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Leading Minds: An Anatomy Of Leadership

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  354 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
"Leading Minds" addresses a crucial and often ignored component of leadership -- the mind. What distinguishes the mind of an effective leader, and what is the mentality of his or her followers? Gardner links the study of creativity with the study of leadership to demonstrate the many similarities between traditional creators (artists and scientists) and leaders in business ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published June 14th 1996 by Basic Books (first published July 14th 1995)
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Devin Partlow
Oct 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a case study of a number of very famous leaders followed by the author drawing conclusions from the similarities and differences of these famous leaders.

I will say that he did a good job of picking leaders from all walks of life but I fear that readers could take his conclusions as "How to be a Leader" rather than "Here are Some Traits I Found in My Survey of Leaders".

Since I feel like the author wasn't explicit enough in stating that what his conclusions were the latter, he's penalized
Bernie May
Oct 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: leadership
A bit thick and academic for my tastes, but thourough and thoughtful. Worth the read if you think deeply about leadership and its future directions.
Oct 04, 2017 rated it liked it
I knocked this book down to three stars because it is hard to read at times. It's clearly from the mind of an academic; that is the only real gripe I have with it. It is not a how-to manual and it never pretends to be (it's perhaps one of the main points that such a prescriptive approach isn't possible).

There are several good reasons for reading this book if you can get past how dry it is:

-The beginning chapters lay out the foundation of human development and the sophistication of the mind as on
Joshua Bowen
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Awesome analysis of the 11 leaders, but very academic book...often dry and hard to push through.
Mar 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The life stories of the 11 selected leaders from diverse backgrounds, provide insight to the question of effectiveness and success in a multitude of leadership roles. The ability to conceptualize the work of leading through these stories. Presenting an opportunity to reflect on the elements of leadership, and the varying approaches to leadership in varying aspects of life.
The connection of 'lessons from the past, and its implications for the future' is very instructive for people assuming leade
Mar 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I liked most about this book is the brief biographies of each leader and how Gardner highlighted their qualities that mostly pertain to leadership. These are historical figures that I had always wanted to know more about and Gardner writes about them in a way that is useful to Inspiring leaders. He is very explicit when writing about how his work can be useful to the reader (sometimes verges on repetitiveness). His findings were pretty straightforward with nothing groundbreaking, but if not ...more
Lawrence Linnen
Aug 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Gardner defines a leader as an individual who significantly affects the thoughts, feelings, and/or behaviors of a significant number of individuals. He selected the leaders purposefully to reinforce his arguments on leadership and to obtain a better understanding of effective leadership. Gardner presents case studies of Margaret Mead, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Robert Maynard Hutchins, Alfred P. Sloan, George C. Marshall, Pope John XXIII, Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Margaret That ...more
Dec 21, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership
I read Parts I and III of this text for a Leadership in Context course. Gardner's notion that leaders remember they are dealing with the eight-year-old mind is spot-on. Gardner has a tendency to drill the point home throughout the text, but that should not take away from the poignancy of the initial idea.

The chapters on Ghandi and Monet were interesting overviews of the men as leaders. In my case, having known nothing of Monet and shamefully little on Ghandi, these chapters were enriching reads.
Scott Wozniak
Nov 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
If you're looking for leadership theories, frameworks, or even best practices this book will disappoint. But if you want a comparative biography of the most influential leaders of the 20th century, you'll like this book.

From Ghandi to Eleanor Roosevelt to Oppenheimer their lives are summed up, analyzed, and compared.

Warning: It's written very academically. The author is a Harvard Professor and it feels like a term paper. Phrases like "one would think" (avoiding using "I") and a lot of redundan
Oct 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Reading this book for a graduate class, I was not expecting much. I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed most parts of this book. Basically Gardner takes a look at great leaders in the 20th century and tries to come up with a common theme of what leadership looks like and where it comes from. I particularly enjoyed the middle section of the book that looked at specific characters that I did not know a great deal about (like Margaret Mead). Recommended as a character study of great figures and ...more
Aug 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book is a little stale. It's reads like a study paper, though it touts itself as presenting the stories of leaders. The presentation of the leaders is a little like crawling through mud. The first few chapters are worth reading as they deal with human development, as that happens on a number of levels, and how that development effects what a leader should do to successfully lead people. Once I finished those chapters, though, the rest of the book felt superfluous as I was reading it.
Aug 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Profiles of different leadership styles - at the highest level, between those of direct and indirect influence - but then with other nuance built in. Gardner takes a sociologist's view on leadership and the outcomes as a result of different leadership styles. Readable and engaging as he discusses some of the great 20th century leaders and how they fit into his leadership framework.
Feb 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Gardner lays out the characteristics of leadership in some surprising ways. Notes that high levels of verbal intelligence, distance from father figure, and exposure to travel are commonalities. Uses unlikely and new studies (people) as examples. Fascinating. What makes a leader? Read on...
Jul 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is a cool book. i'm reading it for class, but it's basically a quick run-down of some very impressive leaders in our history. It examines the different leadership styles and what events/traits lead a person to become extraordinary. Very interesting.
Jun 29, 2010 rated it liked it
I've read other Gardner books. He is an excellent writer and researcher. While the theme here is interesting and the biographies of each of the leaders he chooses to study are ok, the book is not compelling. His others were much better and more thought provoking.
Emma Laskin
Jan 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: howard-gardner
Great Book since I helped write it!!
Peter Bistolarides
Great on narrative. Some practical observations on leadership, but not as rich in this as one would expect
Mar 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Oh, where are they in American public schools?
Feb 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
leaders as storytellers
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Cathi Woods
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Noah Simmons
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May 31, 2016
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Howard Gardner is the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He also holds positions as Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and Senior Director of Harvard Project Zero. Among numerous honors, Gardner received a MacArthur Prize Fellowship in 1981. He has received honorary degrees from 26 colleges and univers ...more
More about Howard Gardner...
“It is important for leaders to know their stories; to get them straight; to communicate them effectively, particularly to those who are in the thrall of rival stories; and, above all, to embody in their lives the stories that they tell.” 2 likes
“The cause of this state of affair is undoubtedly complex. In my Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed (2011), I argue that the challenge to truth comes from three complementary sources: (l) increased knowledge about the wide range of cultures around the globe, many of which hold apparently incompatible views about the world; (2) the postmodern critique of such traditional notions as truth, according to which claims to truth are seen as simple assertions of power; and (3) the human tendency, particularly during adolescence and early adulthood, to adopt relativistic stances (“you’ve got the right to your opinion, just like I have the right to my opinion”). Whatever the relative contributions of these and other factors, it seems clear that leadership becomes more difficult when everyone’s story is considered equally valid, independent of corroborating evidence.” 0 likes
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