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Jeffrey Pfeffer: “Leadership BS” | Talks at Google

Dr. Jeffrey Pfeffer stops by the Googleplex for a conversation with Karen May, VP of People Development.

Too many leadership failures. Too many career derailments. Too many toxic workplaces filled with disengaged, distrustful employees. Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the author of Power, offers an incisive dissection of the multibillion-dollar leadership industry and presents ways to fix its many problems.

In Leadership BS, Jeffrey Pfeffer pulls back the curtain, showing how leadership really works and why so many leadership development efforts fail. In this forthright and persuasive critique, Pfeffer argues that much of the oft-repeated wisdom about leadership is based more on hope than reality, on wishes rather than data, on beliefs instead of science. In an age when transparency is considered a virtue, Pfeffer makes the case that strategic misrepresentation isn’t as harmful as you think, that breached agreements are a part of business, that immodesty is frequently a path to success, and that relying on the magnanimity of your boss is a bad bet.

Using research findings from social psychology, sociology, and sociobiology, and filled with practical, actionable advice, Leadership BS encourages readers to finally stop accepting sugar-laced but toxic potions as cures and to understand the realities of organizations and human behavior.

To make real change, Pfeffer argues, we need to get beyond the half-truths and self-serving stories that are so prominent in the mythology of leadership. In calling BS on so much conventional wisdom, Leadership BS offers both a provocative, scientific examination of how leadership actually works—and how it doesn’t—and a prescription for leaders future and present.

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