Power Book Summary - Power Book explained in key points
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Power summary

Jeffrey Pfeffer

Why Some People Have It And Others Don’t

4.2 (108 ratings)
16 mins

Brief summary

Power by Jeffrey Pfeffer is an eye-opening book that reveals the harsh realities of how power works in the workplace. It advocates for the importance of learning from powerful people and acquiring power oneself in order to succeed in today's competitive world.

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    Many of us mistakenly believe that power and success is earned by people who follow the rules.

    Every day you work hard at your job: you come in early, find a way to accomplish all your tasks and responsibilities and you stay late into the night, burning the midnight oil.

    With all that you do, you’re convinced that a promotion is right around the corner, just as soon as the boss notices all your hard work.

    But actually, you could be waiting a long time, because a broad range of studies have shown that there’s not much of a link between job performance and promotions. For example, a study on Fokker — a Dutch aircraft manufacturer — found that white-collar workers were only 12 percent more likely to be promoted when they received a performance rating of “very good,” as opposed to merely “good.”

    And this leads us to a common misunderstanding: many people mistakenly assume that positions of power and prestige are earned by people who deserve them. In other words, most of us think that the world is a fair place, a mindset that was first described by psychologist Melvin Lerner as the just-world hypothesis. We think that successful people are the ones who follow the rules.

    This viewpoint prevents us from adopting techniques used by people who have achieved their power through nefarious means. When we see someone who got to the top by using a slightly underhanded or ruthless approach — maybe by taking a little too much credit for a team project or by being rude with coworkers — we tell ourselves, “He’ll get what’s coming to him!” Since we take it for granted that their bad behavior will somehow be punished, we don’t bother to learn from their success.

    But that mindset is way too limiting, because we’re missing out on a wide range of useful tips and techniques just because we don’t like the people who use them.

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    What is Power about?

    Power (2010) is a realpolitik guide to leading a successful career. It offers unusual insights and advice you wouldn’t normally find in other career literature, with tips and techniques you can start using now to achieve long-term success.

    Power Review

    Power (2010) by Jeffrey Pfeffer is an insightful exploration of the dynamics of power in the workplace and how individuals can harness it for success. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With its extensive research and real-world examples, it provides a pragmatic understanding of power and offers practical strategies to navigate organizational politics.
    • The book sheds light on the dark side of power, highlighting the ethical implications and potential pitfalls, providing a well-rounded perspective.
    • By uncovering the hidden truths about power dynamics, it challenges conventional thinking and encourages readers to develop a strategic approach for personal and professional growth.

    Best quote from Power

    You dont change the world by first taking a nap.

    —Jeffrey Pfeffer
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    Who should read Power?

    • Anyone who is launching a career
    • Anyone who wants to get promoted
    • Anyone who works in politics

    About the Author

    Jeffrey Pfeffer is a professor at Stanford University, specializing in organizational behavior.

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    Power FAQs 

    What is the main message of Power?

    The main message of Power is that understanding power dynamics is essential for success in business and life.

    How long does it take to read Power?

    The reading time for Power can vary, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Power a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Power is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in understanding the role of power in organizations. It provides valuable insights and practical advice for navigating power dynamics.

    Who is the author of Power?

    The author of Power is Jeffrey Pfeffer.

    What to read after Power?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Power, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Risk Savvy by Gerd Gigerenzer
    • Leadership BS by Jeffrey Pfeffer
    • Smart Leadership by Mark Miller
    • Dying for a Paycheck by Jeffrey Pfeffer
    • Good Strategy, Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt
    • Lincoln on Leadership by Donald T. Phillips
    • How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes
    • How the Mighty Fall by Jim Collins
    • Supercommunicators by Charles Duhigg
    • All It Takes Is a Goal by Jon Acuff