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The Truth about Leadership: The No-Fads, Heart-Of-The-Matter Facts You Need to Know

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  1,114 ratings  ·  86 reviews
A fresh look at what it means to lead from two of the biggest names in leadership

In these turbulent times, when the very foundations of organizations and societies are shaken, leaders need to move beyond pessimistic predictions, trendy fads, and simplistic solutions. They need to turn to what's real and what's proven. In their engaging, personal, and bold new book, Kouzes
ebook, 224 pages
Published July 23rd 2010 by Jossey-Bass (first published July 15th 2010)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  1,114 ratings  ·  86 reviews

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Aug 10, 2016 rated it did not like it
OK book. Talks about leadership traits which are quite obvious and the experiences of other people. The book development is non-existent, it pretty much just states a trait and tries to back it up with examples from other people and some rather over simplified statistics. I agree with the traits mentioned but it seems to me that most of them are also common sense.

I feel the book could've been much better with some carefully crafted scenarios that explored different paths one could take and how
Nov 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This if one of the best leadership books I've ever read (and I've read a lot!)

Kouzes and Posner spell out what they call "the no-fads, heart-of-the-matter facts you need to know" about leadership, and I think they get it right!

The Ten Truths are...

1. You make a difference
2. Credibility is the foundation of leadership
3. Values drive commitment
4. Focusing on the future sets leaders apart
5. You can't do it alone
6. Trust rules
7. Challenge is the crucible for greatness
8. You either lead by example or
Nov 16, 2016 rated it liked it
There are some great takeaways from this book. The chapters are somewhat superfluous thoughyou can read the intro and the final paragraph of each chapter and probably get the same information. ...more
Cynthia Shannon
Aug 17, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a perfectly ok read that you can easily digest in a flight from San Francisco to LA. It's a good reminder of some core leadership traits - identify your values, build trust, lead by example, have vision, etc. - and it doesn't present itself as offering anything new; after all, Kouzes and Posner are basing it on their research and consistent findings over the past several decades. I was startled by some of the people they chose to quote (a marketing communications coordinator from ...more
Michelle Marvin
A quick read with ten positive essentials for leadership. The book was encouraging, and spoke with both timeless wisdom and insight for today's global challenges. My two qualms are perhaps the overly simplified conversational manner of the book and the naively picturesque image that is presented of what it's like to lead a group. It would be great if everyone under leadership was enthusiastic, competent, and capable, but unfortunately that's often not the realistic group of 'talents' that many ...more
Sep 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business, leadership
Rather than pet theories about leadership, this book is based on 20 years of research, case studies, and leadership training experiences. The ten principles can seem deceptively simple but in fact are distillation of reality. It's actually true that weaknesses can derail you. People need to see you walking the talk. Setting a vision from on high doesn't necessarily motivate followers. And so on. What sound like cliches at first are fleshed out with data and clear examples. Read it and measure ...more
May 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
There is not anything new in this book. The Marine Corps instills and reinforces these habits of thought and habits of action every day. I wish there was something new or some objective evidence of effectiveness but this book was simply a retread with anecdotes.
Jillian Black
Nov 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I thought the results of the study would have become the focal point of the entire book, but the book became very repetitive quoted basically anyone they possibly could have. Decent read if youre new to leadership but nothing special. ...more
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Filled with great ideas, communicated clearly and convincingly (who could argue with over a million data points?!). If you want a reminder of what it takes to lead, or are stepping up to a new leadership challenge, pick up this book.
Peyton Stafford
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
Well-written, research-based book on the characteristics of successful leaders and how to develop them in oneself and one's employees.
Wendi Lau
Mar 25, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: stopped, nonfiction
This book has merit, it does. But the authors keep referencing business leaders from mainland Chinanot Hong Kong, not Taiwanhardcore Communist China China. Yes, I typed that twice. Weve known about Chinese companies lying, cheating, and stealing for years. Not a stereotype, FACT. And China does involuntary human organ harvesting and other human rights violations.

Maybe I can just read around the examples, I thought. But the authors are academics, not experienced in industry like Michael Hyatt,
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
A very mediocre, boring book. Id read their work a bit in grad school. Theres nothing new here, whether or not youve read these authors before. The 10 truths are incredibly general and broad, with no real level of detail or helpful, actionable advice. As others have pointed out, you could just read the closing paragraph of each chapter and get the gist.

My other criticism of this book is that its clearly written from a position of privilege. If youre starting from a position of privilege, you can
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
Maybe a bit too no-fad. Catchy, punchy, strong, yet somehow unoriginal and unfulfilled because it is lacking in examples that would truly bring the ideas home. Due to how open to interpretation everything regarding leadership is, I would not recommend this - it reads like a recipe book.

The content is fine for the most part but there was also a specific idea that I completely disagreed with - the idea that people can only be as strong as their weaknesses, and that they are limited by their
Jasmine Koh
Aug 30, 2019 rated it liked it
As the book title suggests, this is no-fads, heart-of-the-matter stuff. Based on copious research, the authors find that being honest, forward-looking, inspiring and competent are four qualities that people have consistently ranked as most important in leaders.

