don't

Brimming with counterintuitive advice, numerous examples from various countries, and surprising findings, this groundbreaking guide reveals the strategies and tactics that separate the winners from the losers. Power is a force that can be used and harnessed not only for individual gain but also for the benefit of organizations and society. Power, however, is not something that can be learned from those in charge....
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Publisher's Summary

Brimming with counterintuitive advice, numerous examples from various countries, and surprising findings, this groundbreaking guide reveals the strategies and tactics that separate the winners from the losers.

Power is a force that can be used and harnessed not only for individual gain but also for the benefit of organizations and society. Power, however, is not something that can be learned from those in charge; their advice often puts a rosy spin on their ascent and focuses on what should have worked, rather than what actually did.

Instead, Pfeffer reveals the true paths to power and career success. Iconoclastic and grounded in the realpolitik of human interaction, Power is an essential organizational survival manual and a new standard in the field of leadership and management.

©2010 Jeffrey Pfeffer (P)2011 Dreamscape Media, LLC

What the Critics Say

“[Power] ought to be required reading for would-be leaders.... [E]xcellent.” (Financial Times)

"Brimming with frank, realistic insights on paths to the top, this book offers unexpected - and aggressive - directions on how to advance and flourish in an ever-more competitive workplace." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (190 )
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3.9 (138 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Douglas C. Bates Boston, MA 05-03-14
    Douglas C. Bates Boston, MA 05-03-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent Advice"

    This is an excellent book on how power is use in the workplace. Many of the examples echo experiences I've had in my career. I wish I had had the knowledge in this book year ago.

    The negative reviews of this book say more about deficiencies in the reviewers than deficiencies in the book. This is a book about the – at best – morally ambiguous techniques people use to obtain and retain power. For many readers, the experience of having those techniques articulated is repugnant, and their reaction is to blame the messenger.

    The sad fact is that at times power is achieved with dirty tricks. You’re better off knowing about these tricks; otherwise, you’ll be blindsided. For example, one case provided in the book was about an employee who was fired because she was too competent, and was a threat to her new boss. The exact same thing happened to me early in my career. And I’m not just relating my opinion of the case. A decade after the incident I encountered my boss’s boss on a flight I was taking. She apologized to me. In the months after my firing it had become clear that my boss was incompetent and was making up lies to protect herself.

    It can be a cruel world out there. The information in this book can help you defend yourself.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel 08-07-12
    Daniel 08-07-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Distracted by Mr. Pfeffer's political leanings"
    Would you try another book from Jeffrey Pfeffer and/or David Drummond?

    I would not try another book from Jeffrey Pfeffer. For an academic with credentials like his he has to know he skates on thin ice with his examples and that half of the US public will react negatively to contemporary examples. Since he chose to use those examples anyway, instead of others from less emotional milieus that could have illustrated his points just as well, I have to conclude that he had at least one ulterior motive to this book. I don't care to support that kind of writing. I don't watch movies done by actors who overshadow the story with political statements, or listen to journalists who sell their political views by deceit and don't read authors who try to slip politics into books, either. The way that he chose to highlight his favorite political party with sycophantic valentines to them and damn his enemies with faint praise was very annoying and detracted from his major points. It was the equivalent of saying things like "the wife-beater got away with it in court because of his projection of confidence" on his enemies, then turning around and lauding one person who was disbarred from his home state's legal association, another who had recklessly killed someone and lied about it, and so more. Very irritating.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The way Mr. Pfeffer illustrated the health aspects of understanding power hit home. I listened to those points and forced myself to continue the book when it bogged down in tributes to his friends.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The performance was fine, which I know means it was probably extremely skillful because business books do not lend themselves to interesting narration.


    Who do you think would benefit most from listening to Power?

    I think many people could benefit from the Clif's Notes and not have to put up with the irrelevancies.


    Any additional comments?

    Cialdini's book on Influence is the standard for this genre. The author should note Cialdini's neutral political examples and adjust accordingly. Obviously power is a political issue so one would have to use political examples, but why not 11th century Japan, ancient Rome or anything else that is not so emotionally charged as current politics?

