Book review by Douglas Searle - Leadership: A Critical Text by Simon Western
This book is a challenging read for two reasons. On a positive note, Simon Western certainly knows his stuff; throughout the book he challenges you to think in depth about the complex business of leadership and how we, as leaders and managers, fit into wider society, and the responsibilities this entails. This leads you to question and evaluate your own style of management and also the styles of those you have been managed by in the past.
The second and somewhat negative reason for this being a challenging read results from the author's very obvious background in academia. At times the book was too verbose to be easily read and on occasion I had to read a sentence several times in order to understand what was actually being said. Unless you are used to academic texts on leadership or management, this is likely to be a difficult book to get into.
The subject of the book covers the many facets of leadership and management and how we, as leaders and managers, fit into wider society. As such it applies to all levels and career stages of managers; that said, the language is such that those without a background in ‘management speak’ are likely to find it hard going and the points Simon Western makes elusive. This is a shame, as the techniques described in the book would be useful to managers across the career level in improving both their management styles and their role in society.
For those with a grounding in academic language I would rate this book 4 Stars, for those without I could only rate it 2.5 Stars; the ideas are excellent but if they are not communicated in a manner in which people can understand then they will be lost.
4 stars: Strong, strongly recommended for managers and leaders