If you want to "change lives, change organizations, change the world," the Stanford business school’s motto, you need power.
Is power the last dirty secret or the secret to success? Both. While power carries some negative connotations, power is a tool that can be used for good or evil. Don’t blame the tool for how some people used it.
If fully understood and harnessed effectively, power skills and understanding become the keys to increasing salaries, job satisfaction, career advancement, organizational change, and, happiness. In 7 Rules of Power, Jeffrey Pfeffer, professor of organizational behavior at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, provides the insights that have made both his online and on-campus classes incredibly popular—with life-changing results often achieved in 8 or 10 weeks.
Rooted firmly in social science research, Pfeffer’s 7 rules provide a manual for increasing your ability to get things done, including increasing the positive effects of your job performance.
The 7 rules are: 1) Get out of your own way. 2) Break the rules. 3) Show up in powerful fashion. 4) Create a powerful brand. 5) Network relentlessly. 6) Use your power. 7) Understand that once you have acquired power, what you did to get it will be forgiven, forgotten, or both.
With 7 Rules of Power, you’ll learn, through both numerous examples as well as research evidence, how to accomplish change in your organization, your life, the lives of others, and the world.
Jeffrey Pfeffer is the Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University where he has taught since 1979. He is the author or co-author of thirteen books including The Human Equation: Building Profits by Putting People First; Managing with Power; The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge Into Action; Hidden Value: How Great Companies Achieve Extraordinary Results with Ordinary People; Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-Based Management; and What Were They Thinking? Unconventional Wisdom About Management, as well as more than 150 articles and book chapters. Pfeffer’s latest book, entitled Power: Why Some People Have It—And Others Don’t was published in 2010 by Harper Business.
Dr. Pfeffer received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Carnegie-Mellon University and his Ph.D. from Stanford. He began his career at the business school at the University of Illinois and then taught at the University of California, Berkeley. Pfeffer has been a visiting professor at the Harvard Business School, Singapore Management University, London Business School, Copenhagen Business School, and for the past 8 years a visitor at IESE in Barcelona.
From 2003-2007, Pfeffer wrote a monthly column, “The Human Factor,” for the 600,000-person circulation business magazine, Business 2.0 and from 2007-2010, he wrote a monthly column providing career advice for Capital, a leading business and economics magazine in Turkey. Pfeffer also was a regular blogger for the Corner Office section of BNET (CBS Interactive), and currently writes for the Harvard Business Review website, Bloomberg Business Week online, Inc., and for the “On Leadership” section of The Washington Post. Pfeffer has appeared in segments on CBS Sunday Morning, 60 Minutes, and CNBC as well as television and radio programs in Korea and Japan and has been quoted and featured in news articles from countries around the globe.
Pfeffer currently serves on the board of directors of the nonprofit Quantum Leap Healthcare. In the past he has served on the boards of Resumix, Unicru, and Workstream, all human capital software companies, Audible Magic, an internet company, SonoSite, a company designing and manufacturing portable ultrasound machines, and the San Francisco Playhouse, a non-profit theater. Pfeffer has presented seminars in 38 countries throughout the world as well as doing consulting and providing executive education for numerous companies, associations, and universities in the United States.
Jeffrey Pfeffer has won the Richard I. Irwin Award presented by the Academy of Management for scholarly contributions to management and numerous awards for his articles and books. He is listed in the top 25 management thinkers by Thinkers 50, and as one of the Most Influential HR International Thinkers by HR Magazine. In November, 2011, he was presented with an honorary doctorate degree from Tilburg University in The Netherlands.
2.5 stars rounded up. It's definitely not a bad book, but it exemplifies several things I'm wary of in this genre (e.g. talking about people who do X and succeed and thus generalizing the principle of 'you should do X', but never talking about all the people who do X and don't succeed, or who don't do X and succeed; doing the song and dance of 'I'm not saying this is right or wrong, I'm saying this is how it is - act accordingly'; attributing certain outcomes to oversimplified factors such as Trump winning in 2016 because he was perceived as powerful. Like, sure, for some people that was enough for them to cast their vote in his favor...but that's reaaaaally just scratching the surface of all the reasons why Trump won; etc).
