Document Type

Book Chapter


Behavioral and Organizational Sciences (CGU)

Publication Date



Industrial and Organizational Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Leadership is indisputably one of the most discussed, studied, and written-about topics in our society. A keyword search in the Expanded Academic Index for occurrences of the word "leadership" in a title or abstract reveals over 1,200 citations in the year 2000 alone. A subject search of "leadership" on returns more than 6,300 books on the subject, and over 1,400 hardcover books with leadership in the title are offered (Krohe, 2000). From Jesus CEO to 1001 Ways to Take Initiative at Work, fortunes are made (or not!) and fades are launched by many of these titles. But what wisdoms and lessons are truly to be gleaned from this popular genre of leadership writings? What techniques and approaches are most frequently utilized to deliver these so-called truisms? What can these leadership books tell us about how our society views the construct of leadership? And perhaps most importantly, how does this vast array of cultural knowledge about leadership and leadership processes affect leader-follower interactions? To answer these questions, we embarked on a qualitative and quantitative study of popular leadership books in order to understand this unique and fascinating genre.


Copyright © 2004 From The Psychology of Leadership: New Perspectives and Research by D. M. Messick & R. M. Kramer. Reproduced by permission of Taylor and Francis Group, LLC, a division of Informa plc.

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© 2004 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC, a division of Informa plc.