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Clever: Leading Your Smartest, Most Creative People [Kindle Edition]

Rob Goffee , Gareth Jones
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: £11.39 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

If your company is like most, it has a handful of people who generate disproportionate quantities of value: A researcher creates products that bankroll the entire organization for decades. A manager spots consumer-spending patterns no one else sees and defines new market categories your enterprise can serve. A strategist anticipates global changes and correctly interprets their business implications.

Companies' competitiveness, even survival, increasingly hinge on such "clever people." But the truth is, clever people are as fiercely independent as they are clever-they don't want to be led. So how do you corral these players in your organization and inspire them to achieve their highest potential?

In Clever, Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones offer potent insights drawn from their extensive research. The authors explain how to:

-Identify your clever people and their motivations

-Shelter your "clevers" from political distractions that can inhibit their productivity

-Help clevers generate even more value by creating clever teams

-Manage the unique tensions that can arise when clevers work together

Leading clever people can be enormously challenging, yet doing so effectively is the key to your organization's sustained success. Lively and engaging, this book provides the ideas, practices, and examples you need to create an environment where your most brilliant people can flourish.

Product Description


A terrific new book... these are the people who make the difference between businesses just getting by and excelling. --Financial Times, September 3, 2009

Very smart people add immense value, but can be hard to handle. Here's how to get the best from them.
--Management Today, September 1, 2009

The authors' analysis of 'clevers' and their importance to the knowledge economy is spot on. --People Management, October 1, 2009

Nurture your smartest leaders. They will reward you by leading your business out of the recession. --Coaching At Work, September 1, 2009

'Clever' by Goffee and Jones is longlisted for the FT/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award 2009. --Financial Times, August 10, 2009

Leading clever people can be... frankly, scary. Goffee and Jones have come up with a guide for managers.
--Sunday Times, September 20, 20009

The book's insights from professionals are valuable and revealing... strong on positives and fascinating analysis. Very clever, in fact.
--Business Life, November 1, 2009

If managers want to make the most of their gifted employees they must allow them to get on with it! --The Independent, November 10, 2009

This fascinating book, written by two highly acclaimed academics ...[offers] insight into nurturing gifted employees. --Times Higher Education Supplement, January 28, 2010

Potent insights drawn from extensive research... Leading clever people effectively is the key to your organization's sustained success.
--CSA World, 01 November 2009

This is a provocative and practical book which redefines what it takes to lead your best and brightest people effectively.
--Business Executive, February 1 2010

About the Author

Rob Goffee is Professor of Organizational Behavior at London Business School, where he teaches in the world-renowned Senior Executive Programme.

Gareth Jones is a Fellow of the Centre for Management Development at London Business School and a visiting professor at INSEAD, the international business school in Fontainebleau, France.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 395 KB
  • Print Length: 206 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1422122964
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (1 Sept. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005DI8XQC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #382,507 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Smart - but perhaps not for everyone... 8 July 2009
By Apollo 11 VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
These kind of books - along with self-help manuals - never give you the answers. They just let you believe that they will, which is why people buy them (that, plus zealous publishers over-egg the cover blurb). Clever is no different. What it will do though, is give you food for thought if you manage creatives.

As with self-help manuals, you probably already have the answers within you, you just need someone to help focus your thoughts in the right place. Which is what Clever does - if not in spades, then at least enough to get you digging in the right spots. Some of its observations may seem obvious (as some of the reviews here have suggested), but I must admit that it made me stop and think a few times - and it has opened my eyes to the process of running a department with smart, creative people in it. I'd say I've learnt something from it, and it's made me join dots that I may not (or may never) have done on my own.

There is some amusement to be had as you align some of the case-studies with people you know. Equally so, you may see yourself in here, too, and recognise some of your less appealing moods and/or behaviours. If, however, you're looking for straight answers, Clever won't give them to you. It will only get you thinking. The rest is down to you. On the down side, the book is a bit repetitive, and it does make not-so-much stretch across quite a few pages.

If you're curious you could do worse. Just don't expect this book (or any other) to solve all of your management problems for you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Clever Enough.. 18 Oct. 2009
By Miss M. L. English VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I think this book will benefit managers of business who need to get into the 21st century. These are concepts that those who live or know 'Clevers' will understand already. The book read well and moved at a good pace. The ideas were adequate but I did struggle to finish it, and it's not very long...
Maybe it's because I don't work in industry. If you want to brush-up on American concepts or even the growing trend here in the UK, then this will give you a few insights. I was worried that it would quickly become out-of-date as some of the companied mentioned are already suffering from the credit-crunch and no amount of 'Clevers' will delay/stop/change that.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thoughtful guide to managing clever workers 3 May 2010
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
Clever employees dream up intriguing new products and services, and develop revolutionary processes that catapult their organizations over their competitors. As such, they are crucial to a company's success. However, as consultants Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones explain, leading them can be a huge challenge. Manage them too much, and they will leave and take their brilliant ideas to your competitors. Manage them too little, and they may waste precious corporate resources on impractical activities that do not contribute to your bottom line. In this thoughtful, illuminating book, Goffee and Jones describe how to lead them so they will be happy and so your company will benefit. The authors emphasize that cleverness is not everything society makes it out to be, but that, properly managed, clevers can take your organization to the heights, so you want to nurture them. getAbstract finds that this book shows you how, in the cleverest possible way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars How to herd cats? Alas, no. 3 Aug. 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This slim book offered great promise with a potentially bright idea. The research is good and the quotes make excellent sense. But, sadly, it is deeply flawed, and the quotes frequently contradict the main premise underlying the raison d'etre of the book. I believe the many talented people offering the quotes, not the authors of the book.

