Summary of The Secret Handshake

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In 1513, Niccolò Machiavelli wrote The Prince, the classic work on how to acquire and maintain power through the ruthless use of insidious politics. Machiavelli argued that when it comes to politics, morality is passé, and hypocrisy and deceit can be eminently useful. Nearly 500 years later, management expert Kathleen Kelley Reardon introduces her own book on the subject of politics and how to use political techniques to get ahead. She details the indispensable political skills that ambitious individuals need to move up inside any modern organization, and explains how to use them effectively and ethically. getAbstract appreciates Reardon’s comprehensive understanding, savvy and wisdom concerning the business world’s most nuanced and little understood subject: personal politics. Many dislike politics and find its practice unseemly. However, as Reardon writes, without it, nothing gets done and no one gets ahead. Once you accept this fact, learning how to use politics morally and advantageously makes perfect sense.

About the Author

Kathleen Kelley Reardon, Ph.D., teaches management at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. She also is a frequent consultant to Fortune 500 corporations and other major companies.



Play or Get off the Field

Are you an up-and-comer within your organization? Are you on the fast track to the top? You may think that you are, thanks to your stellar accomplishments, hard work and executive qualities. But if you lack political acumen and savvy, you are going nowhere. All the diligent labor and talent in the world will not take you to the senior executive level if you fail to capitalize on the power of organizational politics.

Too few executive positions exist within companies to make room at the top for all the capable people who want to lead. Your organization’s most senior executives must make difficult choices about who will eventually replace them. Invariably, they will select capable, talented, hard-working individuals. However those chosen few will be the ones who have figured out how to promote themselves better than the rest. This is politics in action.

Many people take a negative and often hostile view of politics. They view it as uncouth and unnecessary. However, this hostility is misplaced. In any social organization, politics – which leads to power – is the grease that gets things done. Fortunately, you can teach yourself to become...

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