Sydney Finkelstein possesses a big brain, gaudy credentials (consultant, speaker, professor of management at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business), and a clear, entertaining writing style. Perhaps the most striking thing about Superbosses is how optimistic—even sunny—Finkelstein’s tone is. An influential restaurateur and chef, Finkelstein spent 10 years investigating business leadership in search of patterns across a range of industries.
And he found them. A superboss is not what Finkelstein calls a “bossy boss,” the Donald Trump-style of outsized personalities who “crack the whip and push employees to their limits.” A superboss, regardless of other qualities, is someone who develops talent. Finkelstein identifies 18 primary superbosses and a few dozen “likely superbosses,” including comedy’s Lorne Michaels and Jon Stewart, musician Miles Davis, NFL coach Bill Walsh, and clothier Ralph Lauren. Each has spawned generations of talented leaders. What’s more, Superbosses is that rare business book that does more than inform. It’s positively hard to put down.
By Sydney Finkelstein
February; Portfolio; $28
This article appears in the February 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine.