How to Be Exceptional: Drive Leadership Success by Magnifying Your StrengthsAs I said to Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman in last week’s Strengths-Based Leadership Development webcast (click on title to view the archived session). How to Be Exceptional: Drive Leadership Success by Magnifying Your Strengths (click on title to read my review) really is an exceptional book. In my 35 plus years of studying, applying, writing about, and providing leadership development programs and services I’ve never seen such powerful data leading to a clear path for developing leaders. This book will become a landmark in the leadership development field. It provides the succinct, practical, how-to roadmap we so badly need to navigate the inspiring and tremendously fulfilling territory of strengths-based leadership.

Last week Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe & Mail, published a full length review of How to Be Exceptional that concluded with, “It’s a clear, easy-to-read book, despite the heavy focus on research, and a compelling alternative approach to our tendency to obsess over weaknesses.” As I outlined in Leadership Lessons from Evidence-Based Medicine, that heavy focus on research is exactly what’s so badly missing from the confusing world of leadership theories, models, and approaches. And most of them have no basis in any research at all. Zenger Folkman has succeeded in writing an easy-to-read and very practical book that’s based on evidence. You can read the full review at Excellent? Counterintuitive tips on how to be exceptional.

Here are other reviews, excerpts, and links for How to Be Exceptional:

“A fitting capstone to Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman’s previous works, the new book provides readers with organizational gold. “It brings forth data … to illustrate what happens to teams and organizations when we uplift and grow their participants, and when we truly strengthen executives’ abilities to lead.”

– David K. Williams, CEO of Fishbowl

“The best book on professional development I have read in decades. It reinforces the emerging wisdom that the path to greatness is really about building profound strengths, rather than through relentlessly focusing on one’s weaknesses. This is a great road map for any leader seeking to optimize their growth and impact.”

– Michael A. Peel, Yale University, Vice President, Human Resources and Administration

“Zenger Folkman’s findings related to companion behaviors is exciting. It enhances what’s been presented in prior books and makes extraordinary leadership seem like an achievable goal. I would recommend this book to anyone committed to the journey.”

– Pam Mabry, Director, Human Resources, The Boeing Company

“A milestone in the emerging business case for evidence-based management. Building on two decades of earlier research, the authors brilliantly lay out a simple, concrete, scientifically validated model for achieving consistently superior business results through leadership … Its magic is its simplicity, pragmatism, and focus.”

– Eric Severson, Senior Vice President, Talent, Gap Inc.

The press coverage on the book and its principles is highly positive thus far as well, with early coverage appearing in Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, Forbes, CNBC’s Bullish on Books and other publications.

“Like a giant pendulum swinging, there has been a dramatic shift in the world of leadership development,” the authors say in the book’s introduction. “We have moved from a focus on fixing weaknesses all the way over to a focus on building strengths. Without question, it is the most profound change in this realm to occur in the past 50 years.

Although discovering strengths is a logical beginning step, How to Be Exceptional picks up where all the other books leave off. It helps readers take their strengths and develop them into distinguishing factors that help them make high contributions to their organizations.

A free e-book with video clips by Jack and Joe based on How to Be Exceptional is available for download at

Order copies of How to Be Exceptional at Amazon.caAmazon.comIndigo-Chapters or your local bookstore.

McGraw-Hill Ryerson is offering a special discount to CLEMMER Group contacts here. For bulk purchases at substantial discounts, contact McGraw-Hill Ryerson by email or call 905-430-5094.