Being honest is about credibility, doing what you say you will do. It is about being clear about your values, while listening to and observing other people's values, and then painting a vision everyone in the right context can own. Being
Carlos Xavier
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Short, concise book that summarizes the core characteristics that define leadership. He fundaments them as well. They are practical in its uses but fundamentally a thing of the character. They are principles and one cant help but remember the great Stephen Covey and his 7 Habits of Highly Efective People.
But this isnt a copy, this book has a lot of research behind its claims. Is just that when you boil the knowledge down to its most estructural parts. Youll find the real aspects of what true
Paul C. Stalder
It does what it sets out to do; trim all the fat from leadership advice to get to the core tenants. It does come off as a little simplistic because of this, but not necessarily in a bad way. I would have liked to see a little bit of conversation about when these "truths" don't work. But you can't do much of that with a page count under 200. At the end of the day, a quick read with some solid information, good examples, and approachable style.
Shhhhh Ahhhhh
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was a bit boring but that's mostly because of how familiar I am with their work from The Leadership Challenge and a leadership consortium that I attended over a period of 3 years that had a lot of framing and explanation from this book in particular. High quality information for effective leading using evidence-based and practice-tested methods.
Fallon Willoughby
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
A wonderful book about leadership with small things to remember.
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Super summarised no-nonsense thesis on leadership
Marie Connor
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Read this for a book club at work. Pretty good book about leadership principles.
Roselayne Monteiro Seixas
Great book about leadership

I would recommend this book to every person that wants to develop your leadership. Its a great book to improve yours skills and be open to learn more.
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: school-books
The Truth about Leadership was required reading for one of my classes. I think this book is an important resource for those trying to learn leadership skills. The book is split into ten truths about leadership which are based on the research done over the course of many years. Though informative, the book read like a novel. I liked how the authors put quotes from leaders they have interviewed throughout the book. All this being said, I thought it was entirely too long. The chapters were very ...more
Skip Heflin
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you're going to read a book about leadership, this should be one! Simple, straightforward, succinct advice that you can apply right away.
Omar Halabieh
Aug 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
As the title indicates this is a book about leadership. The authors distill their research and learnings in this area into ten truth about leadership and becoming an effective leader.

One of the main premises in the book is: We tell our audiences that as much as the context of leadership has changes, the content of leadership has not changed much at all. The fundamental behaviors, actions, and practices of leaders have remained essentially the same since we first began researching and writing
"You can't look for the man behind the curtain to solve your concerns. Everything you need you already have. It's all about taking the first step." (qtd 6)

"As a leader, you are expected to have a point of view about the future. You are expected to articulate exciting possibilities about how today's work will result in tomorrow's world." (23)

"Becoming a leader begins when you come to understand who you are, what you care about, and why you do what you do." (32)

"And how does a new leader develop
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
The Truth About Leadership: The No-Fads, Heart-of-the-Matter Facts You Need to Know by James Kouzes and Barry Posner was chosen by Soundview Executive Book Summaries as one of the Top 30 Business Books of 2010.


In The Truth About Leadership: The No-Fads, Heart-of-the-Matter Facts You Need to Know by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, the authors combine decades of experience in the areas of leadership and executive coaching. The pair have conducted research in the areas of
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
One of the first books that I read about leadership was Kouzes and Posners The Leadership Challenge. I recall how it captured the topic of leadership in simple understandable terms. Their landmark work was based on five key leadership principles, including: Modeling the way, Inspiring a shared vision, Challenging the process, Enabling others to act, and Encouraging the heart.

The Truth About Leadership is based on new research and builds upon the authors original model that is as true today as
Dustin Bagby
Oct 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a great distillation of the core elements of good leadership. It is exactly what it says it is. No fads or trends, just the most important components of leadership consistently valued over decades of research. What I love about this is that it's a leadership book that stays in touch with humanity, compassion, valuing others, honesty, and integrity. Too many leadership books make leadership sound as if it is only available to a select few and cannot be learned, or the principles they ...more
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership
This is a great book. On every single page I found myself taking away 2 good ideas.

This is a book you would prefer to every few months and flip through to remind yourself of the important leadership concepts and truths.

The 10 truths:

1) You must have confidence in your own abilities
2) Others must have confidence in you
3) You have to know your values and the values of others
4) Given those values you will be able to create a vision that helps the company and its people meet their goals.
Nov 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: leadership
Admittedly, I'm a Kouzes and Posner fan, so this review is undoubtedly biased. However, I really enjoyed this book. Having read most of their other books, I found that this book had just enough new content and also a refreshing positioning of older content (e.g. five practices as part of "you make a difference"). It read like a good review of their other work with new tidbits and new structure, plus it read quickly.

Most importantly, the premise behind the book rang true for me. The authors
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