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WHY DO SO MANY
HOW TO FIX IT)
REVIEW PRESS, 2019
Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic is known for his
controversial opinions and his latest book, Why
do so many incompetent men become leaders?
(and how to fix it), is no exception – the title
alone will raise a few eyebrows.
In his opening chapter he poses this question,
if most leaders are perceived to be bad (he’s got
the stats to back this up), and most leaders are
male (82.9 per cent of Australia’s CEOs are
male), then what are the odds that these two
things are linked? The rest of the book is his
answer to that question.
Setting the scene, he quotes a survey in
which Americans were asked to think of a
well-known female leader in the tech space.
A staggering 92 per cent were unable to think
of anyone and eight per cent said “Siri” or
“Alexa”. If that’s not an indication that we have
a clear lack of visible female leaders, I don’t
know what is.
His chapter titled, ‘Why Bad Guys Win’,
points to Steve Jobs as the classic example of
a male leader who climbed his way to the top
despite some not so admireable leadership
qualities. “As we do with many tormented
artists, we tend to see Jobs’s personality quirks
as inseparable from his genius”.
He argues the myth that male leaders
are more competent boils dow n to a lack of
obstacles, a celebration of men’s character f laws
and confidence disguised as competence.
His writing is punchy, unapologetic and, at
times, a touch sarcastic. This style is right up my
alley, but it might not be everyone’s cup of tea;
he doesn’t hold back.
Part of what makes this book work is not
just the message, but the messenger. Having a
male outline the inadequacies of his gender’s
leadership traits drives the message home. If a
woman was to pen a similar book there’d be
many readers ready to file it in the misandry
pile, that is if they read it at all.
Chamorro-Premuzic asks that readers
approach his book with “an open mind and a
healthy degree of skepticism,” as it offers advice
that differs from the usual “fake it ‘til you make
it” rhetoric. In my opinion, that’s a good thing
because the traditional approach doesn’t seem to
be working. •••
EARNING IT: HARD-
WON LESSONS FROM
AT THE TOP OF THE
BY JOANN S. LUBLIN
HARPER BUSINESS, 2016
Journalist Joann S. Lublin shares an
important trait with the 52 female executives
she interviewed: they all pushed through
multiple barriers to succeed in their respective
fields. getAbstract recommends this well
structured, but sometimes repetitive,
compilation to women who are focusing on
moving ahead in their careers, and to men
who are seeking to understand the challenges
that some women face in the workplace.
SELECTED: WHY SOME
PEOPLE LEAD, WHY
OTHERS FOLLOW, AND
WHY IT MATTERS
BY MARK VAN VUGT AND
PROFILE BOOKS, 2010
Thousands of books discuss how to become
a great leader. This unusual book discusses
the ‘why’ of leadership. Why do leaders exist,
why do they lead and why do others follow
them? Psychology professor Mark van Vugt
and London Times writer A njana Ahuja take
you back two million years, when humanity’s
ancestors first walked upright in African
savannahs, clustering in groups for protection
and following leaders who could help them
stay alive. Leadership proves so ancient that it
predates language. The instincts for leadership
and followership are hard-wired into human
brains. This book will engage all kinds of
leaders, although Machiavellian types may be
distinctly uncomfortable to see their sinister
traits analysed with such devastating precision.
We know there are less women in
leadership roles. So how can we
help them rise to the top?
BY K ATE NEILSON
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