Leadership is essential to collective human endeavor, from setting
and accomplishing goals for a neighborhood block association, to
running a Fortune 500 company, to mobilizing the energies of a
nation. Political philosophers have focused largely on how to
prevent leaders from abusing their power, yet little attention has
been paid to what it actually feels like to hold power, how leaders
go about their work, and how they relate to the people they lead.
In Thinking about Leadership, Nannerl Keohane draws on her
experience as the first woman president of Duke University and
former president of Wellesley College, as well as her expertise as
a leading political theorist, to deepen our understanding of what
leaders do, how and why they do it, and the pitfalls and challenges
they face. Keohane engages readers in a series of questions that
shed light on every facet of leadership. She considers the traits
that make a good leader, including sound judgment, decisiveness,
integrity, social skill, and intelligence; the role that gender
plays in one's ability to attain and wield power; ethics and
morality; the complex relationship between leaders and their
followers; and the unique challenges of democratic leadership. Rich
with lessons and insights from leaders and political thinkers down
through the ages, including Aristotle, Queen Elizabeth I, Franklin
D. Roosevelt, and Nelson Mandela, Thinking about Leadership is a
must-read for current and future leaders, and for anyone concerned
about our prospects for good governance.
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