University of Southern California

Bennis’s Writings Featured in BusinessWeek
Publication Runs Excerpts From The Essential Bennis, Essay on Optimism
September 1, 2009 • by News at Marshall

University Professor and Distinguished Professor of Business Administration and Professor of Management and Organization Warren Bennis recently released The Essential Bennis. Developed with Patricia Ward Biederman, the work is a collection of essays from Bennis’ books with commentary from 20 contributors, including University of Southern California President Steven B. Sample, actress Glenn Close and producer Peter Guber. In its September 2 edition, BusinessWeek excerpted the essay “Leadership as a Performing Art” from the book along with commentary from Close. Read the Excerpt.

Writes Close: “After reading (and rereading…many times) Warren's intriguing essay, ‘Leadership as a Performing Art,’ one thing keeps sticking in my actor's brain. It's this: Like all great actors, great leaders are skilled craftsmen and, like actors, they use their craft to actively engage whatever audience they are playing to. They can sense who their audience is and with them, set up a palpable energy exchange. A great leader's charisma, like a great actor's, makes us all into believers.” Read the Excerpt.

Bennis is one of the world's leading experts on leadership. A lecturer, consultant and writer, he has been an advisor to four U.S. presidents, including John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. He is the author of numerous books, including the classic On Becoming a Leader and Leaders, which have been translated into 21 languages. On Becoming a Leader was released in its 20th Anniversary edition in March. It has been named the best leadership book of all time by Jack Covert and Todd Satterstein in their new volume, The 100 Best Business Books of All Time. The Financial Times recently named Leaders one of the top 50 business books of all time. Bennis is a former Distinguished Research Fellow at Harvard Business School, former president of the University of Cincinnati, as well as the former provost and executive vice-president of SUNY-Buffalo.

In May, BusinessWeek published an essay by Bennis about the importance of optimism in times of crisis.

“Limits, constraints, and reduced expectations are the conventional prescriptions for our time,” Bennis wrote. “True leaders, however, are able to see beyond an anemic zeitgeist in order to sense opportunities that can employ and house a multitude. Optimists have a sixth sense for possibilities that realists can’t or won’t see.” Read the Excerpt.


About the USC Marshall School of Business
Consistently ranked among the nation's premier schools, USC Marshall is internationally recognized for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, social responsibility and path-breaking research. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world's leading business centers and the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim, Marshall offers its 5,700-plus undergraduate and graduate students a unique world view and impressive global experiential opportunities. With an alumni community spanning 123 countries, USC Marshall students join a worldwide community of thought leaders who are redefining the way business works.