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Book review: leadership platitudes stir up memories of schoolroom lethargy

Lead to Succeed by Chris Roebuck makes Jules Verne's classic 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea seem positively dynamic. 
I was never a good student, particularly when it came to homework. Part of the problem was an aversion to school textbooks; the dreary layouts, lack of visual stimuli and bone-dry delivery failed to inspire me.

Chris Roebucks' new book Lead to Succeed, sadly, is equally soporific for much the same reasons.

Published by Wordscapes, every page, let alone chapter, is peppered with important-sounding sub-sections: "What About The Dark Side?", which turns out to be simply a lengthy discourse on not being nasty as it hampers your work prospects. Or how about "Creating A System To Deliver Mach 1 And The Foundation Of Mach 2"? Again, watered down, this merely points out that organisations do not do so well if there are key components missing or are not up to standard; rectify that and you're on the way to Mach 2. Albeit at a snail's pace.

So far, so obvious, and that's how it goes on.

The basic premise of Roebuck's, one assumes patented, Mach 2 leadership in the "new world of work" programme is no different from any other leadership books: work hard; don't undermine your superiors; be nice to your underlings when it's deserved and, of course, devote yourself to someone else's "failsafe" methodology (Roebuck's in this case). Do this and you and your company will live long and prosper.

Apart from the fact this book is, without a shadow of a doubt, the dullest I have ever clapped eyes on - it makes Jules Verne's classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea seem positively dynamic - its says nothing new. And to do so while subjecting the reader to shiversome memories of scratching through musty school textbooks while your friends are playing outside is unforgivable.

But really, it is the size of this tome, some 244 A4 pages of tight text, and the constant barrage of subtitles, pull-out boxes of additional portentous verbiage, often indecipherable diagrams,"inspirational" quotes and the doctor's waiting room colour scheme that defeated me.

I didn't read it through, frankly, because life's too short.

chnelson@thenational.ae

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Published: July 15, 2014 04:00 AM

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