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What Makes Great Leaders Great

Book Description

Master the skills that icons throughout history have used to achieve the highest levels of success

“This is an intelligent, knowledgeable presentation of management. The pragmatic approach of learning from icons makes the book extremely worthwhile reading for up-and-coming and experienced managers alike.”

—Dr. Helmut O. Maucher, Honorary Chairman of the Board, Nestlé

“Embracing a broad variety of successful personalities from all walks of life, this analysis of management skills makes for interesting reading and provides a great source of inspiration."

—Dr. Josef Ackermann, Chairman of the Management Board and the Group Executive Committee, Deutsche Bank AG

“Arnold cleverly explains the keys to successful management with references to real-life challenges successfully overcome by iconic leaders. This entertaining book is insightful, thought-provoking, and of immense practical value.”

—Fred B. Irwin, President, American Chamber of Commerce in Germany

“Profound management know-how and coverage of a wide range of valuable issues provide great inspiration for anyone seeking to apply effective management principles in practice.”

—Professor Klaus Evard, founder and former President of the European Business School

“Management know-how translates into knowledge of how to succeed in all levels of life, and everyone can learn to be successful. That is the simple premise behind this book.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

What do Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, Pablo Picasso, and Napoleon have in common?


It doesn’t matter what your field of expertise is, whom you know, or how educated you are. If you have powerful management skills, you will succeed; if you don’t, you’ll hit the ceiling sooner rather than later.

In What Makes Great Leaders Great, bestselling author and leadership expert Frank Arnold gathers 56 icons from various fields—from business and sports to politics and pop culture—to reveal the specific management skills they used to reach the top.

For every line of work or personal goal, effectively applying these management skills will lead to ultimate success. All the people in this remarkably diverse group figured out what they needed to know to manage their rise to the top—and executed it with superb skill. What Makes Great Leaders Great includes:

Bill Gates on harnessing the power of a business mission

Nicolaus Copernicus on questioning every assumption

Phil Knight on fine-tuning the right strategy

Michael Dell on making the customer your number-one priority

Michelangelo on focusing on a single objective

Joseph Schumpeter on practicing creative destruction

Roger Federer on self-motivation

Hippocrates on behaving responsibly

Steve Jobs on implementing ideas

Ray Kroc on envisioning the future

Gen. George Patton on clearly defining assignments

Warren Buffett on demanding effective management

Stephen Hawking on making the best use of your time

Pablo Picasso on fostering life-long creativity

Muhammad Yunus on looking beyond your own interests

Learn from the best in the business—and history—how to leverage your skills, knowledge, and talent to reach levels of success you never dreamed possible.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. What Makes Great Leaders Great
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Dedication
  5. Contents
  6. Preface
  7. Introduction
  8. Part 1: Managing Organizations
    1. Chapter 1: Harness the Power of a Business Mission
    2. Chapter 2: Create Customer Value
    3. Chapter 3: Make Effective Decisions
    4. Chapter 4: Recognize the True Nature of the Problem
    5. Chapter 5: Make the Right Compromise
    6. Chapter 6: Just Do It! Keep Fine-Tuning the Right Strategy
    7. Chapter 7: Structure Your Organization Around the Customer
    8. Chapter 8: Be Productive
    9. Chapter 9: Demand Effective Management
    10. Chapter 10: Understand Profit, Strive for Independence
    11. Chapter 11: Harness Information
    12. Chapter 12: Understand Your Sphere of Action
    13. Chapter 13: Recognize Inflection Points and Utilize Performance Indicators
    14. Chapter 14: Secure Feedback
  9. Part 2: Managing Innovation
    1. Chapter 15: Implement Ideas
    2. Chapter 16: Remember, Innovations Are Rarely Welcomes with Open Arms
    3. Chapter 17: Question Every Assumption
    4. Chapter 18: Innovate Systematically
    5. Chapter 19: Exploit Success
    6. Chapter 20: Practice Purposeful Abandonment
    7. Chapter 21: Practice Creative Destruction
    8. Chapter 22: Combine Existing Know-How with Other Knowledge to Create Something New
    9. Chapter 23: Exploit Opportunities Arising from New Technologies
    10. Chapter 24: Recognize the Future That Has Already Happened
  10. Part 3: Managing People
    1. Chapter 25: Focus on a Single Objective
    2. Chapter 26: Create a Perfect Whole
    3. Chapter 27: Be Results Driven
    4. Chapter 28: Draw on Your Strengths
    5. Chapter 29: Manage by Objectives
    6. Chapter 30: Plan Meticulously
    7. Chapter 31: Be True to Your Own Values
    8. Chapter 32: Surround Yourself with Good People
    9. Chapter 33: Create a Culture of Effectiveness
    10. Chapter 34: Nurture and Develop People
    11. Chapter 35: Invest in Training
    12. Chapter 36: Seek Wise Dialogue Partners
    13. Chapter 37: Clearly Define Jobs and Assignments
    14. Chapter 38: Establish Effective Cooperation
    15. Chapter 39: Recognize the Most Important Promotion
    16. Chapter 40: Embody Integrity
    17. Chapter 41: Harness the Potential of Women
    18. Chapter 42: Make Intelligent Use of Your Time
    19. Chapter 43: Perfect Your Own Working Methods
    20. Chapter 44: Create Trust
    21. Chapter 45: Make a Life Plan: What Will Your Most Important Contribution Be?
    22. Chapter 46: Be Demanding of Yourself and Strive for Perfection
    23. Chapter 47: Find Meaning; Then Use It!
    24. Chapter 48: Harness the Power of Discipline
    25. Chapter 49: Motivate Yourself
    26. Chapter 50: Derive Enjoyment from Your Profession
    27. Chapter 51: Think Constructively
    28. Chapter 52: Act Responsibly
    29. Chapter 53: Foster Creativity All Life Long
    30. Chapter 54: Assume Responsibility
    31. Chapter 55: Look After Yourself
    32. Chapter 56: Commit Yourself to More Than Just Your Own Well-Being
  11. Epilogue
  12. Bibliography
  13. Notes
  14. Index