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Power: Why Some People Have It-and Others Don't [Kindle Edition]

Jeffrey Pfeffer
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“Jeff Pfeffer is of immense service to the world with his work, blending academic rigor and practical genius into wonderfully readable text. The leading thinker on the topic of power, Pfeffer here distills his wisdom into an indispensable guide.” (Jim Collins, author of Good to Great and How the Mighty Fall)

“Talk about speaking truth to power! In refreshingly candid prose, Jeff Pfeffer offers brilliant insights into how power is successfully built, maintained, and employed in organizations. It’s well known that when Pfeffer speaks about power, smart people listen. This book shows why.” (Robert Cialdini, author of Influence)

“Jeff Pfeffer nails it! Political skill, not just talent, is central to success in every field. In Power, this leading scholar comes down to earth with practical, even contrarian, tactics for mastering the power game.” (Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Chaired Professor, Harvard Business School, and bestselling author of Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin and End and SuperCorp)

“[Power] will help you get comfortable with challenging assumptions and lingering on the pause....[Pfeffer] draws on a wealth of social-science and psychology research.” (Inc.)

“Its candor, crisp prose, and forthrightness are fresh and appealing... 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)

“[Academics and consultants] have an interest in presenting business as a rational enterprise.... This leaves the analysis of power to retired businesspeople...(who strive to present themselves as business geniuses rather than Machiavellis) and practicing snake-oil salesmen…Jeffrey Pfeffer of Stanford Business School is an exception to this rule.” (The Economist)

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


“Pfeffer [blends] academic rigor and practical genius into wonderfully readable text. The leading thinker on the topic of power, Pfeffer here distills his wisdom into an indispensable guide.”
—Jim Collins, author of New York Times bestselling author Good to Great and How the Mighty Fall


Some people have it, and others don’t—Jeffrey Pfeffer explores why in Power. One of the greatest minds in management theory and author or co-author of thirteen books, including the seminal business school text Managing With Power, Pfeffer shows readers how to succeed and wield power in the real world.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 560 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 288 Seiten
  • Verlag: HarperCollins e-books; Auflage: 1 (14. September 2010)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B003V1WSZK
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Nicht aktiviert
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #118.227 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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1.0 von 5 Sternen Leadership Without Moral Standards 27. Oktober 2013
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Leadership without moral standards is a serious issue as the desire for more power is addictive, as the author correctly states on page 196. Can you expect that leaders that are addicts to act responsibly? Of course not!

In every ordered society you will find a government, businesses and many other organization. Every organization has a leader at the top and leaders at several levels below him or her, the hierarchy. The leaders at the top can and has to make decisions only he can make because he is the only one that can see the total picture. His decisions have far greater consequences than those in the level below, even though the decisions at all levels including executing tasks like selling and producing have to made too for an organization to survive. To make decisions get them executed requires power. Power is necessary, automatic as it comes with a position in the hierarchy. An organization without a functioning power structure is in chaos or anarchy.

Power has to be exercised responsibly. That implies that the power holder must consider what is best for the organization or part of it for which he is responsible. A leader that bases his decisions on what increases his power and salary the most will often make the decisions that are not in the interest of the company.

In my view power is a means to an end, to get done something useful. If power becomes an end in itself as the author recommends, it becomes addictive. There many examples in the book of the desire for power determining the action, regardless of a moral standard. Just one important example

The Board of Directors is legally responsible that the Chief Executive acts in the interest of the company as a whole and not in his own personal interests. What is the author's advice?
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2.0 von 5 Sternen Makes me sad -- a blind spot on ethics. 20. August 2011
Von Mike Wenger - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I've been shuffling among academe, consulting, and private-sector executive positions for 35 years and this book really saddens me. (So much that I am writing my first Amazon review). The book promises to tell you about the "real" nature of leadership opportunities, disabuse you of your naive notions about what you might wish were true, and provide you with a set of techniques so you can successfully accumulate power. In a nut shell: liars, bastards, suck-ups and backstabbers win promotions most of the time and if you want to garner power, it's more important to play the game than to perform well. Which, I guess I actually agree with to a large degree, but that's only news to an academic. Ask any VP or above in a large corporation or see how many senior executives leave any company "happy." But what really makes me sad . . . I would have hoped that a professor of OB at Stanford would have included a chapter discussing whether this is a morally reasonable situation or at least what the instrumental impact on organizational effectiveness might be.

