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Dave Logan
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Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,100 Ratings  ·  223 Reviews
It’s a fact of life: birds flock, fish school, people “tribe.” Malcolm Gladwell and other authors have written about how the fact that humans are genetically programmed to form “tribes” of 20-150 people has proven true throughout our species’ history. Every company in the word consists of an interconnected network of tribes (A tribe is defined as a group of between 20 and ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published January 3rd 2012 by HarperBusiness (first published 2008)
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Jan 21, 2015 Marcus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would have never read this book had it not been for the free audio version I found through I was't looking for yet another business book, much less a management book, but this one really surprised me and hit me hard. The book in a nutshell talks about 5 stages that organizations and the members of organizations go through:

1 - Life sucks.
2 - My life sucks (but maybe there's something better).
3 - I'm in it for me.
4 - We're in it as a group with a core set of values; there is a higher
Jennifer (aka EM)
Read for work. This is a low star-stage 3 (if anyone reads this, you'll find that hilarious, trust me). It was surprisingly tolerable given my intolerance for a) non-fiction; b) books written by MBAs; c)pseudo-scientific self-help manuals. It avoided for the most part a's tendency toward repetitiveness (although it was definitely filled with beating-a-dead-horse, jargony prose, and I think the copy-editor must have nodded off in the last third); b's insufferable superficiality and barely-below-t ...more
Jurgen Appelo
Feb 03, 2013 Jurgen Appelo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Important book with many great stories, but suffers from too much hyperbole and model-building.
May 09, 2013 Chantie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting take on social interaction and relationships. While the focus was more professional related, like does tend to self-select. The premise is there are five stages that people exist within, and they are as follows:

1. Life suck (this is the person that goes postal)
2. My life sucks (this is the person that sees everyone keeping them down)
3. I'm wonderful (I'm so wonderful - the ME culture)
4. We're great (cooperative for better of group)
5. Life is great (group works for the better of th
Jul 21, 2015 Erika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While I'm not a manager, nor do I foresee a career in becoming a "tribal leader coach" anytime soon, if you're a leader of any group of people, you may find this book useful. You'll find it especially useful if you already recognise the power of a tribe or have the need to leverage a groups' already existing talents.

I picked up this book because I teach middle school, a natural environment for tribes and cliques, and figured I might gain insight into how to manage their day-to-day. Instead, I ga
Jun 15, 2011 Jay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book reminds me of Jim Collins book Good to Great in that both are presenting findings from lengthy research studies. While Collins book talked more about their underlying methodology, Tribal Leadership shows five cultural levels and describes the transition from one to the next. Briefly, the five statges are:

1. Life sucks
2. My life sucks
3. I'm great
4. We're great
5. Life is great

As tribes (groups of 20 to 150 people) improve culturally through the five levels, vallues change and a noble ca
Erika RS
I want to give this book 5 stars on content and 2 stars on presentation. Every time I worked on reading this book, I got something valuable out of it. Oftentimes, something I could apply that very day. But the whole time I read it, I was vaguely bored.

I think that this is because, while the content is valuable, the book itself is quite repetitive. I feel it could have been half the length (or even less) and contained all of the same content. And a good fraction of that reduction could have come
Oct 21, 2015 Graham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Graham by: Mike Cannon-Brookes, via Jost Stollmann
So, the story goes that our CEO, Jost Stollmann, asked Mike Cannon-Brookes, co-founder & co-CEO of Atlassian and one of Tyro’s board members, something along the lines of…
“If you had to recommend just one book to your leadership team, what would you choose?”

And Mike recommended: Tribal Leadership. I think I can see why.

What’s the book about?

The book is about the results of ten years of research by the authors and how they found that people in organisations form tribes; that each tribe has a
Ali Sohani
Jan 11, 2011 Ali Sohani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership
An excellent book on a leadership, draws heavily from a research, the 5 stages for cultural transformation:

Stage 1 - "Life Sucks" - pathological, gang-like, angry.
Stage 2 - "My Life Sucks" - a mix of learned helplessness, bitterness.
Stage 3 - "I'm Great" (and you're not) - Productive and dynamic but egocentric.
Stage 4 - "We're Great" (and they're not) - tribe-oriented, creative, productive, tight.
Stage 5 - "Life Is Great" - Big-picture, tribe-connecting.

