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The Five Temptations of a CEO: A Leadership Fable
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The Five Temptations of a CEO: A Leadership Fable

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  4,035 ratings  ·  182 reviews
Lencioni delivers a provocative message. CEOs mainly have themselves to blame when things go wrong. If you're a CEO (or a manager for that matter), do you have the courage to face it? Doing so could change your future -- for the better.
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published September 28th 1998 by Jossey-Bass (first published 1998)
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K.D. Absolutely
Don't be misled by the title. Even if you are just a manager, supervisor, team lead or even a parent, that makes you a leader and you can learn a thing or two about your role in your team.

The book is told via a fable. It tells the story of Andrew a first-time CEO who on the eve of this first presentation to the board found himself sharing a coach with Charlie in a midnight train on his way back home from his office. During their conversation they were joined by 3 more people who attested to the
Farnoosh Brock
Apr 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business-spirit
What is it like to be a CEO of a company? I have wondered about this question for as long as I have dreamt to be in the position of a Chief Executive someday, somehow, somewhere. But since reading this book years ago, I gave all that up to go start my own company ....

Now, about this book: Having thoroughly enjoyed Lencioni's fable in “Five Dysfunctions of a Team”, I delved into this fable with the same anticipation.

Lencioni writes well – short and sweet – I finished this one on the treadmill! T
Aug 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-help
Love everything Lencioni writes. Here is a quick summary in case you don't want to read a whole book lol
Temptation #1 – Status over Results
Unsuccessful CEO's focus on preserving their status within the organization, instead of on delivering performance and results. Watching a leader protect his turf at the expense of company performance is not uncommon, and is often evident following a promotion.
Temptation #2 – Popularity over Accountability
Unsuccessful CEO's do not hold "direct reports" accoun
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a quick, digestible business book to read. I liked that it was set in a fable, it was a creative and fun way to present the information and make it not dry. It is information you can use at any level of the corporate ladder or if you have your own business. The principles can always be applied to help yourself maintain your goals, yet communicate clearly with those around you. I enjoyed it and found great nuggets of value in it.
Aug 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book - quick read. Suits those who want to get better at leading a team
Very enjoyable. But a bit scary. Cause we all suffer from those temptations from time to time, and it's hard to get away or overcome them, in order to bring out the best in ourselves and the teams we work with, to make things that matter and help people.
Shaeley Santiago
Mar 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
On a late night subway ride home, a CEO meets a mysterious mentor who introduces him to some leaders he should know. Can he learn their lessons in time, or is it too late for him?
Tõnu Vahtra
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While having read quite a few books by Lencioni already („Five Dysfunctions of a Team“; „Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team“; „The Advantage“; „The Truth about Employee Engagement), this book starts to repeat the core concepts a bit. But as it precedes the other books then the angle of the presented information is different and I could still find good insights and new perspectives from it. I could even understood better how the author developed the ideas that he later presented in 5 dysf ...more
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The title of this book limits you realising the benefit to every leadership role.

Once again Patrick Lencioni delivers a brilliant book about leadership. The brilliance of Patrick is not just in the way he delivers his great books as a fable; but the way he is willing to use words that at first glance appear challenging and even somewhat controversial.

In this great book Patrick explores the 5 areas, or temptations, that impact every role who is a leader. Essentially covering,
- "status over result
Gunther Sotomayor
Apr 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
In summary: The 3rd part, which is the shortest part of the book, is the one that really gives value to the book and provides a summary of the book's presentation, as well as self-diagnosis and reflection tools.

For the rest of the book ... it is short, less than 150 pages, but it reminds me a lot of the product/service offers that many managers receive: pages and pages explaining the benefits of the product/service and only on the last pages is it what is important for decision making; the autho
Jason Carter
Aug 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: leadership, business
This is one of Lencioni's earlier books, though one to which I came to late. It follows the pattern of each of the rest of his books, in that his key points are presented in the form of a business fable, with the fable explained by a model in the latter portion of the book.

The fable portion, especially, in this book is kinda cheesy. And because I've read several of his later books, there were few surprises in his main message. That message is that CEOs fail because they are susceptible to five s
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a quick read and a handy book for any CEO or budding CEO, manager, supervisor, etc. It cuts to the chase using a fable about a CEO, the read is a day, maybe less, quicker readers might find it is a lunch hour book.

And while it is short, it is definitely a book for keeping your head straight and focused where it comes to mentoring your directs.

I wrote down my notes in a management book I am creating for myself when on the job - it amounts to little things that matter in terms of profess
James Adams
Sep 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
As management books go, it makes a pleasant change to experience leadership coaching via Lencioni's fable story-telling.

Short and sweet, this book nails it's message - that most CEO's, will be tempted by at least 1 of 5 typical behavioural flaws that, if left unchecked, can eventually contribute to the downfall of a company.

My sole criticism is more a cultural one than anything else - of the CEO's that our protagonist meets on his journey home, all are male. I recognise that one of the members o
Dennis Cuffel
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this a number of year ago and I am just now adding to Goodreads. The summary is still relevant today. How do you overcome the Temptations...

