Transforming Leadership by James MacGregor Burns
The Pursuit of Happiness

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Synopsis

In 1978, James MacGregor Burns published Leadership, his seminal examination of how leaders shape the course of history by transforming followers into creative new leaders. The book quickly became the cornerstone of the emerging field of leadership studies, which has spawned over nine hundred academic programs as well as leadership programs in business and government. Now, twenty-five years later, Burns expands the subject, offering a new vision—Transforming Leadership—focusing on the ways that leaders emerge from being ordinary "transactional" brokers and deal makers to become true agents of principled social change who empower their followers to achieve freedom and happiness.

As a historian, Burns illuminates the evolution of leadership structures, from the chieftainships of tribal African societies, through Europe's absolute monarchies, to the blossoming of the Enlightenment vision of liberty that came to full flower with the Declaration of Independence's "Pursuit of Happiness." Along the way he looks at key moments in leadership—including both great triumphs and grand failures—in men and women, from African leaders to Elizabeth I, James Madison, Napoleon, Mao, Gandhi, and many others. The book culminates in a bold and innovative plan to address the greatest global leadership challenge of the twenty-first century: the seemingly intractable problem of global poverty.

Engagingly written, original, and provocative, Transforming Leadership is a powerful book that will fire controversy and conversation in classrooms and boardrooms throughout the country.

 

About James MacGregor Burns

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James MacGregor Burns is Senior Scholar at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond and the Woodrow Wilson Professor of Government Emeritus at Williams College.
 
Published February 1, 2003 by Atlantic Monthly Press. 320 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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