So what are the authors trying to do? Their declared objective is to show how to lead `Clevers'.

A `Clever' is defined as someone with talent, focus and drive (all in excess of normal), someone who tends to go their own sweet way (because it's right, makes crystal-clear sense, and the boss doesn't have a clue). `Clevers' are supposed to be incapable of organising a workplace or managing a project, and need to be led into a comfortable environment and gently steered in the right direction. I can understand that, at one time I fit their over-simplistic pigeonhole definition.

However, the `Leader' cannot be clever since that disqualifies him from owning method or direction, or the ability to make tough decisions under stress. I'm sorry to pour cold water on that premise, but the ultimately good leader is someone who is talented at leading, and inspires others to follow his driving force, or, to use the author's syntax, that someone is `Clever' at being a `Leader'. Several of the interviewees even touch on this, but the blinkered authors doggedly stumble on down to their uninspiring dead end.

The few technical gimmicks they attempt to explain in the latter half are industry standard, and are available in more depth and breadth in any number of better written and more clearly presented books. Over the years I've been on several management courses, all of which had infinitely better supporting literature.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Uneven but interesting 2 July 2009
By Dr. Michael Heron TOP 1000 REVIEWER
This book falls generally into the category of things I am professionally interested in, and while it does a generally good job of talking about the motivations and desires of clever, creative people, it doesn't actually live up to the promise of the helping people to manage them. The case studies are too diverse, too contradictory, and too specific to their particular contexts to offer a lot in the way of general guidance.

Where the book does work well is as an introductory psychological primer as to what makes the smarter, more creative people in an organisation tick. The first two parts of the book are much stronger than the last part, and in a book this brief (a mere 170ish pages), that's a large proportion of weaker material. Coupled to this is that the book is sparsely sourced, and I have my doubts as to some of the claims made throughout considering they are never substantiated.

The insights quoted from numerous people across numerous fields are very interesting, but it is ultimately difficult to extract any kind of universal truth. I guess in the end the message is 'you know, it varies from place to place how best to do this'. Alas, I knew that already.

Still, it's well worth picking up if you find the premise interesting.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A very helpful book about handling "clever" people.
I originally purchased this book in paper form after reading a review in an in-flight magazine. Though it told the story - or stories - well. Read more
Published 12 months ago by I. Harry
2.0 out of 5 stars not nearly clever enough...
If you need this book to manage clever people, you shouldn't be managing them. If you don't need this book, why should you bother with it? Read more
Published 23 months ago by M. W. Hatfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Smart people are a nightmare to handle, a great guide to help you.
This book is full of great advice, some it you may think is overly simplistic, but sometimes that's the actual answer to make it work. Read more
Published on 28 Dec. 2012 by David Calcano
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever, how to lead your smartest, most creative people
Text is easy to read and in plain english. Gives some interesting insights and comments in terms of leading people, a very useful book to have in your toolkit.
Published on 6 Jun. 2011 by Tracey Holmes
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting topic, but slow read
I found the book practical and recognises there could be a small number of people in company that contribute to a large share of the profits. Read more
Published on 20 April 2011 by zenadox
4.0 out of 5 stars Has a good message to deliver
Writing a review for this book is actually something that I delayed for a long while. The book puzzled me greatly. Read more
Published on 5 Sept. 2010 by Mark Grindell
3.0 out of 5 stars 'Clevers'- another buzzword for top talent
Clever is the latest offering in the current industry's focus on talent management and in this case, the authors have given us yet another buzzword to contend with, the "clevers". Read more
Published on 21 July 2010 by G MacIndoe
4.0 out of 5 stars Clevers are people too
This is not just for people who manage what the book calls "clevers" - people who are the bright sparks of the organisation - it's for the clevers themselves. Read more
Published on 20 May 2010 by Mrs. R.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I read this as one of the 'creative' people the book talks about. I did not find it patronising at all, rather it was very specific in its descriptions and had lots of good tips on... Read more
Published on 22 April 2010 by C. Verspeak
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid and Academic
I'm an Learning and Development specialist and this book appealed to me as I wanted it to give me a different insight or perspective on developing the 'clever' people in my... Read more
Published on 22 April 2010 by K. Mcdougall
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