Temptation #1: Status
Strategy for Overcoming: Focus on results
Temptation #2: Popularity
Strategy for Overcoming: Hold people accountable
Temptation #3: Certainty
Strategy for Overcoming: Provide clarity
Temptation #4: Harmony
Strategy for Overcoming: Establish productive conflict
Temptation #5: Invulnerability
Strategy for Overcoming: Build trust
Liang Gang Yu
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Five Temptations of a CEO is a short read with a lot of value. The author fills an engaging story with leadership lessons that any leader can learn from. This book is simple and to the point but doesn't lack substance. I found this to be a really refreshing read and couldn't put it down. I think it becomes easy for anyone in a leadership role to lose sight of what's most important. However, recognizing the five temptations Mr. Lencioni has outlined will be helpful for not falling into that t ...more
Chris Miller
Mar 29, 2020 rated it liked it
There was good information in this book that any leader wanting to improve themselves could learn from and apply. The story was a little corny, but it wasn't a dry, factual read. I would have liked some specific examples or approaches to avoid for each of the temptations, just to add a little more depth. This was a quick read, and I think some more info would have been beneficial.

I would recommend this book to any leader wanting to improve themselves, as I think everyone has succumbed to at leas
Jordan Dailey
Aug 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Maybe it’s because I’m not a CEO, maybe it’s because Getting Naked told a better fable, or maybe it’s because I enjoy Lencioni so much and yet this one just missed that little something I’ve come to appreciate in his other works.

In the end I can agree with all 5 temptations and I do love that temptation 5 holds such a place in my heart and life.

I would love to give it 5 stars, but 4 stars is all I can recommend for this quaint little tale about how to become the leader you have always wanted t
Brent Strandy
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Five Temptations is a fantastic read. This book applies not only to CEOs, but to anyone leading a team or anyone with aspirations of leading a team. The fable is engaging, simple to follow and took only two hours to read. The tangible actions Lincioni provides for avoiding the five temptations are easy to understand yet difficult to execute.

In the end, this book provides an amazing roadmap for any leader and I highly recommend spending the 2 hours to read it.
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
A book to re-read every year. Helps to keep your feet on the fire as a manager. Deals with the most common problems managers face on a regular basis. And tells the story in an easy to read fable. Should be on every the reading list of every manager and business. Hat tip to Shannon Byrne-Susko and her book the Metronome Effect.
Jordan Silva
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
A really short listen compared to a lot of other books, but worthwhile. The storyline of the fable was a bit goofy (very a Christmas Carol) but at least it was entertaining and a funny plot twist at the end deliver a decent message.

It's a book I would have actually wanted more of, so I guess that is a recommendation.
Max Cojevnicov
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book, I would compare it with a refreshing shower in the desert.
It refreshed my mind and helped me see the real dangers of a CEO in his relationships with others and also in his view of himself.
So grateful to the author for his sincerity, creativity and above all for his strong faith in God that he is unashamed of.
Feb 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some useful advice

Not as timeless or believable as 5 dysfunctions of a team. Some good things to think about, and the self assessment was helpful at the end. Otherwise, the story was not too compelling or believable, and felt more just like a way to get the 5 temptations out there in a "different" way.
Michael Wolcott
Super quick read that lays a decent foundation about self-realization necessary in business. The fable is a little more fictional and less factual than his other stories, which was different. Definitely had many parallels to 5 dysfunctions, which may be more helpful in providing useful strategies. There was not much that was offered in terms of helping people change just providing the awareness.
Mahdi Farahikia
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I found this book an interesting and quick-read summary of the several books I have read on the subject of leadership. The style of this book written as a fable that takes the reader through the journey of a typical CEO is what I liked about reading it as well as a quick refresher of the items I have learned from reading other books in this area.
Chuck Cova
Nov 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pers-prof-dev
Read this years ago. Didn't really remember it, but must have thought enough of it to keep it around. Just finished reading The Motive last week and this felt like the perfect add-on to that - I think I was right. Both deal with a number of the same issues, with different perspectives and nuance. Either is a great read, together they seem to provide a new depth of insight.
Jayakrishnan S
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Don't be misled by the title. The five temptations enumerated are as much applicable to any executive as they are to a CEO (and for that matter, even individual contributors!). An insightful read for those who haven't read "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team".
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An easy read - simple concepts presented in an easy-to-digest fable - like medicine, but difficult to swallow if you are not prepared to fix what is going wrong. Lencioni’s concepts delve into the the heart of issues facing many teams and organizations today.
Bala Siva
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic read!

Simple and powerful concept on why CEOs fail and told in an engaging parable, reinforced by model and self assessment tool. I will recommend it to any one wanting learn and improve their leadership skills.
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a simple and easily understood book about what five characteristics are required to be a good CEO. Some of those same characteristics can be applied for managers.

It's told in a simple story form which is easy to understand.
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Patrick Lencioni is a New York Times best-selling author, speaker, consultant and founder and president of The Table Group, a firm dedicated to helping organizations become healthy. Lencioni’s ideas around leadership, teamwork and employee engagement have impacted organizations around the globe. His books have sold nearly three million copies worldwide.

When Lencioni is not writing, he consults to

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From independent presses, to tales in translation, to critical darlings and new debut novels, these books (all published in the U.S. this year)...
20 likes · 3 comments
“Wanting to be popular with your direct reports instead of holding them accountable.” 0 likes
“The most important principle that an executive must embrace is a desire to produce results. As obvious as this sounds, it is not universally practiced by the highest-ranking executives in many companies. Many CEOs put something ahead of results on their list of priorities, and it represents the most dangerous of all the temptations: the desire to protect the status of their careers.” 0 likes
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