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The Myth of the Strong Leader

Political Leadership in the Modern Age
Narrated by: Jonathan Cowley
Length: 17 hrs and 52 mins
Categories: History, Political
4 out of 5 stars (67 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Selected as one of the Best Books of 2016 by Bill Gates

All too frequently, leadership is reduced to a simple dichotomy: the strong versus the weak. Yet, there are myriad ways to exercise effective political leadership - as well as different ways to fail. We blame our leaders for economic downfalls and praise them for vital social reforms, but rarely do we question what makes some leaders successful while others falter. In this magisterial and wide-ranging survey of political leadership over the past hundred years, renowned Oxford politics professor Archie Brown challenges the widespread belief that strong leaders - meaning those who dominate their colleagues and the policy-making process - are the most successful and admirable.

In reality, only a minority of political leaders will truly make a lasting difference. Though we tend to dismiss more collegial styles of leadership as weak, it is often the most cooperative leaders who have the greatest impact. Drawing on extensive research and decades of political analysis and experience, Brown illuminates the achievements, failures, and foibles of a broad array of 20th century politicians. Whether speaking of redefining leaders like Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and Margaret Thatcher, who expanded the limits of what was politically possible during their time in power, or the even rarer transformational leaders who played a decisive role in bringing about systemic change - Charles de Gaulle, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Nelson Mandela, among them - Brown challenges our commonly held beliefs about political efficacy and strength.

Overturning many of our assumptions about the 20th century's most important figures, Brown's conclusions are both original and enlightening. The Myth of the Strong Leader compels us to reassess the leaders who have shaped our world - and to reconsider how we should choose and evaluate those who will lead us into the future.

©2017 Archie Brown (P)2017 Random House Audio

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Good book, print is probably better though

while this is a good book and a good listen, I'd imagine actually reading it would be much more rewarding due to how it's constructed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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An analysis of political leadership

Read like a college thesis paper. Many interesting insights on government leadership. However, highly political and infused with the liberal view typical of academic circles. Not a practical book for leaders looking to find principles that can be used in business or in organizations.

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Compelling but Arrogant

Good thesis but very biased left. FDR/LBJ were great but no mention of Truman?

1 of 4 people found this review helpful