"The two fundamental aspects by which people judge others is by warmth and competence. Her research has also uncovered, there is a tendency to see warmth and competence, although conceptually independent, as being negatively related. This relationship is nicely captured in Amy Cuddy's short but appropriately titled piece, 'Just Because I'm Nice Don't Assume I'm Dumb' and in a Harvard Business School faculty member Teresa Amabile's empirical study, 'Brilliant, But Cruel'. In that study people were given actual negative and positive book reviews. Negative reviewers were seen as more intelligent, competent and expert than positive reviewers, even when the content of the positive review was independently judged as being of higher quality. Negative reviewers were perceived as significantly less likeable than positive reviewers...first demonstrate competence. Then, if and when you show warmth, people will not see it as a sign of weakness, but as something unexpected from a person with power."
This is a dry version of Robert Greene's colorful work The 48 Laws of Power, which also has 41 more rules! So if you want Machiavellian advice, I would go to that or to the original source: The Prince. What this book is supposed to add is academic research credibility, because the author is a professor at Stanford and labels himself as a scientist. In addition, this book attempts to distinguish itself from the overt promotion of evil by claiming that it's about doing good. Here is the bombastic first line of the book:
"If you want power to be used for good, more good people need to have power. --A quote attributable to me."
I think it is therefore appropriate to judge this book on how well it makes the case that following its advice leads to power being used for good. Alas, I was not convinced.
I really struggled to try to find any good evidence for that. The closest thing was Nelson Mandela's story, but then you would have to somehow say going to prison for 25 years is some kind of a power move; it's just too hard to sort out different factors in there or to imagine what the control group is. Mainly, the examples in the book are people "looking out for themselves" on their path to getting rich, and talking about stuff like how "shamelessness" is a "superpower." The author explicitly opposes two ways of doing things: "One is through behaving in a prosocial fashion such as working hard, helping coworkers, and striving in other ways on behalf of the collective good. The other is ... what I teach..." But let's remember the first line. I find it hard to believe that training people to be anti-social, unhelpful, and self-centered eventually leads to the exact opposite outcomes.
Some people do philanthropy after they get rich, but examples of that in this book are used to illustrate how to do public relations to boost your image after criminal convictions or other scandals. There's no convincing scientific evidence presented for how power-seeking disconnected from fairness or competence leads to the greater good. One could look at health statistics, for example, and see how they correlate with inequality or corruption or mistrust. That has been done, but does not get play in this book. One could even look at how national economies do overall. See books below. To a large extent, the arguments for the author's thesis are just anecdotes. This is very weak proof. There are also some psychology studies and such that I don't find very convincing, including data notorious in the Replication Crisis, e.g. power posing.
If one accepts the underlying diagnosis that Americans live in a culture of corruption and incompetence (Detroit: An American Autopsy), it does not follow that the prescription is to over-dose on the poison causing the problem.
Even Robert Greene seems to have realized at some point that promoting gangster values was maybe a bad thing and wrote a success book to help people who have useful talents: Mastery.
Some of the advice in this book is unobjectionable, but then it's standard stuff that can be found in countless other management/leadership books.
I have mixed feelings towards the book. Some chapters are pretty useful and can be applied well without questioning about it’s ethics. However I am still not convinced with some sections and research author has linked that sums up the person to be perceived with “power”
For Eg he talks about a study which shows a person being rude to the waiter and also throwing cigarette ash on floor appearing to be 20% more powerful.
There are many instances throughout the book that i personally just couldn’t resonate with especially on his take with flattery towards higher up and authenticity (promoting inauthenticity as apparently people take it face value).
Then comes the chapter 3 on how anger is a high status move apparently and people are perceived to be powerful compared to someone who’s sad and apologetic. I personally find anger to be low status and pathetic due to lack of control over emotions and not being able to stay composed.
Chapter 1 on getting yourself out there and chapter 5 on networking is useful. Even the conclusion on how to strategically work through it was good.
Overall, as the author suggested I tried to be as non judgmental and tried to take learning which resonated with me and I thought was useful.
No matter how many research from social science is being quoted, i am not taking it if some suggestions personally doesn’t resonate or I can’t work with (like for Eg using anger as indication of power). Especially knowing power is subject dependant as well.
