What Business Book May Become Political Ammo?

As we’ve mentioned many times before in this blog, this is not a place for political discussion. However, political stories occasionally cross the border into the domain of business books. That’s our territory! Last night, with so many primaries taking place across the United States, one story in particular sparked my interest.

Carly Fiorina won the Republican nomination for one of California’s U.S. Senate seats. Fiorina will square off with three-term incumbent Barbara Boxer in November. As the respective political camps begin digging the trenches and stocking up on rhetorical ammunition, one wonders how Fiorina will fare when the subjects of leadership and economics are broached during debate. Fiorina’s supporters will obviously point to her success rising through the corporate ranks. Her detractors will likely focus on what happened after she reached the pinnacle of that success.

It’s a subject with which our subscribers are familiar. A few months ago, Soundview summarized Derailed: Five Lessons Learned from Catastrophic Failures of Leadership by Tim Irwin, Ph.D. Fiorina’s failed tenure as CEO of Hewlett-Packard is one of the examples Irwin uses to demonstrate poor leadership. In the summary, Irwin writes, “On Fiorina’s downfall, it is perhaps simplest to conclude that what led to her derailment were the shortcomings she saw abundantly in others but did not acknowledge in herself.”

While Boxer’s campaign could quote from Derailed, doing so would corrupt the intentions of the book’s author. One of Irwin’s primary purposes in writing the book was to use well-publicized downfalls to help executive’s recognize their own vulnerabilities. When Irwin appeared on Soundview’s Author Insight Series (a FREE MP3 podcast available exclusively for subscribers), he said, “What I tried to do was tell readers that, look, these are great individuals, highly competent, strategic, tough-minded and so on, but they made some really fundamental errors. Interestingly enough, these are also the character issues that can derail us.”

The fact that Fiorina overcame her lackluster dismissal from Hewlett-Packard and is now poised to make history supports Irwin’s thinking that character limitations aren’t permanent.

Visit us at Summary.com to learn more about this excellent summary and see our latest summary releases.

Three Must-Read Titles for this Month

They’re hot off the press and ready for your waiting eyes. It’s the newest summaries from Soundview Executive Book Summaries!

Here are this month’s titles:

Executive Presence by Harrison Monarth. Image isn’t everything, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to know how to command a room upon entering it. Perception is a powerful force, and this book can help you understand both how you’re perceived and how to leverage that perception. Think of the executives that you most admire, whether globally known or within your own company. Wouldn’t you like to have a little of that “magic” that they possess? Monarth shows you how to get it.

Some executives have presence … but it doesn’t always translate to success. Our second summary of the month features several tales of tragedy by leaders who underestimated the importance of character. Derailed: Five Lessons Learned from Catastrophic Failures of Leadership is Tim Irwin’s ode to the destructive power of the ego. One important note for readers, this is NOT a tell-all that chronicles tales of embezzlement or fraud. It’s a study of personality and, as the author points out, is intended to cause readers to reflect on their own workplace behavior.

This month also includes a bonus summary for subscribers (but non-subscribers can still purchase a copy!). Diana McLain-Smith’s Divide or Conquer is a timeless look at the interaction of teams. McLain-Smith helps leaders understand that breaking a team down to its individual parts is a misguided management method. Her best advice is to look at a team as the sum of the relationships of its members. This is a great read for executives looking to strengthen teams that operate in multiple locations.

Three great titles to guide you through your next 30 days. Head over to Summary.com and check them out now!