The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership

The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership

In this offbeat approach to leadership, college president Steven B. Sample-the man who turned the University of Southern California into one of the most respected and highly rated universities in the country-challenges many conventional teachings on the subject. Here, Sample outlines an iconoclastic style of leadership that flies in the face of current leadership thought, but a style that unquestionably works, nevertheless. Sample urges leaders and aspiring leaders to focus on some key counterintuitive truths. He offers his own down-to-earth, homespun, and often provocative advice on some complex and thoughtful issues. And he provides many practical, if controversial, tactics for successful leadership, suggesting, among other things, that leaders should sometimes compromise their principles, not read everything that comes across their desks, and always put off decisions.

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About the Book

In this provocative new book, Steven Sample, one of the nation’s most highly regarded university presidents, explodes many romanticized views of leadership and demonstrates how leaders can free themselves from the shackles of conventional wisdom.

  • Never make a decision today that can reasonably be put off to tomorrow.
  • Don’t form opinions if you don’t have to. Think gray.
  • Shoot your own horse. Don’t force others to do your dirty work.
  • The best leaders don’t keep up with the popular media and the trades.
  • Machiavelli can help make you a more moral leader.
  • Know what hill you are willing to die on-and keep its exact location to yourself.
  • Know the all important difference between being leader and doing leader.
  • You can’t copy your way to the top.

“This is an intoxicating read, a bushwacker’s delight. With swift, sure strokes, Steve Sample cuts down a lot of bad ideas about leadership and opens up a new path for the next generation to follow. No wonder he has turned around not one but two major universities.”
David Gergen, noted commentator, bestselling author, and adviser to four United States Presidents

Tag: Recommended Books
ISBN: 9780787967079
List Price: $12.53
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