The Bennis Connection
What [Sample] has to say is so fresh, yet paradoxically so timeless, so at-an-angle to conventional wisdom, that this book will instantly be recognized as an invaluable addition to the literature on leadership. Warren Bennis
The Contrarians Guide to Leadership is the newest installment in Jossey-Basss Warren Bennis Signature Series, named for the USC professor who has long been recognized as one of the worlds top authorities in the study of leadership.
Steven Sample notes, in fact, that it was Bennis who helped recruit him and his wife Kathryn to USC in 1990 from the State University of New York at Buffalo; and it was Bennis who persuaded Sample to co-teach with him a course in leadership for juniors and seniors over the past six years. Sample describes the course as one of the best learning experiences of my life.
It was also Bennis who convinced Sample to capture his philosophy of leadership on paper. In the foreword to The Contrarians Guide, Bennis notes that, as the two began co-teaching their course, I quickly realized that what Steve was teaching wasnt being said in the management textbooks and popular literature of our day.
What he has to say is so fresh, yet paradoxically so timeless, so at-an-angle to conventional wisdom, that this book will instantly be recognized as an invaluable addition to the literature on leadership.
Beginning in the early 19th century, whalers, buccaneers and privateers began to frequent the islands. Discovering that the giant tortoises could be kept alive without food or water for months in the holds of their ships, providing a long-lasting food supply, they nearly decimated their populations. Later, oilers killed tortoises for their oil, and fur traders hunted the endemic fur seals. Although these visitors to the islands were just passing through, they left behind domesticated animals dogs, cats, pigs, goats and cattle that continue to endanger the native species and their habitats.
The beginning of the 20th century saw the arrival of fishermen and farmers from the mainland, followed by Europeans. By the late 1960s the first tourists had arrived. With the establishment of the Galápagos Islands as a national park, 97 percent of the uncolonized land area of the archipelago is today under government protection. Tourists are not allowed on park-controlled islands without a licensed guide; even so, 70,000 visitors came to the islands last year.
Fortunately, through the conservation efforts of Ecuadorian and United Nations entities, the islands still retain 95 percent of their original pre-human quota of species. In an exemplary case of mans intervention attempting to make reparations for mans intrusion, the Galápagos Islands remain a place where each person who visits comes away with an invaluable souvenir: the knowledge that this world is a fragile, connected system and that each one of us, through our actions, makes a difference, for better or worse.
Steven Sample (left) and Warren Bennis teaching their
groundbreaking course The Art and Adventure of Leadership.
Photo by Glen Allison