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

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  880 Ratings  ·  76 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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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
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 ot ...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.
Nov 16, 2016 rated it liked it
There are some great takeaways from this book. The chapters are somewhat superfluous though—you can read the intro and the final paragraph of each chapter and probably get the same information.
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.
Jamie Davis
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
I read this book for work...

Simple and straight forward. This book dives into the 10 truths about leadership. In all actuality, I did not think that any innovative or new leadership material was introduced. This book was better at honing down on several main takeaways.

However, I did feel that this could have been condensed even into a lengthy article instead of a book. A reader would probably get the same idea by reading the truth summary paragraphs at the end of each chapter.
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.
Roselayne Monteiro Seixas
Great book about leadership

I would recommend this book to every person that wants to develop your leadership. It’s a great book to improve yours skills and be open to learn more.
Marie Connor
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Read this for a book club at work. Pretty good book about leadership principles.
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
A wonderful book about leadership with small things to remember.
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 t
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 Posner’s 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
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 l ...more
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 teac ...more
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 argu
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.
5) Bui
Jim Razinha
A simple book with basic concepts covered in most leadership texts. Saccharine anecdotes don't add anything for me, but others might find some connection to them.

[Addendum - 9/27/12]

I reread this in preparation for a seminar and have a slightly revised opinion. The book is still basic, but after discussing it with someone who will be one of the seminar leaders I realized that while it is basic, seasoned leaders should read it. His perspective was that sometimes we forget our roots. I agree that
Aug 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
I had to read this book prior to a leadership conference, and I give it 4 stars for what it is. It is a very introductory-level book to leadership. It would be best for those who are considering moving into management or just entered a leadership position. Many long-time leaders may give it a lower rating, and that's because it doesn't have much to offer them except a "don't forget about the basics" review. There is nothing earth-shattering in this book and many of the truths are basic values to ...more
Jan 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Leadership matters - a whole lot. Kouzes and Posner, two longtime leadership gurus, unpack years of research that strike to the heart of what makes for effective leadership. Ten straightforward truths provide the book's structure and content. Although none of these ten leadership truths were new or flashy, these basic truths are indeed core to effective leadership (e.g. credibility is the foundation of leadership; values drive commitment; focusing on the future sets leaders apart; and the best l ...more
Justin Anderson
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Leadership is difficult to define. Many people say that they "know it when they see it", but may lack the ability to explain its supporting concepts. I enjoyed how this book sets a framework to clarify what leadership truly is all about. In the Truth about Leadership, Kouzes and Posner introduce the 10 most important things that they have learned about leadership. They call them the truths about leadership because they have stood the test of time and are well supported. The true stories and rese ...more
Julie Connor
Apr 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
James Kouzes and Barry Posner understand good leadership. Their results are based on 30 years of research; they studied more than 1 million responses to their leadership assessment to reveal 10 truths that show what every leader must know, the questions they must be prepared to answer, and the real-world issues they will likely face. I heartily recommend Kouzes and Posner's "The Leadership Challenge." Both texts explain fundamental leadership truths and core values that must be aligned with a le ...more
Kevin Eikenberry
While they have been researching, speaking and writing about leadership for nearly three decades, I believe this is their best work to date.

This book identifies ten leadership truths that Jim and Barry have identified over their careers as the core of what leadership is about. The truths include:

You Make a Difference
Credibility is the Foundation of Leadership
Values Drive Commitment
Trust Rules
The Best Leaders are the Best Learners
- See more at:
Apr 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
I had never picked up one of the books my uncle had written before this one, since I haven't really had a desire in my life to pursue management. Even though I still feel mostly this way, the book was interesting, to the point, and an easy read. It helped me understand why certain managers do well and others fail, and how as an employee I can try to understand where they are coming from. I would recommend this to anyone looking for advice in a leadership role.
Jan 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in leadership
Recommended to Janet by: School required
A very good and readable overview of the most important, time-tested "truths" about leadership. It is honest, forthright and up to date even though the focus is upon what research over the years has shown about what really works. As promised in the title there are no gimmicks here. The bottom line is integrity, constant learning and the committment to work hard to develop in the areas where you have weaknesses.
Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was given this book to read by my assistant manager as I try to climb the leadership ladder. It taught me useful leadership skills and reassured me with my leadership abilities. I learned the most from chapters 2, 6 and 10. I recommend this for any young person wanting to move up in their company or just to improve on their leadership skills. I was also pleasantly surprised that it was so easy to understand and relate to, even as a 20 year-old.
Abe Smith
Feb 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: business-ideas
3 stars still means "I liked it", but it didn't blow me away. I haven't read a lot of books on leadership but the few that I have feel a little fluffy. This one was that way too a little bit. That said, I did pull out a few good principles I would like to implement so it was worth the $15 I spent for the book, especially the importance of loving those you lead.
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“Research indicates that the highest performing managers and leaders are the most open and caring. The best leaders demonstrate more affection toward others and want others to be more open with them. They are more positive and passionate, more loving and compassionate, and more grateful and encouraging than their lower performing counterparts.” 2 likes
“The Truth Is That Challenge Is the Crucible for Greatness. The study of leadership is the study of how men and women guide people through uncertainty, hardship, disruption, transformation, transition, recovery, new beginnings, and other significant challenges. It’s also the study of how men and women, in times of constancy and complacency, actively seek to disturb the status quo, awaken new possibilities, and pursue opportunities.” 2 likes
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