    11 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dustin A Watkins 06-12-15
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    "One of the best books I've read all year"

    Extremely helpful, well-research, and practical, this honestly one of the best books I've read in a very long time. I highly recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Aptos, CA, United States 05-29-15
    Mark Aptos, CA, United States 05-29-15 Member Since 2006
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    "Concise and on point"
    Would you listen to Power again? Why?

    I will listen to Power again. The points are clear and useful. I was disappointed that other books by Jeffrey Pfeffer and narrated by David Drummond where not available on Audible.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The book has valuable advice regardless of how much power you really want. It is great advice for anyone to better understand how to remain in good graces with your employer, and we all have employers.


    Which character – as performed by David Drummond – was your favorite?

    The narrator is perfect for conveying business ideas in a professional, listenable and upbeat way. He sounds like he believes in what he is saying and keeps the listener engaged. I wish that he would do more books related to personal growth, business and finance. Those books don't always get a top-shelf performer.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I really liked going over how to handle self-promotion as well as how to handle mistakes. There is a great section at the end of the book that deals with the costs of power. That is a great section when considering any job or position change. The culture and societal obligations of many jobs has changed tremendously over the last decade. This section is a great reality check for any job with responsibility. The societal obligations may not be fair, but they are what they are at this time of life.


    Any additional comments?

    There is no filler in this book. I will read it again in six months and go back over the principles. There is great advice on when you screw up, and all people that want to impact change will do that.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven S Thousand Oaks, California 02-11-15
    Steven S Thousand Oaks, California 02-11-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Machiavelli reborn."

    See my good reads post :)
    The need to sync

    Overall though it was a good read. It was pretty elementary but that is a great place to start for most people who don't have a good idea on how the world really works. It isn't fair so live in fear.

    I recommended this to half dozen of my friends so far. Hopefully it doesn't come back to me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joey 02-04-15
    Joey 02-04-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Everything you need to know about power"

    This is my go to book if I have issues concerning acquiring and holding onto power. It's the best up-to-date source available.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Wozniak 01-16-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Modern Machiavelli"

    Well-written and interesting this is a very selfish book. I learned a lot but I'm not going to follow much of this advice. It includes chapters on how to deceive manipulate and use other people. Some points are very helpful such as how to communicate in ways that don't give away your authority. I use this book mostly to know what other people think about power, not as a primer for what I want to do. Don't get me wrong I think this stuff works. It's just contrary to servant leadership that Jesus taught. He said we are not to lead as leaders of the world do lord it over their people. He said to be servant leaders. This book is how lord it over people.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Krause 12-17-13
    A. Krause 12-17-13

    Andrew

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    "I Don't Like To Play Politics"
    Any additional comments?

    Everyone says it. "I don't like to play politics." And that's true for most people, even the ones who are good at it. We all play the game. The trick is to not let the game play you. So whether you want to play politics or not, you need to know about how power manifests, distributes and concentrates within human social hierarchies. This book delivers an excellent explanation of power, how its leveraged and the dangers faced by powerful people. The lessons are practical - you can begin to exercise principles immediately to make your work life easier or to increase or organizational effectiveness. This is easily the best book I've listened to so far. It is a great blend of content and performance.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Al San Francisco, CA 10-07-11
    Al San Francisco, CA 10-07-11 Member Since 2011
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    "The best book on organization leadership"

    The best book on organizational leadership which shows the effective strategies for management and leadership.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Austin, TX, United States 02-10-13
    William Austin, TX, United States 02-10-13
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    "BORING!!!!!"
    What would have made Power better?

    NOTHING NEW


    Has Power turned you off from other books in this genre?

    NO


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    POORLY READ


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    NOT REALLY


    Any additional comments?

    YOU SHOULD NOT BE OFFERING SUCH AN OLD AND TIRED BOOK HAVING NO STORY LINE

    2 of 11 people found this review helpful

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