Some specifics: the word "ethics" does not appear in the index (nor in the book as far as I can tell); he uses Oliver North's testimony before Congress (you know -- when he lied) as a great example of effective "power speech"; he applauds Rahm Emanuel's profane screaming outbursts as effective positioning; he says that if a CEO trusts ANYONE, he (or possibly she) is a fool; that people actually like to work in hierarchic control and will gravitate to you if you are powerful even if they despise you. All of this without even a small nod to ethical or moral questions. And he never, ever questions whether one should consider pursuing happiness, satisfaction, spiritual fulfillment, or family rather than "power." (I'm not making this up: the last sentences in the book are, "So seek power as if your life depends on it. Because it does.")

The book comes across as kind of a scholar's version of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" minus the humor or an updated version of "The Prince" minus the historical gravitas. But what depresses me even more is that the reviews (as far as I've seen) are positive -- applause for "telling it like it is!" and "I've made this mandatory for my MBA classes." I'm really saddened at what our field has to offer. No wonder more and more people question whether business degrees are worth the money and whether business schools are fueling a pandemic of moral blindness.

Could I be reading it wrong?
108 von 122 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Contrary to conventional wisdom, what power really is...and isn't 18. September 2010
Von Robert Morris - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I have read and reviewed all of the previous books that Jeffrey Pfeffer wrote or co-authored and consider this one his most valuable because his focus is much less on dysfunctional organizations and how to resuscitate them; indeed, he focuses almost entirely on what any ambitious person needs to understand about what power is...and isn't. Unlike his approach in any other of the previous books, Pfeffer establishes a direct rapport with his reader and seems to be saying, in effect, "Over the years, I've learned a great deal about power will now share with you what I hope you will find most interesting and, more to the point, most useful." In the Introduction, for example, he suggests that having power is related to living a longer and healthier life, that power and the visibility and stature that accompany can produce wealth, and that power is part of leadership and necessary to get things done, whatever the nature and extent of the given objectives may be. "Power is desirable to many, albeit not all, people, for what it can provide and also a goal in and of itself."

Although Pfeffer does not invoke the core metaphor from Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" in The Republic, I think it is especially relevant to the various misconceptions about power that Pfeffer refutes. The situation in Plato's allegory is that people are located in a darkened cave watching shadows dance on a wall. (The source of light is outside the cave.) They think they are watching ultimate realities. Rather, what they observe are images, yes, but also distortions. The same is true of the "just world hypothesis" that the world is predictable, comprehensible, and therefore potentially controllable. Worse yet, it implies that "people get what they deserve; that is, that the good people are likely to be rewarded and the bad to be punished. Most important," Pfeffer adds, "the phenomenon works in reverse: if someone is seen to prosper, there is a social psychological tendency for observers to decide that the lucky person must have done something to deserve his good fortune."

Pfeffer insists that the world is neither just nor unjust: it is. He also challenges "leadership literature" (including his contributions to it) because celebrity CEOs who tout their own careers as models tend to "gloss over power plays they actually used to get to the top" whereas authors such as Pfeffer offer "prescriptions about how people [begin italics] wish [end italics] the world and the powerful behaved." Pfeffer also suggests that those aspiring to power "are often their own worst enemy, and not just in the arena of building power" because of self-handicapping, a reluctance (perhaps even a refusal) to take initiatives that may fail and thereby diminish one's self-image. "I have come to believe that the biggest single effect I can have is to get people to [begin italics] try to become powerful." Pfeffer wrote this book as an operations manual for the acquisition and retention of power. Of even greater importance, in my opinion, he reveals the ultimate realities of what power is...and isn't...and thereby eliminates the shadows of illusion and self-deception that most people now observe in the "caves" of their current circumstances.

Here are a few of Pfeffer's key points that caught my eye, (albeit out of context):

In the workplace, "as long as you keep your boss or bosses happy, performance really does not matter that much and, by contrast, if you upset them, performance won't save you." (Page 21)

"Asking for help is something people often avoid. First of all, it's inconsistent with the American emphasis on self-reliance. Second, people are afraid of rejection because of what getting g turned down might do to their self-esteem. Third, requests for help are based on their likelihood of being granted." (Page78)

"Power and influence [within social networks] come not just from the extensiveness of your network and the status of its members, but also from your structural position within that network. Centrality matters. Research shows that centrality within both advice and friendship networks produces many benefits, including access to information, positive performance ratings, and higher pay." (Page 119)

"Not only are reputations and first impressions formed quickly, but they are durable. Research has identified several processes that account for the persistence of initial reputations or, phrased differently, the importance of the order in which information is presented. All three processes are plausible. We don't need to know which is operating to worry about making a good first impression." (Pages 150-151)

Note: The three processes are attention decrement, cognitive discounting, and a version of the self-fulfilling prophecy, joined by a fourth (biased assimilation), all of which Pfeffer explains on Pages 151-153.

