Cover Image: 7 Rules of Power

7 Rules of Power

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Member Reviews

7 Rules of power - Jeffrey Pfeffer

I have been a fan of Jeffrey’s critical view on topics close to my heart, like leadership. I also have been intrigued by his views on power. The moment I saw a new book on power as a review copy on Netgalley, I just jumped at it. Am really thankful to the publisher for making the copy available to me to review just when the book is getting launched.

The book is a brilliant take from multiple perspectives about a framework of power - what enables people to get power. How someone may want to use it to be powerful, or understand others. Jeffrey very brilliantly covered the biggest doubt in my mind - many of us do not want to get that kind of power - by just a simple quote “if you want power to be used for good, more good people need to have power”. He also clarifies that these rules are like tools to be used - the outcome is something he is not responsible for - whether it is for good or for bad. He also digresses on this matter to make some wonderful remarks about the impossibility of teaching ethics to students. All of these inputs are insightful and bring to the mind the need to think more about a lot of what is being taught in business schools today (on ethics).

The book covers each of the seven rules in great detail, with plenty of research and anecdotes backing the rationale behind it. In addition to publicly known famous cases (such as Theranos, Trump) Jeffrey brings in stories about his students who took his courses on power and how they have reacted to their learnings from the course. It almost makes me want to pick up his course and teach it in my b-school (with the fear that I am not one to want to follow these rules, though I want to make the world a better place, teach my students to be better citizens). 

The rules are very simple - easy to recollect and keep tabs - but execution in my view seems to be a huge task. So only those who are clear in their goals and need the power will go the long haul. Rules like ‘get out of your own way’, ‘break the rules’, ‘appear powerful’, …’success excuses almost everything else’, are powerful yet simple.

Though I was completely convinced with all the research and the anecdotes that Jeffrey provides, while reading through the book all I needed to do was to run through each “powerful” person I was seeing around me now and in my past. I was amazed to see how some of the rules like “appear powerful”, “break the rules” and “success excuses almost everything…” were brilliantly played out in real life. I could see people breaking the rules - appearing powerful both through that as as well gaining power through that. People who have ongoing allegations against them getting second terms as leaders of elite institutions and so on and so forth. 

TL&DR: I came away from this book totally bought in to these rules. I highly recommend this book to everyone, especially in the business world. You will learn about how the powerful around you became that way. How you may want to become powerful and improve the organization you are in.
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Sobering and enlightening. As the author says, this book is for those who want to know how the social world really works at the top. And it's not fair.
The book is, at first sight, quite objective- at no point did I feel that we were being sold a course on how to be Machiavellian but rather we were shown how rules of perception and behaviour tend to work at Machiavelli's level.
But I do wonder... Are these responses to power naturally universal? Could a Western value system be an influencing factor? Part of me definitely says no - I study First Century Politics and many of the same rules apply!
But Jesus was a servant leader who (despite abominations by His followers like the Crusades - which He would not have sanctioned) was powerful through loving servant leadership.
This model can really work too. This the book is more of an object lesson in how to avoid power corrupting oneself and how to spot others using these moves against you. And sadly, people will. Great book. Power is a tool but it's also like an electric current. Read this, handle carefully.
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The author shares 7 rules and they are:
1)     Get out of your own way.
2)     Break the rules.
3)     Show up in powerful fashion.
4)     Create a powerful brand.
5)     Network relentlessly.
6)     Use your power.
7)     Understand that once you have acquired power, what you did to get it will be forgiven, forgotten, or both.

Now, if there is anything to read on how to get things done at work, while ensuring that your objectives are aligned with your professional growth then these rules are something to bear in mind.
I liked how this book just reminded me that when it comes to work, you create meaning and it's not the job's responsibility to grant you happiness, that's on you.

Thanks Netgalley for the eARC.
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This is such a good, practical self-help book!

If you love books by Vex King, Robin Sharma and Dale Carnegie definitely give this book a try because it will be so worth it. 

A new favourite author I say!

This book has seven short chapters which will give you different practical tips on how you can get things done, make practical choices to advance on whatever you are working for.

A good book for those who need a little push to get up and actually start doing some basic steps that would push you towards your goals.

Love the real life examples given. 

The writing is really good. The language is perfect even for beginners.

Go for this. Everyone needs motivation most days. And this is the perfect one to start with.

Thank you, BenBella Books, for the advance review copy.
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