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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 1 August 2011
This is one of the better books on leadership, but the previous reviews are so gushing that I feel they lack balance. Perhaps that is why I gave it three stars rather than four stars.

First the good points. It is written in a clear, easy-to-read style. It is short (170 pages). The FED model is simple yet powerful. Finally, Mr Radcliffe clearly knows his stuff; his material is well thought out and based on experience.

Now the two main limitations. The book is so short that it means the important subject of limiting beliefs gets several mentions but no in-depth treatment, reducing its practical value in my view. Also, the FED model, while clear and simple, gives the impression that real-life leadership won't have messy twists and turns that can divert the leader. That gives the book a one-dimensional feel and that is when, for me, "simple" becomes "simplistic". It reminds me in this respect of Kouzes and Posner's book, The Leadership Challenge.

Nonetheless, I do recommend the book - it is just that I don't think it is enough on its own. As a companion read you could consider another of the recent offerings in this field, The Three Levels of Leadership by James Scouller. It is similarly easy to read and practical but delves more deeply into limiting beliefs.
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on 28 February 2011
This litle book does exactly what its title suggests - circumnavigating the acres of verbose, over complicated, self serving, management psycho-babble found in most leadership texts and presents a plain and simple leadership model that really works.
How plain and simple? Well for me it passed the ultimate test: I'm a business leader with a 2 hour daily drive, with 3 kids under 6 at home and a short attention span, and yet I read this book last thing at night, understood it and retained enough of it to start practising it the next day at home and at work AND it worked.
The Future-Engage-Deliver model is simple to understand, simple to apply, simple to explain to others and simply makes do yourself a favour, buy this book, give yourself an easy late night read, and embrace a liberating leadership model that is so simple and yet so effective that it feels like cheating.
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on 1 March 2011
The principles established in this book are very obvious but so easily overlooked. I found myself looking back over previous successes and failures and being able to translate them into the principles highlighted in the book. It was then easy to understand the reasons for success which I can then repeat, but also the reasons for failure and hence lessons to be applied from the book

If you are going to read one book to imporve your leadership capabilities then I would suggest it be this one as being straightforward, easy to apply and hence successful.
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on 27 November 2013
Quite simply this book has had a revolutionary impact on my leadership. It is beautifully simple and easy to digest. I found that it provided me with a very useful lens to review my own performance: understand my strengths and identify my weaknesses.

Honest self reflection is critical to getting the most out of Steve's lessons in leadership, that and a well rounded support team (there's more on that in the book!) I had plenty of moments when I cringed or grimaced as I read elements that highlighted flaws in my practice. However, these are addressed in such a way that they are affirming rather than being soul destroying.

It might be a short initial read but there is plenty of scope for return visits. I loved the structure and the easy to read style that Steve uses. I have already been recommending this book to pretty much anyone I meet. This isn't a book about hierarchical leadership but one about igniting the spark of leadership in everyone. In fact if you don't see yourself as a leader, this text has even more to offer you.

Best investment I've made in a long time...
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on 21 June 2016
I work in senior management myself and have for the past two years studied strategy and leadership quite closely. This book for me simplifies leadership to such a degree that anyone will feel comfortable that they have the abilities to be good leaders and potentially great leaders after reading this. It does not linger in the hypothetical academic understanding of what leadership is, but ensures to put it to you in such a way that anyone will walk away after reading this book, feeling that they got a better understanding of what leadership is all about.

The FED model is as practical as it is simple. It is impossible to forget and can easily be taught to other people in your team too, who are looking to work their way up. A great motivator in my opinion!

I wish more people who worked in management and managed people read this book, I see far too often many senior managers who do not have a clear grasp of what leadership is.

Do bear in mind though, that I highly recommend that you read around the subject and do not make this your only point of reference for understanding leadership. Leadership is complex and takes years to perfect, but this book, is a great starter and gives you the basic you need for developing your understanding and building on from that.

Follow the teachings of the book and you will most certainly be on a path that ensures you will be a greater leader tomorrow.
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on 10 June 2013
This book really wasn't for me. I liked the idea of reducing leadership to its crystalline, pure essence and I loved the bit about a head teacher who'd used the FED model to help his pupils develop leadership skills. But generally it came across as a bit self-regarding, a bit self-important, almost New Age-y at times. Perhaps that IS what you get if you distil leadership to its essence, or perhaps it's just me -- lots of other people seem to like it.

One other thing: the use of capitals for Very Important Concepts (such as the Four Energies) was driving me faintly nuts by the end.

But the nice people at Amazon gave me my money back on my Kindle purchase, so this was a free read for me, and because my Spirit Energy is also particularly high tonight, Leadership: Plain and Simple can have two stars.
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on 13 April 2012
As an Organisational Development Manager, I've been reading books on leadership for a wee while - most of them have been at best interesting and generally leave me pretty much none the wiser if I'm really honest. This book has been the first book that makes it simple - and useful - and actionable - and achievable. Ah, hurrah! It gets to the nub of the issues and focuses on the most important things - and how to easily start doing them and getting results. And it does it without fluff and flouncy words. Just a useful model, expertly put across. Thank you!
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on 28 October 2013
This book was recommended to me as being useful reading whilst preparing a workshop on clinical leadership in healthcare. I found the slightly breathless 'you can do it American - style' writing difficult, and whilst principles are transferable, this book just didn't work for me.
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on 17 April 2013
If you have never read a book on leadership before - this is not a bad place to start. On one level it is good to simplify leadership to demystify it. However, he goes on and on about how simple it is when it really is one of the most complex endeavours in history, it makes it feel like he has not really understood the subject at hand. Like many of these types of books it could be been written in about 90 pages if he cut out the verbiage and repetition.
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on 2 March 2011
I agree with many of the previous comments, it is the simplicty of this approach that makes it so effective. Coupled with the focus on behaviours and values, which makes you seriously question not just what you do as Leader but why? But it is more than just a Leadership ideology. It can be a practical tool that frames Leadership/mentoring/coaching opportunities. Using FED as a template for those 'big conversations' can deliver real development results. You can't help but think why wasn't I doing this anyway? But then I guess that's the beauty of the approach, as often the simplest ideas are the best.
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