Praise for Nigel Nicholson’s The ‘I’ of Leadership: Strategies for seeing, being and doing (Jossey-Bass, April 2013).
Nigel Nicholson is the most insightful and perceptive observer of leadership and organizational dynamics since Peter Drucker, and this is his best work so far. The book weaves together evolutionary psychology, modern cognitive theory, and real life examples in a lively and creative synthesis that is essential reading for anyone interested in answering the question, “Who shall rule?”Robert Hogan, Ph.D. President, Hogan Assessment Systems
I read lots of leadership books, and this is one of the best—it’s intelligent, wide-ranging, and eminently practical. If you’re a leader, or want to be one, read it!Gary Hamel, Visiting Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the London Business School and Director of the Management Innovation eXchange
Most books on leadership leave me cold – not this one. This book is full of wisdom and insight, as well as displaying empathy for business leaders today. It is relevant, intelligent and inspiring yet makes you think. The book also helps you reflect on your own style of leadership in an insightful manner.Chris Cracknell, CEO OCS Group Ltd
Leaders infect many through their emotional contagion – positively or negatively. But they are human. Nigel Nicholson will captivate you with charming and at times disturbing stories of leaders with whom he has worked and those that have affected all of us. In a rare feat, Nigel has done on paper what he does in his classes – reached out and given us hope that we can be better, using touching stories to show the path to new possibilities. Distinguished University Professor Richard Boyatzis, Departments of Psychology, Cognitive Science and Organizational Behavior, Case Western Reserve University, Adjunct Professor of Human Resources, ESADE, co-author with Dan Goleman and Annie McKee of the international best seller, Primal Leadership, and co-author with Annie McKee of Resonant Leadership.
The world has many books on leadership and many teachers on leadership. Having had the real pleasure of teaching alongside Nigel Nicholson, it is no surprise to find a bold and iconoclastic teacher producing a quirky, funny and insightful book, daring, for instance, to begin it with George W Bush. I am usually a sceptic about leadership manuals but this is the exception, original and highly readable.’Ian, Baron Blair of Boughton, Former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police
The “”I of Leadership” gives a critical message and a compelling business case for the leader to understand themselves as the foundation for the decisions and actions taken. Who you are matters in everything you do as a leader. Whether you are a developing leader or experienced leader, Nicholson’s brilliantly written book will give you a cutting edge advantage in the face of paradoxes and dilemmas. The stories of well-known leaders who succeeded or failed make the case for understanding and not necessarily s imitating. Every leader is unique and never to be replicated based on who you are. This book goes back to Socrates’ profound advice to every leader “know thy self”.George Kohlrieser, Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour, IMD,N award winning author of Hostage at the Table and Care to Dare
Leadership is both a broad and specific field, there are many types of leader in many different areas but they nevertheless share some key traits, this book does a great job of delving into this contradiction and sets itself apart from the crowd of leadership manuals by providing insight and enough expertise to interest even a casual reader. It could certainly be of use to a great number of my colleagues who might have some grasp of political leadership but often know very little about business leadership and it is certainly one of the most comprehensive looks at leadership that I’ve come across.Rt.Hon. Peter Hain, MP, former Labour Cabinet Minister.
Nigel Nicholson achieves the rare feat of being both original and practical, and entertaining and insightful. This book is genuinely different and thought provoking: it sets leadership in the context of history, evolutionary science and the latest thinking on psychology, but remains grounded in a reality that all leaders will recognise day to day. Richly illustrated with cases from arts, history, business and politics the book is a compelling read.Jo Owen, author of the best-selling How to Lead (Pearson).
The proverb, “if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch,” is far too often the case in the field of leadership studies. In a domain, cluttered with explorations of the obvious, Nigel Nicholson has done it again. His book, The ‘I’ of Leadership: Strategies for seeing, being and doing, takes a refreshing, extremely original look at this complex subject. The different lens he uses to help leaders acquire deeper insights into the causes of success and failure, is second to none. This book is a must for any serious student of leadership.Professor Manfred Kets de Vries, INSEAD.
