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Book Review: Tom Peters Essentials: Leadership, Aspire, Liberate, Achieve


Title: Tom Peters Essentials: Leadership: Aspire, Liberate, Achieve
Editor: Tom Peters
Publisher: Dorling Kindersley
ISBN: 1-4053-0257-7
Price: £7.99
Reviewer: Desiree Cox

In this book, Peters recognises that the focus of leadership has shifted significantly over the past few years, driven by the workplace revolution that is taking place. As individuals accept more responsibility for their future, so the role of leader is transformed into one of innovation and passion. Peters suggests that a leader needs to be inspirational and liberating, actively encouraging growth and creativity in staff. Their success lies in self awareness and the key is in developing relationships.

There is more emphasis on developing effective communication and building on what is going well, rather than pursuing mistakes to examine what went wrong.

Peters’ passion for leadership shines through as he examines the qualities of leaders through his 50 defined leadership examples. This is well supported by reference material and is rich in examples of corporate leaders. However, although the key messages are there, the style is very Americanised and appears superficial, dealing only with the essential ingredients of leadership and relying very much on the corporate examples to add credibility.

There are some useful features: each chapter concludes with a “Top 10 To Dos” list and these are the most valuable sections of the book, summarising the key points and providing useful advice. In Peters’ own words “drilling down to what is essential” and offering a fresh look at the critical success factors for leaders. Also interesting are the “contrasts” pages which look at the changing emphasis of certain terms and how the leadership role is evolving.

Although the pocket size is good, the layout is more suited to a travel guide or a children’s reference book with large fonts, brightly coloured pages and irrelevant pictures. Whilst aware that this has been designed deliberately to introduce a new style of business book, it did not inspire me to pick it up and read it. I felt this new ‘image’ detracted from the content of the book. It does not encourage me to read the other three titles available in Peters’ Essential series.

Overall this is a useful little book to pick up and read through, but it is not a book that says anything new, nor is it a book you would return to time after time.

Review ratings:(1-5, 5 being excellent)

  • Overall 4

  • Helpfulness 3

  • Layout 1

  • Value for money 4

  • Suitability for professional level Directors, Managers, Consultants

  • Would you recommend it? No


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