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The End of Leadership

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  140 ratings  ·  23 reviews
From one of the pioneers in the field of leadership studies comes a provocative reassessment of how people lead in the digital age: in The End of Leadership, Barbara Kellerman reveals a new way of thinking about leadershipand followershipin the twenty-first century. Building off of the strengths and insights of her work as a scholar and a teacher, Kellerman critically ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 3rd 2012 by Harper Business
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Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Around two-quarters of the book recounts the last several decades of history; it was repetitive and a bore. But it's fascinating to have a "leadership industry" insider, who has cranked out so many books on leadership over the years, to take her own industry to task.

In some ways, the book was ahead of its time; much of what she wrote in 2012 on the importance of "followership" over "leadership" in the 21st century rings true. Certainly some of this we see in our politics and across the pond
Kislay Verma
Sep 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
I actually wanted to rate this 3.5.

This book is worth reading for its third section which critiques the "Leadership Industry". Apart from that, the merit of "The End of Leadership" lies in the frank admission by the author that something is wrong with her chosen profession. Now if only this moral stand translates to real world action, we might just get somewhere.

Some excerpts from my complete review at SolomonSays:

...The essence of the problem, as the author sees it, is this. While powerful
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very interesting and engaging book that paints in broad strokes the history of the changing status, relationships, and balance of power, authority, and influence between leaders and followers, particularly as it has changed in the last 40-50 years from the 1960s until the publishing of the book in 2012. There is a focus on both politics and business in the United States, although there is one chapter that talks about international trends as well. It talks a lot about trends in increasing ...more
Dec 30, 2016 rated it liked it
A decent book with a different take on leadership in the present times. It is 75% historical, about the trajectory of leadership and followership, so leaves little room for truly groundbreaking exposition. It is more diagnostic than prescriptive; the author in fact explicitly abdicates responsibility for making an "obligatory prescription" for leadership in the 2010s. There are some useful tidbits to file away, but overall the book is nothing outstanding. The title itself also misleads the final ...more
Aug 26, 2019 rated it liked it
I have to admit I had trouble following the author's premise as the book started but by Part III I could not put the book down. The title catches the eye but really it is about the diffusion of leadership so that power does not reside in one person; rather we are in an age of consensus building. The cult of the personality is over.
Oct 16, 2018 rated it liked it
I found the historical reporting of the notion of leadership most interesting. The things we take for granted today, of having rights and of followers watching and critiquing leaders, is a recent development. That was something I hadn't really thought about before.
Bo White
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Kellerman always says some things that need to be said.
Mark Valentine
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Unlike Neil Postman's book, The End of Education, where the meaning behind "the end" lies in defining Education's purpose, Barbara Kellerman's book, The End of Leadership, really does warn that Leadership Studies may be entering obsolescence. The inflated popularity of books with "leader" or "leadership" in the titles reflects Kellerman's thesis: Since leadership can be taught, thus, everyone is a potential leader, and thus (like T-Ball where everyone gets a hit) everyone can participate, ...more
Josh Bersin
Jun 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting and educational.

I've studied leadership development for years and this was a great book.

The book makes a good case for a new model of leadership and the need for better followers but as it progressed I felt it became a little political. Clearly the old leadership models don't work and Barbara makes a wonderful historic case for followership and a new type of leader.

In my experience strong leadership is context dependent and leaders of all types succeed under different
Matthew Laing
Feb 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: leadership
Decent insights and a fairly rigorous and damning indictment of the leadership production line of recent decades, though at times shrill and fairly contextually myopic with its analysis of the current trends in leader-follower dynamics and societal change vis-a-vis those dynamics. Good recommendations for the industry as a whole, and many excellent examples and anecdotes. Focus of analysis could be better, as could the structure and rigour of the opening chapters.
Jan 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
Interesting and thought provoking review of leadership. Puts forth the idea that we emphasize training leaders rather than followers and what that means in the political and corporate world. Also highly critical of leadership development programs in business schools and in business as over-focused on short term goals and outlook. Worthwhile reading.
Stuart Hatcher
Feb 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Interesting read but not sure I learnt anything other than the author wants to challenge what she has been teaching all these years. Main take away is that leaders have to have regard to their followers to be successful
Theodore Kinni
Jan 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Kellerman, the founding executive director of the Kennedy School's Center for Public Leadership, traces the changing nature of leadership through history and raises troubling questions about the industry that purports to teach it.
Dawn Weber
Jan 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Interesting ideas but it could have been half as long. Very repetitive and I kept thinking "I KNOW! You keep saying that!"
Pat Gibson
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent analysis and worth reading for anyone interested in management.
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book summarizes leadership trends throughout history. It's a good look at how the world has changed.
May 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: leadership
I almost gave this 4 stars. I'd like to read her book on followership. Thought provoking.
Oct 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent review of leadership industry and the problems facing leaders.
Sep 30, 2014 rated it liked it
This is a well-researched book about the threats to real leadership in the 21st century and a good follow-up to Kellerman's book earlier book, Leadership.
Mills College Library
303.34 K2935 2012
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Dec 02, 2017 added it
Extremely valuable book for me. Brought a lot of clarity. The last 50 of the 200 pages are the most valuable. Much of the first 150 can be skimmed. She orients the reader to the literature and the landscape of leadership and then goes on to offer (what I think are) spot-on critiques, that practically set up the crying need for the further integration of faith and leadership theory and practice. I highly recommend it.
Brian Weisz
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Aug 31, 2012
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Jul 21, 2012
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Jun 15, 2014
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Doug Gray
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Nov 10, 2019
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