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Powerful leadership learning and current thinking on coaching

Welcome to our book reviews

Take a look at the books that have stood the test of time in leadership and coaching.  

You'll find reviews and author interview clips below.

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Bob Hughes, Forton Group CEO & Creator of the Leadership Book Club

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Book Reviews

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The Fulfilling Workplace: Ronald J Burke & Cary L Cooper (Gower 2012)

The Fulfilling Workplace Ronald J Burke Cary L Cooper


The sub-title to this weighty tome is “The organisation’s role in achieving individual and organisational health” and the editors – Burke and Cooper – have enlisted a serious collection of academics from the field of organisational psychology to provide 14 scholarly articles on the subject-matter. It is 314 pages in length, fully referenced (as one would expect) and is definitely not bed-time reading!

Setting the context for the book from the economic and corporate travails of the last 5 years, the core theme centres around the individual barriers to productive work and the challenges of operating in an environment of organisational mayhem. It also investigates individuals as the cause of dysfunction at both a team and an organisational level. The book’s proposition is that a healthy workplace can be achieved by the development of healthy individuals and a healthy working environment. The concept of the ‘healthy workplace’ is defined as one in which individuals are able to bring personal resources, healthy practices, beliefs, attitudes, and values into a working environment in which the organisation of work adds value to the individual’s collective skills, abilities and experience. They summarise this latter bit as a healthy, non-toxic work environment.

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346 Hits

Beyond the Call - Marc Woods & Steve Coomber (Wiley 2013)

Beyond the Call Marc Woods Steve Coomber


Opening with statement from the influential Edgar Schein “The only thing of real importance that leaders do is to create and manage culture,” the authors go on to discuss the concept of discretionary effort (DE). This is something they feel has been under-researched and under-rated amidst all of the interest in organisational commitment and employee engagement of the last 30 years.

The book’s aim is to close the discretionary effort gap - between what people actually do and what they are potentially prepared and able to do. It is compiled from the authors’ own experience of the work environment, interviews they conducted, a review of the relevant literature, and from research done by Dr Christopher Rotolo at NY University. This last source supplies their definition for discretionary effort: “the effort that employees choose to exert in service to themselves, their co-workers, or their employers.” Put another way, it is the extent to which employees are prepared to perform above and beyond their job description - ‘beyond the call of duty.’

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  352 Hits
352 Hits

“Transformative HR” – John Boudreau & Ravin Jesuthasan

Transformative HR John Boudreau Ravin Jesuthasan


This is a book that ostensibly has a very clear mission: to champion the cause of evidence-based HR management. There is, however, a ‘sub-plot’ which relates to the need for HR professionals to be able to operate with their colleagues from other functions on a level playing field; one on which they can display the full spectrum of their talents.

The authors lead the reader through a well-argued thesis based on the assertion that the HR function is still evolving; from the personnel department to task-focussed HR, the function is now in the process of shifting its orbit around the centrality of human capital. These authors believe that the emphasis is on decision-making, with a far greater logic and analytical rigour than heretofore.

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  362 Hits
362 Hits

“From Complexity to Simplicity” – Simon Collinson & Melvin Jay

 From Complexity to Simplicity Simon Collinson Melvin Jay

Okay: so let’s be clear from the start – Collinson and Jay have a consultancy to promote. Cunningly called The Simplicity Partnership, it provides business consulting to a range of impressive clients. All of which is fine, since their approach is something that I’ve been interested in for a while; hence my enthusiasm to review their book, which is targeted at all business managers and leaders.

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  461 Hits
461 Hits

New Psychology of Leadership – the Identity, Influence and Power Haslam, Reicher, Platow (2011)

 New Psychology of Leadership the Identity Influence and Power S Alexander Haslam



Whether or not leadership is successful depends on context.

 Leadership is not a quality of leaders per se but rather of the relationship between leaders and followers.

Leadership is not just about existing social realities but also about the transformation of social reality.


 This book moves the discussion about leadership onwards, and the authors focus on our identification with the “we” and the associated notion of how we behave. In this respect, it draws from a classic psychological tenet of social identity theory.

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  482 Hits
482 Hits