Jonathan's Reviews > Power: Why Some People Have it and Others Don't

Power by Jeffrey Pfeffer
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Oct 16, 2010

liked it

It is an easy read with interesting examples. If you dislike the
title, consider how the world is political, and it is in you interest
to know the power games other people will play.

A few highlights:
* When Keith Ferrazzi (author, CMO, CEO) was offered a position at
Deloitte, he insisted in seeing the "head guys." He met the NYC chief,
Loconto, over dinner and Keith said he would accept if the two would
have dinner once a year at the same restaurant." This was a gutsy
move, but gave him influence at a very high level. All because he
asked. What could you have asked for?
* Ishan Gupta is an entrepreneur from India who positioned himself
with compiling a book of major Indian entrepreneurs. He had the
founder of Hotmail, the Indian president Kalam, and over a dozen
leaders contribute to the book. How? His pitch was as a fellow
entrepreneur and IIT graduate, he appreciated their courage, and said
no one would take a book by him seriously, he wanted their help to
write just a few pages or hundred words with key advice. He packaged
the request brilliantly, and almost all accepted. Asking for help is
inherently flattering. He leveraged his experience to write something
with a positive social implication. Then gained influence
with very big hitters, and 'jumped up a weight class.'
* Confucius said, 'Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's own
ignorance.' While this seems somewhat out of place in this book,
remember if you gain more power, you will change. It is best to not
become full of yourself.
* Stay focused on the outcomes you are seeking, and do not get hung
up on people and their idiosyncrasies. You can not and will not please everyone.
* Be able to act. As in acting, theatrics, Hollywood. If you are
'angry' don't always really be angry, as you can act with emotion,
skipping over facts, weaken you position, and alienate people. I have
made my worst mistakes when acting out of emotion. You can use
emotions effectively to lead a team; however, if you can have the
passion of emotion, without the irrationality, it is much
better. Thus, learn how to act. It disconnects the irrationality. When
I worked at FeedBurner, Dick Costolo was CEO there and he came from 10
years of stand up comedy. Extremely useful for his outward influence
(now CEO Twitter), and inward motivating employees.
* Synchronize the 'voice' of a team's many leaders. I have had huge
team problems because the peer group of senior leaders all had
different opinions about the vision and priorities. If one of us had
suggested a simple, quick, weekly breakfast or lunch meeting next door, we
would have been on sync. It would have boosted the team's morale and effectiveness.
* Oliver North vs Donald Kennedy's congressional testimonies suggest
theatrics (righteous anger vs shame and timidity) is a significant
factor for how people are judged. This was an "aha" moment. Senior
leadership is a lot of acting. CXO's may not see some employees but
once a year. The ability to turn on the energy and optimism (acting)
is crucial to leave strong, lasting influences in people.
* One comical specific claim was that "moving your hands in a circle
or waving your arms diminishes how powerful you appear. Gestures
should be short and forceful, not long and circular." Probably
true. How you carry yourself influences how you are viewed. Are you
the carefree person, consistent worker, angry person, goofy one, solid leader, etc.?
* Take you time in responding. Flustered or unsure people are
marginalized. Related to acting. When choosing between emotions or a
slower response, always choose the slower, more deliberate
response. (My editorializing).

Not amazing, but short and I finished it. I think I can only read a
small number of these kinds of books a year. Now I am ready to read
more math books.
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Reading Progress

October 16, 2010 – Started Reading
October 16, 2010 – Shelved
April 10, 2011 – Finished Reading

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