Summary of The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive

A Leadership Fable

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The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive book summary
Can you make an executive fairytale come true? You’ll need leadership, clarity, communication and perfect HR.


6 Overall

9 Applicability

3 Innovation

7 Style


This is a good book for people who like parables. The fable centers around an unfocused man swamped by rivalry, envy, manipulation and betrayal. He never sees that his most threatening rival, though not as flashy as he is, has the stick-to-it commitment of a carnival pony that would continue walking the same tight circle even if someone took off its harness. To succeed, you need that kind of persistence plus a few straightforward disciplines including internal unity, clear purpose, open communication and personnel policies that reflect your values. In short, if you pick key disciplines and stick to them, you’ll go far. You’ve heard this sweet if shallow lesson before, in the fable of the tortoise and the hare. That fable endured for centuries because it puts a simple truth in a few words using a vivid analogy. That is the kind of veracity this book is aiming for and though it may achieve a shorter reach, its wrap-up analysis and work sheets extend its practicality. recommends its bolstering message - if not its simplistic structure - to managers who like metaphors.

In this summary, you will learn

  • A story about executive adventures; and
  • Some solid, time-honored advice about discipline, focus, communication, human relations and success.


The Heart of the Matter
The key to successful management is to spot a few things that will make a difference in your organization and then concentrate on doing them.

Successful organizations are smart and healthy. A smart organization shows its intelligence in its thoughtful...
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About the Author

Patrick Lencioni is author of the best-selling The Five Temptations of a CEO and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. He’s president of the Table Group, a management-consulting firm in the San Francisco Bay area.

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