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The Leadership Challenge, Fourth Edition
James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner

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Format: Paperback, 416pp.
ISBN: 9780787984922
Publisher: Jossey-Bass
Pub. Date: 4th edition August 11, 2008

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

The most trusted resource on becoming a leader, updated and revised for a new generation

This leadership classic continues to be a bestseller after three editions and twenty years in print. It is the gold standard for research-based leadership, and the premier resource on becoming a leader. This new edition, with streamlined text, more international and business examples, and a graphic redesign, is more readable and accessible to business readers than ever before, and will prove to be the best edition yet. The Leadership Challenge, Fourth Edition, has been extensively updated with the latest research and case studies, and offers inspiring new and relevant stories of real people achieving extraordinary results. The book’s central theme remains the same and is more relevant today than ever: "Leadership is Everyone’s Business"–whether in business, politics, government, education, religion, or any other context. Its "five practices" and "ten commitments" have been proven by hundreds of thousands of dedicated, successful leaders.

The authors have also taken this opportunity to underscore that not only is leadership everyone’s business, but that it is a relationship–one of personal self-development and the development of those being led. The Fourth Edition emphasizes the global community and refocuses the book on business leaders, and includes almost one-third brand-new material.

The Leadership Challenge has become one of the best-selling leadership books of all time. Now, with the publication of the fourth edition of their landmark book, Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner celebrate twenty-five years of leadership excellence.

The Leadership Challenge—the most trusted source on becoming a better leader—has been thoroughly updated and revised for a new generation of leaders living and working in a global environment. Building on the knowledge base of the previous books, the fourth edition is grounded in research and presents extensive interviews with a diverse group of leaders at all levels in a wide variety of organizations from around the world. The authors emphasize that the fundamentals of leadership are not a fad. While the context of leadership has changed dramatically, the content of leadership has endured the test of time.

With scores of new case studies and a timeless and inspiring message, The Leadership Challenge is a "personal coach in a book," guiding readers through the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®. When leaders understand that leadership is a relationship and they begin to engage in the Five Practices— Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart—they are better able to embark on a lifetime of success and significance.

What's New in the Fourth Edition of The Leadership Challenge?

First, let's start with what's not new. Those familiar with the previous three editions of The Leadership Challenge can rest assured that The Five Practices have remained intact, just as they have for more than a quarter century. In this new edition, you will not find a magical sixth practice that will revolutionize the conduct of leadership, and nothing in the authors' research suggests that any of The Five Practices are suddenly irrelevant.

As Leadership Challenge devotees have come to expect, this new edition finds its roots firmly planted in solid research. This evidence-based leadership foundation is surrounded by inspirational best practices stories from real leaders. And this is where "what's new" comes into play. Ninety percent of the case examples in this fourth edition are new, reflecting the current environment in which we live and lead. This edition is also focuses more intently on the leadership essentials, making it a simpler, crisper read. Another noticeable change from the previous edition is the inclusion of more cases from outside the United States. The Leadership Challenge has been translated into twelve other languages, and the authors wanted to more prominently feature leaders from around the globe in this new edition.

You may also notice some slight rephrasing of 5 of the 10 Commitments of Exemplary Leadership. As the years go by, the authors continue to learn from their own research. As a result, they felt that refining certain commitments would only serve to give readers a better understanding of the practice in which they belong. The new commitments are as follows:

1. Clarify values by finding your voice and affirming shared ideals.
5. Search for opportunities by seizing the initiative and by looking outward for innovative ways to improve.
6. Experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from experience.
7. Foster collaboration by building trust and facilitating relationships.
8. Strengthen others by increasing self-determination and developing competence.

Over the next few months, these changes in the 10 Commitments will be implemented in most of The Leadership Challenge and LPI materials currently available.

In addition, Jim has started writing a periodic blog on Amazon.com and his first entry is about this new edition. You will find the blog whenever you visit a page for any Kouzes and Posner book. Future entries, appearing about once or twice a month, will discuss updates on recent work, notes from the road, and answers to customer's questions. Check it out!

To sum it all up, The Leadership Challenge, Fourth Edition features:
  • 90% new case examples
  • More cases from outside the United States
  • Solid research and evidence-based principles
  • Refinement of several Commitments
  • A crisp read with a continued focus on the essentials of leadership

More Information on The Leadership ChallengePDF

Learn More About The Leadership Challenge Approach
FAQs About the Five Practices Model from The Leadership Challenge


"This book is one of the very best on the topic of leadership, offering extraordinary stories from leaders at various ages and stages of their lives. Whether you're now in a leadership role and want to further strengthen and hone your skills, or you simply have the desire to learn to make a difference and help guide your company— or even friends and family members— to higher levels of success, you'll benefit by reading The Leadership Challenge."
—David S. Pottruck, president & co-CEO, The Charles Schwab Corporation

"The first edition was seminal and totally original. It became a modern classic on leadership practically overnight. With this new edition, with new cases and concepts and action steps that are even riper and more important, Kouzes and Posner go way beyond their earlier work and have made yet another brilliant contribution to leadership studies. This new book, a product of an unusual collaboration, is essential reading for everyone involved or concerned with leading."
—Warren Bennis, distinguished professor of business administration, University of Southern California, and author, Geeks and Geezers: Crucibles of Leading and Learning

"From the ten commitments of leadership to the emphasis on actions and relationships, this valuable book is full of enduring wisdom and practical insights essential for success in challenging times."
—Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School, best-selling author of Evolve!: Succeeding in the Digital Culture of Tomorrow

"For twenty-five years I have written about and taught leadership. The Leadership Challenge is one of the five best books I have ever read. I continually recommend it to others."
—John C. Maxwell, founder, The INJOY Group, and author, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

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Reader's Index 
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About the Authors

James M. Kouzes is Dean's Executive Professor of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University. Barry Z. Posner, Ph.D. is Dean of the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University. Kouzes and Posner are the coauthors of A Leader's Legacy, Credibility, Encouraging the Heart, and The Leadership Challenge Workbook, and over a dozen other books and workbooks on leadership and leadership development. They also developed the highly acclaimed Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) and LPI Online, 360-degree assessment tools based on the Five Practices.

Table of Contents

Preface: Everyone's Business- Leadership for Today and Tomorrow
1The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership
2Credibility Is the Foundation of Leadership
3Find Your Voice
4Set the Example
5Envision the Future
6Enlist Others
7Search for Opportunities
8Experiment and Take Risks
9Foster Collaboration
10Strengthen Others
11Recognize Contributions
12Celebrate the Values and Victories
13Leadership Is Everyone's Business
Appendix: Guide to the Research
About the Authors

Customer Reviews
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