This book is still comparatively better than Robert Greene’s 48 laws. I still think other books on power I have rated before have been much better. Would also recommend reading Acting with power and Power, why it’s everybody else’s business.
The author shares 7 rules and they are: 1) Get out of your own way. 2) Break the rules. 3) Show up in powerful fashion. 4) Create a powerful brand. 5) Network relentlessly. 6) Use your power. 7) Understand that once you have acquired power, what you did to get it will be forgiven, forgotten, or both.
Now, if there is anything to read on how to get things done at work, while ensuring that your objectives are aligned with your professional growth then these rules are something to bear in mind. I liked how this book just reminded me that when it comes to work, you create meaning and it's not the job's responsibility to grant you happiness, that's on you.
"Leadership is not a moral pursuit". It is above all about the pragmatics of making things happen whether they be moral, immoral, or amoral.
I struggled for a long time with my inner sense of justice, relating leadership to morality. One does not necessarily go hand in hand with the other. Only until I accepted this fact, could I open my mind to understanding why some of the worst people on the planet obtain positions of leadership and clout.
Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer teaches his class on power at Stanford University and the seats in his class are rarely, if ever, empty. He brings the principles that he teaches from the classroom to the pages of this book! These 7 rules are practical and laid out in a manner that operates regardless of moral aptitude. Since morality is subjective, it would be wise to approach this book by suspending your handle on morality and look at each rule objectively.
The examples that Pfeffer provides help you understand that the way you use these rules are up to you, however you decide to use them. Liken unto Robert Greene's '48 Laws of Power', Jeffrey Pfeffer's concise rules will have you seeking opportunities to harness and grow your own power.
✊🏻Power is absolute, it's the necessity of each living organism, without it you're nothing and with it you're everything, on whatsoever you go you can see the necessity of it and get only a handful people have it. Regardless of the perspective we need power in each and every step of our life.
✊🏻People do not understand the behavioral realities of power, they are continually surprised by both what happens and the effectiveness of actions that seemingly violate conventional wisdom about leadership - mostly because much of this wisdom is largely untethered from research on the social psychology of human behavior. Sometimes the surprise is accompanied by unanticipated career setbacks that arise because people are unprepared for the realities of social life.
✊🏻 Ultimately this book will help you people better understand the everyday dynamics and political truths of organizations of all types, public and private. The objective of this book is to make people learn how to apply these 7 Rules of Power and achieve their desirable goal, or moreover have a clarification at least.
📌A brilliantly written and concisely researched read with a classic approach. It was somehow an interesting read for me though I haven't read any of the author's previous works but now I want to and will be looking to read in the near future. If you're a curious thinker and want to understand the psychology behind power then this might be a perfect choice for you. #diabolical_nerds_bookshelf.
Structured much better than his previous book. Very useful and important lessons. It would have been much better if Jeff Pfeffer took the time to describe the experiments instead of just referencing them. Some of the case studies are old and hard for me to relate to them. Also a lot of repetition of the case studies from his previous book. I recommend reading this book over Power why some people have it and other dont as it is well structured and written better than the previous one.
This must be one of the most important books I've read not just this year, but during my almost 25 years of existence.
I am so tired of "self help", books and speeches from big, powerful people who pretend that it's all about being nice and show sympathy, when it's inevitable for them to have only been using those strategies to get them where they are. I am a positive, optimistic person who likes to see the good in people - one thing I do despise, though, is people who portray themselves as angels when they've gotten a good dose of help from being strategic and other powerful people.
It makes people remain helpless, soft and to not look out for themselves. I've been thinking of what I believe is to be an important message from this book: If you don't go after power, others will. And it's important that "good" people - whatever that is - claims power. Or else there's only the "bad guys" - whatever that is, too" - who will be in power and rule others.
I've tried for many years other to be "overly kind", and that has resulted in bad results both professionally and psychologically, resentment and really didn't make anything good out of it except temporarily relief for both parties.
