Summary of Organizing Genius

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

Organizing Genius book summary


9 Overall

7 Applicability

10 Innovation

9 Style


Warren Bennis and Patricia Ward Biederman describe the qualities that generate "Great Groups," capable of meaningful creative collaborations. Despite the myth of individual achievement and heroic leadership, the authors delve into major breakthroughs accomplished by group effort. Often Great Groups unite around the vision of a charismatic leader and work toward that leader’s goal with obsessive commitment. Bennis and Biederman spend much of the book describing the workings of a half dozen such groups - from the Manhattan project to the founders of the Disney Studio to Bill Clinton’s campaign team. These case histories read like individual short stories, but they each tell the saga of a driven creative collaboration. The authors conclude with lessons you can apply to bring the dedication of Great Groups to bear within your organization. recommends this clearly written, logically organized book to leaders and collaborators in any industry, with two caveats. First, acquiring the requisite charisma is up to you. And, second, as to the authors’ fulsome praise of obsessive work habits, well, that’s so ’90s.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How to transform your creative collaborations into Great Groups;
  • How six specific Great Groups functioned in twentieth century American business, politics and education; and
  • How you can apply the lessons of Great Groups.

About the Authors

Warren Bennis is a professor of business administration at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. An expert on leadership, he has written more than 20 books and advised four U.S. Presidents. Patricia Ward Biederman is an award-winning staff writer for The Los Angeles Times.



What Makes a Group Great
Although legend traditionally reveres the "triumphant individual," many historic breakthroughs have been achieved by group effort. People often join their individual and collective talents to "create something new and wonderful." Such creative...

Comment on this summary

More on this topic

By the same authors

Contained in Knowledge Pack:

  • Knowledge Pack
    Virtual Teams
    It’s hard enough to get teams to function when they meet in one room. How can you generate teamwork in cyberspace?

Customers who read this summary also read

More by category