Book review: Leadership Transformed

Leadership Transformed by Dr. Peter FudaIn April of last year, a daily deal for Leadership Transformed: How Ordinary Managers Become Extraordinary Leaders by Dr. Peter Fuda showed up in my email inbox. I decided to take a chance on it as I like learning new management principles, especially those related to leadership. It also didn’t hurt that it was only $1.99.

I didn’t get around to reading the book last year. I put it in my queue for this year, even though I’ve found business stories like Hatching Twitter and The Everything Store more interesting. Here are my thoughts after reading it.

Dr. Fuda presents a solid framework in the book that he uses when working with his clients. He presents seven fundamentals that makeup the business framework. He symbolizes the fundamentals through keywords that make them easier to identify and understand. The seven keywords are Fire, Snowball, Master Chef, Coach, Mask, Movie, and Russian Dolls. I’m not going to review and define each one here. Dr. Fuda does a good job of that through his book and on his website.

Generally speaking, the book is an extension of an article that appeared in the November 2011 Harvard Business Review covering the first four symbols titled Fire, Snowball, Mask, Movie: How Leaders Spark and Sustain Change, and a follow-up article covering the remaining three titled Master Chef, Coach, Russian Dolls: How Leaders Spark and Sustain Change, Part 2 . The book expands upon these concepts by providing additional details and examples of how these concepts were applied to coaching and consulting engagements with clients.

I found the overall framework that Dr. Fuda presented to be very enlightening and educational. He provides actionable insights at the end of each chapter. He also provides additional content on his website to help you dig deeper and further understand each concept. I didn’t go through the extra exercises on his website, which obviously would have helped to get a bit more out of the book.

And while I appreciated the additional details and examples he presented in Leadership Transformed, the book felt labored and drawn out. It seemed as though he added content to meet a goal of 200 pages. In addition, the book contained pieces of self promotion which made it feel like a sales pitch in places. For these reasons, I felt like as though I could read the HBR articles, used the resources on his website, and bypassed the book.

This is not to say that the framework presented in Leadership Transformed doesn’t work or that Dr. Fuda is not good at what he does. On the contrary, I felt that concepts were sound and that the examples were proof of how Dr. Fuda has applied the framework to transform his clients. It’s more a statement of how hard it is to create a book out of a framework. In the case of the framework of Leadership Transformed,  I believe that you could gather all of the key concepts from the HBR articles without having to work through 200 pages.

Going forward the remainder of this year, my business readings will be trending back towards business stories and narratives written by third parties. I’ve found those both more interesting, entertaining, and educational than framework books and autobiographical business stories. Two upcoming titles on my reading list that I’m looking forward to include In the Plex, which is about Google, and Nuts, which is about Southwest.


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