"Change the language in the tribe, and you
John Norman
Read this if you have great performers in your company who think they're great, but also secrretly think others are not great . . . Such a company needs to evolve to understand how everyone in the "tribe" can say: "We're great."

The basic message here is compelling, but it is so involved in dubious philosophical / psychological claims about human development, I just can't give the book a very high rating.

Like a lot of self-help books, the rhetorical strategy starts from the assumption that you ar
Logan states that there are 5 stages when comes to tribes and how people define themselves and their contribution to life:
1. Life / everyone sucks
2. My life sucks
3. I'm great, and you're not and I have the means to prove it to you
4. We're great
5. Everything is great - our goal is global.

What captures the attention the most is the epiphany of an authentic tribal leader, which is the central theme of this book is that you are only as smart and capable as your tribe, and that by upgrading your tri
Sep 14, 2015 Quinn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think the more I read the less each book makes an impact on my life. This is one of those books that if I had just started reading business books it probably would have got a 5 out of 5 and had me getting extra copies for each bathroom. I felt like what was suppose to be a broad expanse of interviews and careful peering behind different corporate curtains by the authors ended up being a recount of handful of experiences that fit their mold. Although it was a quick read I found it a little long ...more
Oct 25, 2011 Angelique rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really liked this book. Unlike a lot of leadership books that tell you what a good leader "looks like", this book tells you how to grow them. It does a great job of explaining the development cycle a person must go through to get to "Stage 4" which is considered a "Tribal Leader". The emphasis placed on relationships was powerful as well.

It got 4 stars instead of 5 stars because at times it was confusing as to whether the authors meant to be referencing the leader or the "tribe" when they were t
Dionysis Doul
Jul 20, 2016 Dionysis Doul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An eye-opening book about what are the different stages in company cultures, and what could make them succeed really big things. The majority of them operate in a "stage three" culture, where everyone operates for themselves, with a "i'm great (but you're not)" mentality. Whereas, a "stage four" tribe operates with a "we're great" mentality, but the ultimate goal is a "stage five" tribe, where the mentality is "life is great".
I believe that the principles of the book apply to life in general.
Mar 24, 2015 Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually read books about organizational or "work culture" but this was a book I needed to read now. It was part manual, part autobiography. The book explains the different types of workers; and illuminates how their attitudes are critical ( or detrimental) to workplace culture. It is an important book for anybody working in a team of people to understand how the group attitude effects the outcome of the product or service.
Jun 05, 2016 Mcd0nag rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Don't even bother. I don't think I've ever read a book that tried to present supposedly factual scientific findings with so little data to support the theories proposed. The big idea of this book? People who work as a team with a common goal will outperform groups where everyone is out for themselves. I got that same message, in a much more enjoyable format, from watching Star Trek.

The authors have basically strung together some anecdotal conversations with people whom they have labeled as star
Hope Harris-Gayles
I'm listened to this as audiobook (free download from, and I really enjoyed it. As a budding leader, the book brought some behaviors to my attention that I will need to work on and improve so I can reach my full potential. I'm easily bored with audiobooks (mind wandering, etc) so its a true testament to Tribal Leadership that those didn't happen (or at least happened minimally). Recommended for leaders and leaders to be.
Carlos Ramos
Jan 23, 2016 Carlos Ramos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I begin to wonder, why does every book about leadership and development always converge to the same conclusion? Multipliers, Give and Take, To Sell Is Human, Good To Great, and now Tribal Leadership.

Although the method and the metric used is different, all seems to lead to the same: human relationships, listen to other people, and have a belief that it can be done. The different in this book is the next: use beautiful words, and use "we".

Of course, with other words, but basically its the conclus
BAYA Librarian
Logan, Fischer, and Wright have compiled a narrative of their observations within many organizations as they tried to help those organizations improve. They have divided organizational cultures into five levels of efficiency with most organizations falling somewhere in the middle. They describe the characteristics of people and organizational cultures at each stage, and offer suggestions on how to encourage people to move from one stage towards the next.

