Reading List: Superbosses

UPDATED: January 22, 2016
PUBLISHED: January 9, 2016

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.

Chauncey Mabe is a freelance writer, book critic, and blogger in Miami, Fla. For 23 years he served as Book Editor and Senior Entertainment Writer at the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. He was Book Blogger for the Florida Center for the Literary Arts, the parent organization of Miami Book Fair International, from 2009 to 2012. He also blogs for the Betsy Hotel South Beach hotel, which sponsors literary events year round. His reviews and feature stories have appeared in publications such as the Toronto Globe & Mail, the Serving House Journal, Inspicio, the Palm Beach Arts Paper, the Baltimore Sun, the Juneau Empire, and the Chicago Tribune.