I had never heard of this book or the author. I stumbled upon this book on a trip to Edinburgh in a pretty much empty street when I saw the cover in a little book store. I was automatically drawn to it as I've, as mentioned, been thinking from other perspectives regarding social interactions and things related to this book. An example is that one of the goals for 2022 is to be wary of gaslighting, as this is not an uncommon event to happen for a lot people who takes feedback, thinks a lot about others and wishes for a world where everyone are kind to each other.
I think it's especially important for us who have been under this mental umbrella, being shielded from the hard - not the reality of it - but the truth, who have held back the power we have within us to actually contribute to a more resilient, fair and kind world to read this.
The research is also very good, and I appreciate someone telling the hard truth. This author seems to truly have wanted to deliver truth and helpful advice, rather than being liked (which, if you have read the book, will get the non-irony of that). I have studied by annotated, highlighted and rewritten sentences from the book. I have already recommended books about power to my female friends who have been taken advantage of and experienced things no people on this planet deserve to encounter. This book might be the most helpful one yet of those.
I now have a dream to enter a class of Pfeffer one day. This book has not only helped me as a person, but to my dream of one day becoming a leader and aim towards a common mission with fellow resilient, talented and people who loves other people. I'm soon about to take some leardship courses as part of my studies, and now I'm kind of scared of new reading material that will only have the fancy, "being looked at as moral" type of readings.
NB! If anyone are interested in discussing the topics of this book, I am looking for like minded people who are intrigued by these kind of subjects.
Wishing you who have felt you've held yourself back to the comfort of others, a powerful year ⭐️
I have been a fan of Jeffrey’s critical view on topics close to my heart, like leadership. I also have been intrigued by his views on power. The moment I saw a new book on power as a review copy on Netgalley, I just jumped at it. Am really thankful to the publisher for making the copy available to me to review just when the book is getting launched.
The book is a brilliant take from multiple perspectives about a framework of power - what enables people to get power. How someone may want to use it to be powerful, or understand others. Jeffrey very brilliantly covered the biggest doubt in my mind - many of us do not want to get that kind of power - by just a simple quote “if you want power to be used for good, more good people need to have power”. He also clarifies that these rules are like tools to be used - the outcome is something he is not responsible for - whether it is for good or for bad. He also digresses on this matter to make some wonderful remarks about the impossibility of teaching ethics to students. All of these inputs are insightful and bring to the mind the need to think more about a lot of what is being taught in business schools today (on ethics).
The book covers each of the seven rules in great detail, with plenty of research and anecdotes backing the rationale behind it. In addition to publicly known famous cases (such as Theranos, Trump) Jeffrey brings in stories about his students who took his courses on power and how they have reacted to their learnings from the course. It almost makes me want to pick up his course and teach it in my b-school (with the fear that I am not one to want to follow these rules, though I want to make the world a better place, teach my students to be better citizens).
The rules are very simple - easy to recollect and keep tabs - but execution in my view seems to be a huge task. So only those who are clear in their goals and need the power will go the long haul. Rules like ‘get out of your own way’, ‘break the rules’, ‘appear powerful’, …’success excuses almost everything else’, are powerful yet simple.
Though I was completely convinced with all the research and the anecdotes that Jeffrey provides, while reading through the book all I needed to do was to run through each “powerful” person I was seeing around me now and in my past. I was amazed to see how some of the rules like “appear powerful”, “break the rules” and “success excuses almost everything…” were brilliantly played out in real life. I could see people breaking the rules - appearing powerful both through that as as well gaining power through that. People who have ongoing allegations against them getting second terms as leaders of elite institutions and so on and so forth.
TL&DR: I came away from this book totally bought in to these rules. I highly recommend this book to everyone, especially in the business world. You will learn about how the powerful around you became that way. How you may want to become powerful and improve the organization you are in.
In 7 Rules of Power, Jeffrey Pfeffer outlines what he views as the (seven) most important strategies to achieve, accumulate, and maintain power. Unsurprisingly, because he is a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, much of what he discusses is related to the implications and importance of power in professional settings. Here are what I viewed as the main points from the 7 sections:
1) Get out of your own way – Get past the uncomfortable aspects of aspiring for or acquiring power. While many people view power as having a negative connotation, Pfeffer emphasizes that power is amoral; whether or not power is “good” or “bad” depends on who is using it or who has it. Aside from providing examples of Stanford students that were out-maneuvered in high-level business and start-up situations, Pfeffer also stresses the importance of getting over one’s imposter syndrome in order to exude greater confidence, which of course leads to having greater power.
