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Publisher's Summary

“This book is a breakthrough. It’s beautifully written, perfectly timed and heralds a new way forward. I’m buying a dozen copies to share with friends and colleagues.” (Seth Godin, Founder of altMBA and author of The Practice)

If you let go of hierarchy, chaos will reign...or so many leaders believe.

But when leaders find the courage to distribute rather than hoard power, creativity multiplies, trust deepens, and inclusivity expands...and a new kind of order emerges.

A few rare leaders have learned to embrace a new organizational shape and mindset: Constellations. Organizations designed as constellations are dynamic and flexible networks of distinct yet interwoven individuals. Each member of the team feels like a singular star and is also connected to others to form something greater. That is how Visa reimagined how we pay for things, how Wikipedia beat the richest company in the world and how Barack Obama and his grassroots team revolutionized political campaigning. These leaders did what most leaders dread - they gave away power.

Barzun brilliantly layers lessons across history and industries with his own experiences as an internet entrepreneur, political organizer, and US ambassador to the United Kingdom and Sweden. The Power of Giving Away Power shows how the Constellation mindset shines in some of the most impactful organizations and innovations the world has ever known. And it encourages us all to recognize, as Barzun writes, "the power we can create by seeing the power in others" - and making the leap to lead. Together.

©2021 Matthew Barzun (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“He can indeed make his constellation theory sound appealing.... The Power of Giving Away Power is surprisingly (and refreshingly) nonpartisan.” (The Wall Street Journal)

“Bravo. These are ideas that can heal and inspire in a time when we are suspicious, tribal, at each others’ throats.” (Ken Burns, documentary filmmaker) 

“Matthew Barzun might well be the first modest man to write a great book on leadership. This is a gift." (Richard Thaler, Nobel Prize Laureate and coauthor of Nudge

What listeners say about The Power of Giving Away Power

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Thought Provoking

It is a thought provoking way to consider both leadership and organizational structure. I recommend it.

1 person found this helpful

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Not a very humble author, but what do you expect?

I took a few notes and had some moments of inspiration. Be prepared for a lot of metaphors, but little in the way of how to actually be a constellation or to adapt to it. (speed to 1.25x)

1 person found this helpful

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Phenomenal!

This is one of the best leadership books I’ve read. Thank you for your insight, humility and humour.

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Not what I was expecting

From the title you think you’re going to learn the how of giving away power. What you really end up getting is many examples from the author in his own life in politics fundraising and diplomacy. The points were drawn out and I didn’t always get much from them. A small amount of small “Aha” moments made the book worth it enough but overall I missed the how. How do I implement this at work? How do I deal with those that won’t give away power? How to handle power situations by giving away power? References to being a diplomat makes the examples not relatable to 99% of America who works in an office environment and wants to learn how to give away power to make power. The title should be renamed perhaps the importance of giving away power in politics and diplomacy. To the authors credit there aren’t any or enough books that speak to this subject. I hope this sparks the said constellation, of research, studies and better how to guides of giving away power. May the branches of this idea grow to others, I’ll follow along as it does. Overall great start to a difficult topic.

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Wow

Powerful, insightful, moving (like to literal tears, but I'm not different)

This book has definitely earned the top position in all of the 19 books I've read this year (it's June of 2021). And I'm sure it'll launch some pretty amazing changes in the future of business, politics, and all forms of leadership diplomacy alike.

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Spectacular Leadership book

I am so thankful for this book. This book took me BOTH personally and professionally to another level of leadership mindset. Such an abundance mindset when we think of a world of interdependence - empowerment of others - focus on the constellation mindset. It will take my companies, and more importantly my team to a whole other level of fulfillment. Great work here by Barzun and thank uou Simon sinek for publishing! Brilliant stuff right here.

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Big ideas in a compact package

Barzun didn’t set out to write a bestseller about leadership here, his ambition is to change the world. And I think he may have succeeded.

Having read a lot of books in the same general space as this one—leadership, public policy, history—and especially with the books that are advocating a new way of doing or looking at things, I usually end up thinking they were about twice as long as they needed to be. They’re basically a TED Talk with a bunch of anecdotes to turn them into a book. With this book, I was left wishing there was more.

Barzun seems to have wanted to be careful not to obscure his broader thesis by making it too much about himself. But, I found the parts about his own story super-compelling and would have loved to hear more. Author: please write a memoir!

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Brilliant

Enjoyed every chapter. Great mix of insight and ideas. I know I’ll be reading this one again.

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An Extraordinary and Important Book

Leadership is the willingness to lean into and through uncertainty with and for others. Matthew reminds us that it is also a choice available to inter-dependent individuals. This book is powerful, timely, and highly recommend it for anyone that wants to make a difference and make things better.