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The One Thing You Need to Know

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The One Thing You Need to Know

... About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success

Free Press,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

Great leaders make people believe and follow their vision of a better future. That`s it. The rest is practice.

Editorial Rating



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Many soothsayers pontificate sonorously about leadership to anyone who will listen, but over time they gradually lose touch with their subject matter. You may at first wonder if best-selling guru Marcus Buckingham has stumbled into this very ditch after he devotes eight pages early in the book to what makes great marriages (FYI: he says it’s always interpreting everything your spouse does in the warmest possible light, whether or not that is logical). Well, not to worry - Buckingham is just warming up. An original thinker who lets his intellect roam, he brings sharp insights to the evergreen topic of leadership. Although this book is essentially creative in nature rather than intellectually rigorous, you’ll come to respect the powerful perceptions it has to offer. Buckingham must navigate a perilous balance between clarity and oversimplification, and he pulls it off rather well. While getAbstract wouldn’t say this is the only book you need to read to understand leadership, we highly recommend it.


Dialogue: Just This One Thing

In the movie City Slickers, two characters played by Billy Crystal and Jack Palance debate the meaning of life as they ride horses on a dude ranch. The rawhide-faced, gravel-voiced Palance turns to Crystal and says, "I'll tell you the secret to life. This one thing. Just this one thing. You stick to that…"

"What's the one thing?" Crystal asks.

"That's what you've got to figure out," Palance answers.

Corporate leaders sense there is just one thing that they need to know about leadership; they just don't know what it is. To understand what makes a great leader, it is useful to understand first what makes a great manager.

The One Thing Great Managers Know

Behind every great employee stands a great manager. Great managers think first about what they can do to help their colleagues achieve success. They instinctively understand that they serve their companies best by helping the employees who report to them. The manager's job, they reason, is to make others more productive. Great managers can be tough and have very high expectations, yet they convince others that they passionately desire their success. Good...

About the Author

A 1987 graduate of Cambridge University, Marcus Buckingham spent 17 years with the Gallup Organization leading research into the characteristics of the world’s best leaders, managers and workplaces. He is an authority on employee productivity and leadership. His work led to two books: First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Best Managers Do Differently and Now, Discover Your Strengths. Buckingham is an independent consultant, author and speaker.

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