Summary of Nobody In Charge

Looking for the book?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 10 minutes.

Nobody In Charge book summary


7 Overall

7 Applicability

6 Innovation

7 Style


Everyone remembers the reaction when U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig took the podium at the White House the day John Hinckley shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981. "I’m in control here," Haig tried to reassure the public, contrary to the constitutional rules of succession. The response was neither outrage nor reassurance that someone was taking the helm. Why? Harlan Cleveland thoughtfully suggests good reasons that the primary reaction to Haig’s statement was bemusement tinged with ridicule. He makes an articulate argument that the era when anyone could be in complete control anywhere has long since passed. The reason? Systems have simply grown too complex to be managed by one individual. Thus, the best leader for the "Nobody’s-In-Charge" society is someone comfortable with decentralization, someone who can arrive at resourceful, unusual solutions. By way of imprimatur, management guru Warren Bennis wrote this volume’s foreword. recommends this treatise to those who are seriously curious about the ways that technological and societal changes are altering the leader’s role.

In this summary, you will learn

  • how societal changes are shaping the leaders of tomorrow.

About the Author

Harland Cleveland managed post-WWII relief for the U.N. as a top Marshall Plan official. He published The Reporter magazine and was dean of Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship. President John F. Kennedy named him Assistant Secretary of State for the U.N. President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed him U.S. Ambassador to NATO. Founding dean of the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, he is currently a board member of the American Refugee Committee and the World Future Society.



Who’s In Charge Around Here, Anyway?
Everyone seems to recognize the importance of good leadership, without being able to really define it. You know it when you see it - but what is it? Who was a better leader, George W. Bush or Bill Clinton? Opinions differ. Would the North have won the...

Comment on this summary

More on this topic

Customers who read this summary also read

More by category