The book written by the best-selling author, Peter Northouse entitled “Leadership: Theory and Practice”, presents readers with an easy, complete, and insightful overview with regard to research studies conducted on the concept of leadership. Written with conciseness and clarity, the facts and information presented by Northouse in the book were intended for readers to be thoroughly acquainted with both the theoretical and practical approaches when it comes to the concept of leadership. On top of a comprehensive discussion on the countless definitions of leadership and how the concept evolved throughout the decades, the book also contained essential information about traditional leadership theories, new leadership domains as well as salient frameworks and models of leadership that are relevant in present-day studies. Moreover, the book covers vital information on the most practical ways by which students will be able to apply their learnings on leadership. Specifically, every chapter contains three different case studies, each providing readers with examples of the theory applications being discussed. Because of its consistent and distinct format for demonstrating knowledge about leadership, the book has been adopted and used by countless universities and colleges around the world.
Assessment of the Book: Strengths, Weaknesses, and Areas for Improvement
I consider this book an important staple for students intending to learn more and get deeper into the basic tenets and principles of leadership. One of the strengths of the book is the way it was written: readable and interesting yet professional. Students who are taking either basic or advanced levels of leadership courses can greatly benefit from this book by using it as a valuable learning resource for all relevant knowledge on leadership. From theories and frameworks to the way that general knowledge on leadership may be applied in the practical world, students will definitely find this book a useful material because it was written with an objective of imparting a much deeper learning and understanding on the concept of leadership. Thus, whether or a not readers have a pre-existing knowledge about leadership, reading this book will definitely help them understand and appreciate more the value of leadership and how relevant it is to their present situation and future practice.
Another strength of this book is that it contains very informative and comprehensive details about leadership as a general concept, including the various styles of leadership and their specific examples and the relevant theories, frameworks and approaches that helped shape and advance learning about leadership throughout the decades. In addition, the book also contains vital information about criticisms on the concept of leadership, issues related to leadership ethics, and how leadership relates to culture. In all these discussions within the book, Northouse made sure that readers would thoroughly understand the gist or essence of what they need to learn by using appropriate case studies as examples.
Nevertheless, despite the comprehensive knowledge and learnings that may be gained from this book about leadership, Northouse somehow focused too much on the general concept of leadership and lacked insights on how readers (specifically students) can actually rise as leaders within their own contexts and situations. Also, while the book clearly differentiated one style of leadership from another, it failed to identify how one may be able to distinguish effective leaders from non-effective leaders. These are probably some of the areas that this book may need to work on, to further augment the learnings and knowledge that students may gain from it.
Personal Insights Gained from the Book
From reading this book, I have learned a lot about the different leadership styles, as well as the corresponding issues and problems surrounding leadership as a general concept. Although I was looking for more valuable information specifically about military leadership, which I found to be somewhat lacking, I still consider this book helpful for present and future leaders. The book equips readers with a fairly balanced knowledge of leadership and how it applies to real-life situations and scenarios. I found it to be a must-read for anyone aiming to rise as leaders in the near future. Personally, my most favorite topic in the book was all about the frameworks and theories about leadership, and I do appreciate the fact that the book provided me with a more balanced approach to both the practical and scholarly essence of leadership. Moreover, I also liked the fact that the book itself contains case study examples, leadership surveys, and other in-class activities that will maximize one’s knowledge of leadership effectively.
Northouse, P. (2018). Leadership: Theory and practice (8th edition). Sage Publications.