2) Break the Rules – Often times the ends justify the means, and Pfeffer is more or less on board with the age-old adage of “it’s better to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission.” While he does provide some examples of accomplished and powerful individuals who got their way by breaking the rules, I think the most important part of this section is really his emphasis on not being afraid to break social norms and conventions to get what you want. The sections on the other 5 rules - Show up in a powerful fashion, Build a Powerful brand, Network, use your power, and once you’ve acquired power, what you did to get it will be forgiven, forgotten or both - also had plenty of useful snippets of wisdom For example, while I’ve heard this plenty of times over the course of my adult life, the examples he provided for “weak” ties (as opposed to strong ties) being more important and more powerful when it comes to getting a job or career growth were convincing. I also appreciated his description of how and to what extent some of the most powerful business people we know (Jack Dorsey, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, etc) have done to shape and cultivate their image and brand (and ultimately, their power).
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Just like the 42 laws of power, it just feels wrong. I do believe it works. But it's basically: be an overconfident asshole and don't show vulnerability. At least not while on your way to the top, once there you can do whatever you want. I use such literature more as a map to recognize and navigate office politics than a manual for professional conduct. But that probably means I'll bump into a lot of obstacles to reach my ambitions.
The 7 Rules of Power is a great book harness untapped potential. I enjoyed learning the rules of Power and learning that I already use some of them and how to improve my use of them. I feel like some self-improvement books talk and boast but do not give you the actionable steps this book was not the case. I felt I was given the knowledge and tools needed to apply these rules to my life without the extra fluff some books add in. I was hooked on this audiobook immediately and binge listened to this one. I feel like I will be visiting these rules repeatedly.
Undoubtedly, this is the ultimate guide for the Sacklers, Ghosns, Holmes and Paliafitos of the World. Alas, those people got caught and this is the only sin unforgivable by Jeffrey Pfeffer!
My recommendation is that if you have a ‘balanced scorecard’ in life take the advice in this book with a grain of salt. A person with any sense of morality can also find this book useful as an alarm bell not to be eaten by sharks.
Power, is important and should be exercised with skill, but towards which end?
This book should be rewritten with an eighth rule on how to manage yourself when you lose power. This is in my opinion the rule that will balance it all.
I was tempted to rate this book lower, since most of what's talked about sounds unnatural and goes against all the trainings you get in corporate world. This is reflected aptly in a quote in the Coda chapter. However as the author states, the leadership stories and kindness that's often reflected comes after leaders reach the top. The author claims this is purely based on empirical evidence and has a lot of research to quote. I think the book misses an opportunity to balance the studies to avoid coming across as cherry picking the evidence. Nonetheless, the acknowledgements section which had nothing to do with the book, was somehow the highlight for it's raw and unfiltered expressions.
I found this book more useful than his other book, simply titled "Power." Good tips on how to succeed that nobody tells you about in school, or growing up. One tip I liked was that you should spend 8 to 10 hours a week networking, which is the time the average person spends socializing. And many more.
“Power” What comes to your mind when you read or hear this word?
For me, it didn’t ring many bells before I read this book. And after reading it, I can say being powerful in whatever you do is as important as eating healthy food for well-being.
7 Rule of Power is an extraordinary book that talks about, of course, Power, how to acquire it, how to use it, how to build a powerful personal brand, and more.
I LOVE books which are research-backed, and this one is of them. The book is filled with interviews, real-life examples, stories, and research. The writing style is simple (my SEO brain could spot a few things, which I would not accept, but okay, okay, I know the book does not have to be SEO-optimised), and I liked the omniscient narration in many of the stories. Apart from this kind of narration, the first-hand experiences of people are also mentioned in the book. The formatting of the book is proper. You can pick one chapter which you find interesting and read from there, but I would advise otherwise. Read this book from the start and understand the journey and the dynamics of Power brick by brick. I really liked the chapters: ‘Get Out of Your Own Way’, ‘Appear Powerful’, ‘Build a Powerful Brand’, and ‘Network Relentlessly’.
