Geeks & Geezers: How Era, Values, and Defining Moments Shape Leaders

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Harvard Business Press, 2002 - Business & Economics - 224 pages
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Today's young leaders grew up in the glow of television and computers; the leaders of their grandparents' generation in the shadow of the Depression and World War II. In a groundbreaking study of these two disparate groups-affectionately labeled "geeks" and "geezers"-legendary leadership expert Warren Bennis and leadership consultant Robert Thomas set out to find out how era and values shape those who lead. What they discovered was something far more profound: the powerful process through which leaders of any era emerge.Geeks and Geezers is a book that will forever change how we view not just leadership-but the very way we learn and ultimately live our lives. It presents for the first time a compelling new model that predicts who is likely to become-and remain-a leader, and why. At the heart of this model are what the authors call "crucibles"-utterly transforming periods of testing from which one can emerge either hopelessly broken, or powerfully emboldened to learn and to lead. Whether losing an election or burying a child, learning from a mentor or mastering a martial art, crucibles are turning points: defining events that force us to decide who we are and what we are capable of. Through the candid and often deeply moving crucibles of pioneering journalist Mike Wallace to new economy entrepreneur Michael Klein, from New York Stock Exchange trailblazer Muriel Siebert to environmental crusader Tara Church, Geeks and Geezers illustrates the stunning metamorphoses of true leaders. It also reveals the critical traits they share, including adaptability, vision, integrity, unquenchable optimism, and "neoteny"-a youthful curiosity and zest for knowledge. Highlighting the forces that enable any of us to learn and lead not for a time, but for a lifetime, this book is essential reading for geeks, geezers, and everyone in between.AUTHORBIO: Warren Bennis is Professor and Founding Chairman of The Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California, and the author of over thirty visionary books on leadership. Robert J. Thomas is an Associate Partner and Senior Fellow with the Accenture Institute for Strategic Change and award-winning author of What Machines Can't Do.
 

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Contents

Leading ana Learning for a Lifetime
3
The Era of Limits
23
THREE
60
FOUR
75
Tne Alchemy or Leadership
121
x
150
A Passion ror the Promises or Lire
157
APPENDIX
183
APPENDIX
199
Index
209
ALout the Authors
223
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Page 208 - If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away.

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About the author (2002)

Warren G. Bennis is Professor and Founding Chairman of The Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California.

Robert J. Thomas is an Associate Partner and Senior Fellow with the Accenture Institute for Strategic Change.

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