This book is helpful in describing things
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization by Dave Logan was chosen by Soundview Executive Book Summaries as one of the Top 30 Business Books of 2013.


Companies have been trying to organize more effective work teams for decades. Whether they’ve realized it or not, the highest-performing organizations have taken a different approach. According to researchers Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fischer-Wright, there are naturally occurring groups
Aug 16, 2015 Raman rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part I of the book was difficult to read....the flow just wasn't there. Things got a bit better in Part II and, to me, Part III was the strongest, with the "prescriptive" part (up to that point, much of the discussion was concepts and case studies). And then I was surprised that the last Part was on stage 5 leadership, which I wish was in Part II, where the other 4 stages were presented.

Also, it would have been effective to use case studies of companies that are commonly known and were studied b
Dan Graham
Jan 03, 2011 Dan Graham rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
There are some good parts to this book but overall it makes a bunch of claims that seem a bit made up to me. It puts business folks into 5 categories of development and asserts that certain traits are better than others without any data to back it up.
Uttam Kini
Oct 21, 2013 Uttam Kini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: management-gyan
A great book that changes the way you look at teams and people. Whenever I see people now, I go, there's a typical stage 3 trying to sell himself, this guy is a stage 4 leader putting the team before himself. It will keep you interested till the very end.
Jun 27, 2015 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While this book has its virtues as a leadership guide, its literary flaws weaken the experience. From the beginning I was intrigued by the interdisciplinary, synthesis effort that the authors embraced as their goal. Their focus on culture and linguistics purported to shed light on the external elements of corporate success - a welcome change from the usual, internal-centric mantra of most business books. Unfortunately, my interest waned as the authors drifted further from the quasi-scientific co ...more
Sebastiaan Bekker
Aug 07, 2015 Sebastiaan Bekker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

To get the best working tribe, you have to assess the current state, nudge it to the next level and work to keep it there.

The book feels similar to Reinventing organisations (indeed there is a reference between the colors and stages somewhere in the book). It feels, however, less worked out as a model and more definitive as an advise (the next stage is always better in this book as opposed to Laloux' relativism that every colour has it advantages).

Sometimes, also, the focus on becoming the tri
Dec 01, 2012 Jan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book. I definetly need to reread or rehear it to come up with a meaningful review...
Sarah Young
May 19, 2014 Sarah Young rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership
Highly recommend this book for anyone working with or leading teams within an organization. I found Dave's descriptions of the different levels to be spot on.

I also appreciate the way it offers different approaches for working with teams at the different levels - for example, we must approach working with or on a team at Level 2 much differently than we would approach a team that is already at level 4.

As a side note, if you ever have the opportunity to hear Dave speak live, I highly recommend do
Jun 29, 2015 Robert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A business book. Instead of 10 things you can do to get ahead, it's a description of healthy organizations that include healthy sub-organizations, named tribes by these authors. These super healthy organizations get a lot more done, whether they are commercial, academic, NGO or whatever. The problem is that the book is mostly descriptive rather than prescriptive. Honestly, read another book. It's better than most business books, because every chapter is different; not the usual repeat of the fir ...more
Cheryl Anne
I had to read this book as part of my progression plan for promotion. I initially balked at the concepts, especially as they talk about the bottom three types of tribes and you start to identify at least some parts of your behavior with them.

Work your way through the book; the last chapter is inspiring. I think we've all seen or been a part of at least a few transcendental stage 5 moments, and the way they describe how these can transform, not only your life, but really the world, is very motiv
Kris Padget
May 04, 2016 Kris Padget rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: girlboss-reading
I read Tribal Leadership as a book study with a collection of my coworkers. Working at a business with a very employee-centric culture, we were eager to learn some new skills about leadership and find ideas for making our company more successful & a better place to work. We had a resoundingly positive experience reading & putting into practice the principles outlined in Tribal Leadership.

As with any advice-driven book you can't take Tribal Leadership too seriously. You should never take
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“Change the language in the tribe, and you have changed the tribe itself.” 5 likes
“Without the leaders building the tribe, a culture of mediocrity will prevail. Without an inspired tribe, leaders are impotent.” 2 likes
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