IN A NUTSHELL: 7 Rules of Power is a great book on ‘Power’ that will tell you why you should choose the path to power and how to do it, and also, if you have acquired it, how to use and not lose it.
Recommend? YES. If you haven’t read anything on Power, this is where you should start with. As a beginner, you can read this book, and if you are someone who believes that one should not be in pursuit of power in the material world, this book might change that.
My Reading Journey: I had zero expectations before picking this book because I have never read anything on Power and really didn’t know what to expect. But when I picked it up, I was hooked! I enjoyed reading it and learned a lot from it. Though some of the things mentioned in the book are against what I believe, I enjoyed reading them. I have marked a lot of things in this book and will definitely go back to some of the things especially networking.
Amoral in its lessons, this book is a highly condensed version of the author's class on cultivating power. The central argument is that more people need to cultivate power, act in power, and make less moralistic choices in order to get what they need. Honeslty, this is very enticing, and the arguments presented are difficult to suggest.
Things I love about this book: The research and further reading the author tells you to go study. He mentions case studies you can go look up, and both successes and failures of the powerful.
Things I hated about this book: the ethical dilemma that it creates. Some of the studies mentioned seem very "eurocentric" or western in their conclusions, specifically about women in positions of power. there are cultures in the world where women are considered second class citizens. How can they presume to create a power dynamic in those spaces?
Another thought, there is an idea that power cultivation is a class issue. Power is for high class individuals and the moral arguments against gathering power are often used to keep you within your class... now that is an enticing idea...
Will have to read again with a more skeptical eye, because I was definitely challenged by this book.
I have been contemplating, why I'm unsure of officially adding this book on my goodreads and sharing with people that I have read it. A similar situation occurred with "How to make friends and influence people" - clearly, standing in my own way and judging myself is the reason. So, the 7 rules of power are nothing outragiously new or out of the blue. 1 - Get out of your own way 2 - Break the rules 3 - Appear powerful 4 - Build a powerful brand 5 - Network relentlessly 7 - Success excuses everything And while they are so simple, they feel morally wrong at times - as does the sheer act of admitting to wanting to be powerful. I do think you have to play the rules in your own way, and I do not agree with the author at times - women are punished more for having and falling from power. Still, overall an interesting read.
Some great practical advice on how to successfully navigate office politics. I’m sure readers will relate to several examples that the author mentions about common situations at work. Plus I liked how the author acknowledges often unsaid realities in the modern workplace.
However, I also found the book to encourage adoption of unethical / immoral means to justify the pursuit of power. At times it glorifies folks like Jason Calacanis who in my view are not great role models.
Ultimately this book will force you to think - what kind of person do you want to be? Power like most things is ephemeral, and I would have loved a more balanced view of people who have had different paths to power.
This was a a good motivational and self help audiobook. It had practical lessons and short chapters to really focus in on what the author was teaching. I did learn some, although; some of it were things I already knew about. I appreciated his insight. It was good, but I am not for sure if I would recommend to others. I feel there are better motivational books out there. 3/5⭐️ I do appreciate the ARC #Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Every chapter of this is worth revisiting and something very precious to learn out of.
7 Rules of Power gives you practical tips to help you understand and apply leadership skills. With this book, you’ll learn, through well-researched evidence and how to accomplish those changes in your life as well as your work life.
It's surely a thought-changing and skill-development book. So happy that I was able to read this one.
I picked up this book after listening to this author and he seemed different from this politically correct climate we’re in. He comes off being brash and abrasive. His ideas seem Machiavellian, but hey, I guess they work. Readers may seem shock because it goes against the principle of catching more flies with honey. But if being too nice is making you too much of a doormat, it’s time to change some things. Readers may not accept all the rules, but there are some you can adapt into your life.
Interesting. I always thought of myself as a nice kind of guy, but after reading this book I just realized why I didn't always succeed. Might be challenging to follow some of the advises as it goes against the norm. The author is saying that "the world would be better, if more good people have power", so I guess we might as well try.
Everyone who has worked in an office has seen these power plays at work - author explains how they work, and even though you might say, “ewww!” you have to admit these moves are effective for getting you noticed and your ideas promoted.