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

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  93 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
"Our youngest leaders matured in the glow of computer screens; our oldest in the shadow of the Depression and World War II. In a groundbreaking study of these two disparate groups - affectionately labeled "geeks" and "geezers" - leadership experts Warren G. Bennis and Robert J. Thomas set out to find how era and values shape those who lead. What they discovered was somethi ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 9th 2002 by Harvard Business Review Press (first published August 8th 2002)
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Sam
Jun 29, 2015 Sam rated it liked it
Manacled in the zeitgeist, are we all condemned to the dictates of our age, or are we suppose to influence the age? While I ponder on this egg-and-chicken situation, its interesting to know that the same crucibles that produced great leaders also 'burnt' others to irrelevance.
The Geek vs Geezer debate is an eye-opener. While the Geezer generation had heroes who inspired and/or modelled them, Geeks on the other hand have pop-culture produced celebrities supplying this essential leader developmen
...more
PeterBlackCoach
Fascinating book on the differences and similarities in leaders of different generations and what were there respective "crucibles" of leadership. Whilst written in 2002, still very relevant today. I particularly liked the concept of neoteny and how it applies to mature aged workers
Steve
Feb 15, 2015 Steve rated it it was amazing
This is the book that I wish I had read three years ago, before I started working on LEADING THE WAY UP MOUNT OLYMPUS. Bennis and Thomas collected interview data about the differences in leadership attitudes. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in leadership research. I learned a lot from this book; it probably deserves to be read again within a year. Readers of Geeks and Geezers will deepen their understanding of generational differences and the leadership crucible.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Jun 17, 2008 Jenny (Reading Envy) rated it it was ok
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by: ACRL
Shelves: read08, techie
This book was mentioned during the ACRL Leading from the Middle Conference. It started out with a lot of promise - analysis of successful (and failing) leaders from the geek and geezer generations, but then devolved into chapters on what makes good leaders. What I was hoping for was tips on how geeks and geezers could relate better and combine their worldviews, rather than those opposing worldviews continuing to cause conflict, but the authors (both geezers, as far as I can tell) seemed more int ...more
David
A fun look at leaders born c.1924 vs. those born c.1973. Included looking at favorite fiction books, books of influence, heroes (or lack of), what is "balance," concerns, aspirations. It proved interesting from a sociology point-of-view, to be sure!

Can help one understand why up-coming leaders and current, end-of-career leaders often "miss" each other and assume nasty things of the others!

Yet the best of each group find themselves having to be adaptable and always wanting to be learners.

Fun read
...more
Laura
Jan 05, 2012 Laura rated it liked it
Bennis and Thomas examine the effects of era/culture on leadership, comparing leaders who came to maturity in the psot WW II era to those who attained leadership status in the 1990s/early 2000s. The study looks at both similarities and differences in expectations, vaues and style. It is useful and interesting, although a bit dated (it was published in 2002) by the post-September 11 era.
Jonathan
Mar 15, 2009 Jonathan rated it liked it
I read this recently for a class. It was lively and interesting, although it seemed a bit dated. It was published in 2002, and much of the book involved interviews with young dot-com entrepreneurs. Clearly, a lot of the research had taken place before the dot-com bust, and the authors had to cover their tracks in a few places. Nonetheless, the lessons it holds are still relevant.
Kevin
Jan 28, 2008 Kevin rated it liked it
Very interesting facts learned about the leaders of today and the leaders of the past. Basically just all facts but I recomend this book for anyone interested in going into politics or being a leader for tommorow.
Chuck
Jan 13, 2013 Chuck rated it really liked it
Could be shorter. Raised some interesting ideas on leadership. Definitely stretched my brain a bit.
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Warren Gamaliel Bennis is an American scholar, organizational consultant and author, widely regarded as a pioneer of the contemporary field of Leadership Studies. Bennis is University Professor and Distinguished Professor of Business Administration and Founding Chairman of The Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California.

“His work at MIT in the 1960s on group behavior foreshadowe
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“Neoteny is more than retaining a youthful appearance, although that is often part of it. Neoteny is the retention of all those wonderful qualities that we associate with youth: curiosity, playfulness, eagerness, fearlessness, warmth, energy. Unlike those defeated by time and age, our geezers have remained much like our geeks – open, willing to take risks, hungry for knowledge and experience, courageous, eager to see what the new day brings. Time and lost steal the zest from the unlucky, and leave them looking longingly at the past. Neoteny is a metaphor for the quality – and the gift – that keeps the fortunate of whatever age focused on all marvelous undiscovered things to come.” 5 likes
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