Bookcase In Stark Contrast

The Naked Leader
By: David Taylor
Publisher: Bantam
Price: $27.95

This is new revised edition of book first published last year. We didn’t review it first time round and, given that it has sold pretty well it deserves consideration. Not too much however.
In one sense, this is classic. Classic branding, packaging and marketing. Find clever name, even if it has been used before – The Naked Chef, The Naked Civil Servant and so on. And repackage age-old tried and tested wisdom – in simple and accessible style.
Author David Taylor was, said New Zealand Herald journalist Ashley Campbell when she interviewed him, “refreshingly honest about the content of his guide to self fulfilment and business success”.
And what was he honest about? “I’m not pretending there is anything new in this book at all.” Agreed. The difference then is in the presentation – it has, apparently, sold 24,000 copies in Britain since it was published.
The Naked Leader was born when the author experienced “a breakthrough in thinking”, prompted by questioning member of an audience he was addressing.
This breakthrough, he writes, “helped to explain why some ideas work spectacularly well in one organisation, but achieve nothing in another”. And what was that jolt of comprehension? “If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got.” Wow!
Taylor’s four-step formula for guaranteed success is equally revealing and he exposes it ad nauseam: know where you want to go; know where you are now; know what you have to do, to get where you want to go; do it!
And from the author’s distillation of “hundreds of other, more complex success definitions” emerge his seven principles of naked leadership.
* Success is formula, and it is simple.
* The formula does not belong to anyone – it belongs to everyone.
* To be successful you need to rely on no one other than yourself.
* Success is whatever you want it to be, it is yours to define.
* Success can happen very fast, often in heartbeat.
* Everyone has value, can be anything they want, and is leader.
* The biggest mystery of life is to discover who we truly are.
The greater mystery to me is how writer of this genre can turn formula as simple as this into book of 350 pages and sell it by the thousands.
Not exactly my kind of book but for devotees of the school of self improvement, very cleverly presented.

The Use & Abuse of Office Politics
By: Mark Holden
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Price: $29.95

The Naked Manager’s author David Taylor said in the Herald interview quoted above that: “One of the reasons we have office politics… is because most people want to gain power. They believe the way to gain power is to take power from someone else.”
He’s probably right. So if you want to play to the office politics game properly, The Use and Abuse of Office Politics is the book for you. It is not, however, about playing at someone else’s expense – though you could of course use it for that purpose. It is written, rather, for readers who want to better understand the phenomena and maybe use it in “ethical, practical and strategic way”.
This is meaty reading, but it is insightful, well researched, and interesting. It is written for thoughtful managers and leaders of medium to large enterprises. Negative organisational politics waste personal energy. Office politics takes people away from their work and distracts them from focusing on the business at hand. By understanding and practising positive politics individuals find greater job satisfaction, Holden argues.
The book explains how politics work, provides model for building positive political environment, suggests using the process to build positive personal reputation, explains how to use networks positively, provides insights into why we behave as we do – including our sexual behaviour at the office, and more.
A useful book for leaders who really want to understand the people they work with, and not just manipulate them.

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