Leaders & Warriors

Leadership in the Antipodes: Findings, implications and leader profile.
Edited by: Ken Parry
Publisher: Institute of Policy Studies
Price: $39
Academic but interesting, this 240-page collection of the research writings of clutch of New Zealand and Australian academics is worth the effort for those interested in Antipodean leadership style and influence.
The contributors deliver their findings on: integrated leadership; leadership across cultures (a New Zealand perspective for the copies released here); the influence of leadership on innovation; leadership in the Knowledge Age; managing and leading organisational change; understanding and developing leaders; combining family and leadership role; what the best leaders look like and the leadership and change management styles of four New Zealand prime ministers – David Lange, Geoffrey Palmer, Mike Moore and Jim Bolger.
Parry concludes by pulling the work together with nicely crafted integration of the findings of all nine research projects. The summary, to use his own words, produces profile of the leader of the 21st century. He identifies 11 contemporary leadership characteristics. He claims that the book adds to understanding of “our quite unique [leadership] environment here in the antipodes”. I agree.

The Rich List: Wealth and Enterprise in New Zealand 1820-2000
By: Graeme Hunt
Publisher: Reed
Price: $34.95
Graeme Hunt has put his seven years of editing National Business Review’s annual Rich List to imaginative account. He’s expanded the idea and written book – well-researched read it is too.
Hunt “examines the lives and legacies of New Zealanders who have made their mark on our history through their efforts at wealth creation” and, in some cases, subsequent destruction.
A holiday read, the book is lavishly laced with fascinating historical and contemporary photos and illustrations. It won’t appeal to those who harbour deep-seated Kiwi distaste for success in financial accomplishment rather than sporting endeavour. But is wasn’t written for them – or was it?
Whatever the reader’s predilection to the wealthy, it cannot detract from Hunt’s research and reporting efforts. He wanted to redress balance, he says. “Our history, since the arrival of the first European tells much about governors, land wars, political leaders, Maori renaissance and sporting prowess, but little about those who brought wealth to New Zealand or who created it here by endeavour or stealth.” His point is professionally made.

Working Woman’s Art of War
By: Chin-Ning Chu
Publisher: Harper Collins
Price: $29.95
“From glass slippers to combat boots” declares the subtitle line to this 250-page self/help business book. Like the classic Chinese text of Sun Tsu’s Art of War, this book focuses on the five essential elements of: tao (righteousness), tien (timing), di (death), jian (leadership) and fa (managing). The dust jacket claims that “with these ancient tools of Eastern wisdom, every woman, whether she works at home or in the office, can become innovative, adaptive, creative and happy – and she can win without confrontation”. Wow! That depends.
Chin-Ning Chu, who adorns the back cover in bubble bath, is author of several self-help books and, apparently, an international speaker of some note. The book is not, she writes, “against men”, but “regardless of what men think about how much they know of women, only woman knows how difficult it is to be woman”.
The art of war strategies, as practised by the Chinese for over 3500 years, are “a perfect match for women’s greatest natural strengths” says Chin-Ning. For women, and for men who have read Sun Tsu, this is new slant on an acknowledged source of insprirational leadership, wisdom and insight. The warrior philosophy is “proven vehicle for mastering strategic thinking in the corporate world as well as daily life”. Xena doesn’t rate mention either.

Maverick!
By: Ricardo Semler
Publisher: Arrow
Price: $27.95
Maverick! is an update of the “success story behind the world’s most unusual workplace (Semco)” and its chief executive – not that he calls himself that preferring Senior (con)Sultan – Ricardo Semler. This may be somewhat self-serving promotion exercise but it’s still an enthusiastic read.
It’s hard to imagine exporting the South American culture of Sao Paulo-based Semco to the rather more staid corporate environment that pervades our world, but there are some genuine pearls of wisdom tucked away in this 316-page paperback.
Semler obviously knows how to tap into his native Brazil’s work psyche because Semco is one of Latin America’s fastest-growing companies. Semco isn’t, he says, “socialist”, as some critics claim, and it “isn’t purely capitalist” either. It’s new way. more humane, trusting, productive, exhilarating, and in every sense, rewarding way.”

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