Leaders do face different challenges as the time progresses. But the essence of what makes one decide in what we can in hindsight call ‘the right way’ does not change. Nigel Nicholson has captured the answers to always intriguing question why some people succeed in becoming great leaders and which ingredients make a good leader. Nicholson has a researched view, based on his own academic views on how individual people develop, but Nigel is at the same time refreshingly pragmatic in his approach. A must read for every leader (to be)!
Marten Pieters LLM, MD and CEO Vodafone India Ltd.
Three comments on this wonderful book: #1. Beware. If you pick up it, you will not put it down. #2. Pick it up. You will learn a lot. Who you are as leader will change (because you will know more about leadership) and “Who you are matters. What you do with who you are matters even more.” (from Chapter 1). #3. Don’t wait. Our world is never going to slow down but you can get ahead of the curve with what you learn here.
J. Keith Murnighan is the Harold H. Hines Jr. Distinguished Professor of Risk Management, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University and author of Do Nothing! How to Stop Overmanaging and Become a Great Leader (Portfolio/Penguin, 2012).
In these times of transformation there is a lot of talk about leadership but not enough clear analysis. That is what this book brings – not just on the skills but on the nature of leadership itself. This book is profound, practical and compelling reading. Its many stories and ideas provide the strategic and tactical guidance that any of us might need when called upon to lead.Jesús Díaz de la Hoz, Executive Partner, PwC.
Nicholson’s “The ‘I’ of Leadership” offers a fresh perspective to seemingly non-fresh world of leadership books. By focusing on character, he insightfully charts out differences between leaders (e.g., Bush versus Blair), and highlights what the rest of us can do to become great leaders. Nicholson’s examples make the book a page turner, while enticing the reader to gain tremendous self-insight into their own leadership roles.
Max H. Bazerman; Straus Professor, Harvard Business School
What a wonderfully fresh and direct way of writing about human behaviour. For sheer observational skill, range of scientific knowledge and story-telling ability, it is reminiscent of the insights of Erving Goffman, but applied to the intriguing topic of what sets leaders apart. The Seeing-Being-Doing Model is a landmark contribution to psychology.
Jules Goddard, author of Uncommon Sense, Common Nonsense: Why some organisations consistently outperform others. (Profile Books).
Very perceptive and thought provoking book about leaders and leadership. Each leader has a story but it is a story in progress, a story that probably could be written in different ways. But behind the story is what Nigel calls the ‘I’ of Leadership, the consciousness of the leaders , their self management and strategy. Leaders matter because what they do, or refrain from doing, affects us but the book is not about global leaders and celebrities, it is about all of us because we all experience that ‘Moment’, the Leadership Moment when we have to act.Mo Ibrahim, founder of Celtel and Chairman of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.
Alpha males are driven by self interest. They can either serve others’ interest at the same time or operate at the expense of others. In chimpanzees, as in humans, the first kind of leader is very popular, but the second kind better watches his back. Nigel Nicholson engagingly explains all possible variations on this theme for our own species. Frans de Waal, author of The Bonobo and the Atheist
Oh no, not another book on leadership. Nope, this is not just another book. It is THE book. It is a lifetime’s work. It could not be further from the glib easy-to-follow biz books out there, celebrating the latest fad. The scope of it is huge – covering philosophy, science, anthropology, history, politics, psychology and especially narrative. We can be authors of our lives. And this book reads like a great story. From Nicholson’s rigour emerge some simple, highly useful models. Keep it close by. I intend to.
Neil Mullarkey, founder-member of London’s Comedy Store Players & communication consultant
A magnificent sweep on the different ways to approach and improve leadership, with many original insights and observations on what distinguishes the great leaders from those who have failed to have the lasting impact which is demanded of a person in a leadership position.Stuart Roden, Senior Partner, Lansdowne Partners.
Nigel Nicholson is a renowned educator, thinker, writer, and commentator on business. He is Professor of Organizational Behaviour at the London Business School, where he directs executive leadership programmes including High Performance People Skills, and the unique Proteus Programme.