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Clever: Leading Your Smartest, Most Creative People Hardcover – 1 Aug 2009

3.2 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business School Press (1 Aug. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422122964
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422122969
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 16.5 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 215,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

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.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Martin Turner HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 Jun. 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Clever is a Harvard Business book which sets out to understand how clever people function in business, and how managers can lead them in a way which is fulfilling for both sides, and which makes the most of their potential. The crucial chapter is chapter 1, which is useful if you are short on time, which is about understanding clever people. The rest elegantly develops this.

If you've ever been trapped as a clever person under a bureaucratic manager, or as a manager trying to lead an intractable, brittle but brilliant employee, this book is a breath of fresh air.

I love Dilbert, but I also find it quite depressing: a vision of a world in which the clever are led by the managerially astute but otherwise incompetent. It's so sadly true: a corollary of The Peter Principle, that people are promoted to the position of their incompetence. In the Dilbert world, the more the pointy-haired boss goes on courses to help him become a better manager, the more he behaves in a transparently self-serving and idiotic fashion.

Clever -- leading your smartest, most creative people --, to give the book its full title, is primarily about understanding clever people, recognising their unique importance to the company, and finding ways to maximise that rather than trying (as many managers do) to suppress it. It begins with the recognition that a small group of staff make a huge impact on the bottom line, but that those staff are often the most disruptive and uncooperative.

Essentially, the clever people the book describes are not lone-wolf mavericks.
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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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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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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I really enjoyed this book, not only for the content which was good but also for the easy reading style. There is a good mix of interview and analysis. It shares much of its findings with the classic text on managing knowledge workers: Peopleware, and I was surprised to see no references to that well known text.

Clever goes beyond Peopleware however, to cover a wider definition of its subject and takes input from a global palette. The Indian contribution was particularly significant given the high number of outsourcing deals going to India just now. For UK readers it was refreshing to find a management book that used so many familiar UK organisations in its studies. I also liked the classifications of both the clevers themselves and the organisations whjere they are found.

I thoroughly recommend this to any manager who has the task of managing "clevers" and also to those who might themselves be considered "clever" as a way of appreciating what your "boss" or manager/leader is trying to do, it might even move you to cooperate - well, maybe a bit!
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The classic management books are full of tips and techniques to suit different styles of management. "Clever" turns things around, and focusses on leadership, as opposed to management. This is a crucial difference, because the book is about dealing with those seriously talented individuals within the organisation, whose abilities can help the organisation spectacularly take off and fly - or crash, depending on the quality of the leadership on offer.

As someone whose day to day work involves dealing with "clever" people, I loved this book. It's led me to think about how I work with them, and has given me a number of ideas to take things forward. The background of the book is clearly academic, the reader is shown to the historical philosophy of Marx and Weber in the Introduction, and there are pointers to other articles and recent developments throughout. This was backed by the notes pages at the end, which were not the dry references you might normally expect, but a set of conversational pointers to other texts.

The book has developed primarily from the research of conversation both with "clever" people, and those who lead them. This comes across in a highly readable and engaging style; some of the anecdotes had me laughing out loud. This style described the message, all about the ethos of a "clever organisation", one which enables the "clever" people within to soar, with the result that the entire organisation benefits.

The most fascinating aspect for me came out in the discussions of modern organisations, and the thinking behind how they are run. It illustrates the changes in style, from the ivory tower approach to innovation, to the more modern approaches which seeks to generate innovation from all levels.
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