"Michael Marmot's study of 18,000 British civil servants - all people working in office jobs - in the same society - uncovered that people at the bottom of the hierarchy had [begin italics] four times [end italics] the risk of death as those at the top. [Check out Marmot's The Status Syndrome: How Social Standing Affects Our Health, published by Times Books.] Controlling for risk factors such as smoking or obesity did not make the social gradient in health disappear, nor did statistically controlling for longevity of one's parents. As Marmot concludes, `Social circumstances in life predict health.' So seek power as if your life depends on it. Because it does." (Page 236)

Much of great value has been written about how to establish and then sustain a "healthy" organization. The fact remains, that cannot be achieved without enough people who possess sufficient power. In my opinion, Jeffrey Pfeffer is determined (obsessed?) to increase the number of such people, one reader at a time. Hopefully those who read this book will help others to acquire the power they need to be successful, influential, and most important of all healthy.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Power - Jeffrey Pfeffer (HarperBusiness) 1. Oktober 2010
Von BlogOnBooks - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Want to get a good job? Want to move up the corporate ladder? What are the tools you are going to need?

A good education? Hard work and smarts? Being well liked?

Not so much, at least according to Jeffrey Pfeffer, a Stanford Business School professor and author of numerous books on this and related subjects. No, despite popular notions and the usual urban myths, Pfeffer contends that the path to power is significantly different than the popular notions we were raised to believe.

In "Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don't," Pfeffer sets out example after example of just how poorly served executives are by using the above listed methods and instead take a more aggressive approach to the utilization of tools like building relationships (always appear to be supporting your boss), networking, self-promotion (in healthy doses, but not too much), organizational visibility, control of information as well as the usual power profile advice on initial impressions, speech, posture, etc.

Pfeffer uses numerous examples - from the top of the corporate ladder (former GE boss, Jack Welch, of course, but also Bill Clinton, a former chairperson of Time, Inc, Ollie North and others) to those just getting started (including new recruits and interns) to illustrate what works and what doesn't in stark, cold terms. While Pfeffer admits that his techniques may not be for everyone or may make some squeamish, he recommends you try them anyway and keep your fears to yourself as you work your way up the corporate ladder, preferably quickly.

The only disappointment here is perhaps in the labeling. While a title as generic as "Power" might be perceived to be a tome on personal title, it seems most of Pfeffer's teachings are strictly related to the type of hierarchical ladders of the corporate workplace. If you're looking for something more relating to personal power or even entrepreneurial power, this may not be the book for you.

Check out this Q&A with author Jeffrey Pfeffer.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Required Reading 20. September 2010
Von stephen hallam - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I just finished reading Jeffrey Pfeffer's POWER and tomorrow it will become required reading for all my MBA students. Pfeffer has spent his career researching and writing about power and this is his best work yet. You don't have to be an academic to understand, appreciate and use what Pfeffer has learned about power, but, if you are an academic, you will appreciate how he has backed up all his advice with good data. Anyone planning a career in management needs to understand power--how to get it, use it, keep it, and, when the time is right, give it up gracefully. This book shows you how. My only criticism is that I would have liked to have seen a chapter on using power ethically. With all the business scandals of late, it wouldn't hurt to remind readers not to abuse others with the power you acquire. Power, like money, it neither good or bad; it all depends on what you do with it. Using power to get into a position where you can make a positive difference and applying that power to implement needed change can be done ethically but Pfeffer fails to address that fact. However, this book is the best I've seen at helping others understand the facts about power. If you want to make a difference in practically any walk of life, this book is a must read.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Should you seek this power surge? 17. Dezember 2010
Von bronx book nerd - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
As I read through this book I started to develop misgivings. While at first it felt to me like a reality-check and collection of good advice to achieve power in the work place, as I read along I started to question a few things: First: why go after power? Why not strive for something like influence instead? Second, I began to feel that in this power game other individuals are only a means to an end, and that in itself is not good. Finally, as the author went along, I began to get a sense that this striving for power comes along with many if not great costs. Indeed, one of his last chapters is a summary of the costs.

There is also a kind of implicit elitism in the book. Those who strive for power are the good warriors in the battle of the boardrooms; everyone else is just supporting cast and extras. There is unstated demeaning of the average worker who is not up to the glorious battles for power. What about those who are genuinely happy doing whatever it is they do, even if it doesn't come with a golden parachute attached?

I do see the value of Pffefer's realism: hard work and performance alone do not guarantee success, either monetarily or in promotions. This is a hard fact to accept when you are raised privately and socialized publically to believe it is so. Politics, gamesmanship, schmoozing, control, access, etc, play a key role in whether and how far you advance. If you choose the path to power to ensure your success, however, you will need to do two things: first, determine whether you are willing to bear the costs; and, second, decide whether you are ethically comfortable with using individuals as a means to an end. Good luck, either way.
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