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The Five Temptations of a CEO: A Leadership Fable (J–B Lencioni Series) Hardcover – 11 Jul 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 10Anniversary Ed edition (11 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470267585
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470267585
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 1.9 x 21.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 119,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


"A must read for all leaders, not just CEOs. Take it from someone whohas been tempted. Better than a personal coach." (Boyd Clark, president and CEO, The Tom Peters Group)

"Pat Lencioni delivers a provocative message: CEOs mainly havethemselves to blame when things go wrong. If you′re a CEO (or any manager for that matter), do you have the courage to face the blame? Doing so could change your future–for the better." (Dr. Jerry Porras, co–author, Built To Last; professor, Stanford School of Business)

"A truly enjoyable story. I found myself immediately trying to decidewhether I had fallen victim to the temptations. I think most executiveswill be able to recognize parts of themselves in this well–written,enlightened book!" (Ellyn McColgan, president, Fidelity Investments Tax Exempt Services Co.)

"This book provides extraordinary insight into the pitfalls that leadersface when they lose sight of the true measure of success–results. Thismodel is required reading for my staff." (Dr. Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO, Novell Corporation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap


When it was published over a decade ago, The Five Temptations of a CEO was like no other business book that came before. Highly sought–after management consultant Patrick Lencioni deftly told the tale of a young CEO who, facing his first annual board review, knows he is failing but doesn′t know why. Written to be read in one sitting, this refreshingly original and utterly compelling, razor–sharp novelette serves as a timeless and potent reminder that success as a leader can come down to practicing a few simple behaviors behaviors that are painfully difficult for each of us to master. Any executive can learn how to recognize the mistakes that leaders make.

The lessons of The Five Temptations of a CEO are as relevant today as ever, and this special anniversary edition celebrates over a decade of inspiration and enlightenment with a brand new introduction and reflections from Lencioni on the new challenges in business and leadership that have occurred since the original book was published.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book was sent directly to me from the Table Group. They had seen my other reviews and wanted my opinion on Lencioni's book.
As CEO of a company I can say that this book was better than most. Any CEO position comes with different responsibilites and this book isn't trying to give the reader a check list of items they should meet in order to be successful. Instead, this book gives the reader five different holes CEO often fall into. This is something that other books fail to address, it's also probably the main area most CEOs fail at.
The book was a little too easy and a little too short, but I enjoyed how the temptations were laid out and the fable story line worked for me. However, I would have liked to have seen more information on how to correct these temptations once a CEO knows that he/she has problems.
A little too short and little too easy, but better than most of the books out there. This is a book any CEO or any want-to-be CEO should read.
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Format: Hardcover
This is one in a series of "leadership fables" in which Patrick Lencioni shares his thoughts about the contemporary business world. His characters are fictitious human beings rather than anthropomorphic animals, such as a tortoise that wins a race against a hare or pigs that lead a revolution to overthrow a tyrant and seize control of his farm.

In his Introduction to this book, Lencioni observes that all chief executives who fail -- and most of them do at one time or another - make the same basic mistake: "Essentially what they are doing is putting the success of their organizations in jeopardy because they are unwilling to face - and overcome - the five temptations of a CEO." Briefly, here's the fictitious situation. Lencioni introduces Andrew O'Brien who is about to complete his first year as CEO of Trinity Systems, a position to which he was promoted after four years with the company. He is about to participate in the first board meeting in which he will be held accountable for the results of an entire fiscal year. "Those results, as he had grown accustomed to saying, were `unspectacular at best.'" He dreads the meeting. Almost immediately, it becomes obvious that Andrew's career is in serious jeopardy...and he knows it as he leaves the office shortly after midnight and takes a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) commuter train to return home.

What then happens allows Lencioni to dramatize for C-suite executives - and especially for CEOs - the importance of recognizing and then resisting the aforementioned temptations. Once aboard the train, Andrew meets and engages in a conversation with Charlie that continues when they are joined by the Bald Man, the Stylish Man, and the Tall Man.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a consultant psychologist who specialises in developing leaders and leadership teams. In my work, I combine the lessons from "The Five Temptations of a CEO" with those in "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" - which is also a quick, easy and worthwhile read. It's basically the same model, told from different perspectives, and I present the temptations as the things a leader (or even team member) can be understandably tempted to do that are likely to stir up the dysfunctions in their team.

Without the Five Dysfunctions, you may be left with something far less useful as a tool for your own leadership. Turned on their head, the 5 Dysfunctions become the 5 Fundamentals for a high performing team. These make intuitive sense and they're fairly well-supported in the pre-existing literature - one example being "The Wisdom of Teams", which I believe pre-dates Lencioni's book and presents very similar concepts - albeit in a drier, more manual-like way.

Speaking of style, Lencioni has a tendency to bring his own religious views into his writing, which can leave some readers feeling overly preached to - this is compounded by the style in general, which is likely to appeal most to an American audience. That said, I kinda like it as an alternative to some of the really dull (but often informative) leadership books out there.

As a psychologist, I do have one professional reservation when using Lencioni's work - which I do often. The psychological evidence on team and leadership performance is more complex than Lencioni's underlying model suggests. For instance, Lencioni focuses on "vulnerability based trust" which appeals to many team building facilitators or "touchy feely" types, but is an overly simplistic perspective on trust.
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Format: Hardcover
I was thrilled to pick up this management book that not only had excellent principles, but an intriguing and enthralling storyline that kept me interested all the way to the finish. Five Temptations of a CEO proves an easy read-but certainly not lessons easily tossed aside. These are principles I'll keep with me-regardless of what job or leadership position I may occupy.
The story begins with a struggling CEO, Andrew O'Brien, on the eve of a big, year-end board meeting. Strange occurrences lead Andrew to take the metro system home that evening-and it's on the train where he encounters Charlie, a custodial engineer with a wealth of advice.
Andrew learns from Charlie five temptations that every manager, CEO, teacher, parent or coach might face along their way to success. These are basic temptations that seem very simple-and really are simple. Charlie teaches him that its not in looking for solutions in technology, budget, financials and other usual suspects common to a CEO, but in the common, everyday wisdom that every leader must have.
And for those readers who don't appreciate a good story-or who are just used to the textbook style management books-the five temptations are listed in a summary and self-assessment section in the back. But I won't spoil the ending...
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