The pairings are sometimes surprising, bordering on the eccentric — Walt Disney and Coco Chanel are “The Founders”; Albert Einstein and Leonard Bernstein “The Geniuses”; William Tweed, the corrupt Tammany Hall boss, and Margaret Thatcher “The Power Brokers”. But their stories, distilled from many longer biographies, are deftly and compellingly told. The book’s call for a redefinition of leadership as a complex, dynamic system — to which leaders, their followers and the context all contribute — is wise, insightful and timely.
As well as examining various origins, styles and outcomes of leadership, Leaders also serves as a fascinating history lesson, taking the reader on an almost Forrest Gump-esque tour through pivotal historic events. The understandable difficulty in narrowing down the core list from hundreds is highlighted, and yet you feel the aim of presenting a diverse representation has been achieved... Leaders may offer a surfeit of detail on some of the lesser-known characters that will annoy some, but all in all this is an engaging, highly readable work.