Power: Why Some People Have It-- And Others Don't

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Power by Jeffrey Pfeffer provides examples of people at all career stages who figured out the rules, acted on that knowledge, and changed the game for their benefit. Filled with practical and sometimes counterintuitive advice, the book is a guide for understanding the world in which we all live.

More than 30 years ago, Rosabeth Kanter commented that power was the organization’s last dirty secret—a subject that made people uncomfortable. What was true then is more true today when many young people compete in swim meets where they all get ribbons and the leadership literature is filled with nostrums such as be authentic, modest, compassionate, and warm. But hierarchy still exists and seems inevitable given what we know about human psychology—and not everyone works in an organization where all have followed the good management advice getting dispensed.

Power is important for career success—maybe more important than job performance. And power is related, albeit not perfectly, to wealth, the ability to get things done, and even to longevity. Therefore, people need to acquire power and learn how to do so. Power, based on the latest social science research and filled with numerous examples from people from the public and private sector, at various career stages, and from numerous countries and companies, shows you how to obtain influence.

The book covers a range of topics including: building efficient and effective social networks, creating a favorable reputation and why it is important to do so, how to act and speak with power, coping with opposition and setbacks, the individual qualities that help make people powerful, how to develop resources, where to start your career, and why being likeable may make you influential but having influence will almost certainly cause others to like you.