Cover image for The contrarian's guide to leadership
The contrarian's guide to leadership
Sample, Steven B., 1940-2016.
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Francisco : Jossey-Bass, [2002]

Physical Description:
xix, 192 pages ; 24 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HD57.7 .S255 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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In this offbeat approach to leadership, college president Steven B. Sample-the man who turned the University of Southern California into one of the most respected and highly rated universities in the country-challenges many conventional teachings on the subject. Here, Sample outlines an iconoclastic style of leadership that flies in the face of current leadership thought, but a style that unquestionably works, nevertheless. Sample urges leaders and aspiring leaders to focus on some key counterintuitive truths. He offers his own down-to-earth, homespun, and often provocative advice on some complex and thoughtful issues. And he provides many practical, if controversial, tactics for successful leadership, suggesting, among other things, that leaders should sometimes compromise their principles, not read everything that comes across their desks, and always put off decisions.

Author Notes

Steven B. Sample -- an electrical engineer, musician, outdoorsman, professor, and inventor -- is the tenth president of the University of Southern California. Under Sample's leadership USC has become world-renowned in the fields of communication and multimedia technologies, has received national recognition for its innovative community partnerships, and has solidified its status as one of the nation's leading research universities. USC was selected as College of the Year 2000 by TIME and the Princeton Review, was named a "hot school" by Newsweek/Kaplan Review, and has been widely acclaimed in recent years for the excellence of its highly selective undergraduate programs

Table of Contents

Warren Bennis
Forewordp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
About the Authorp. xix
Introductionp. 1
1. Thinking Gray, and Freep. 7
2. Artful Listeningp. 21
3. Experts: Saviors and Charlatansp. 37
4. You Are What You Readp. 55
5. Decisions, Decisionsp. 71
6. Give the Devil His Duep. 91
7. Know Which Hill You're Willing to Die Onp. 107
8. Work for Those Who Work for Youp. 121
9. Follow the Leaderp. 141
10. Being President Versus Doing Presidentp. 159
11. The University of Southern California: A Case Study in Contrarian Leadershipp. 171
Conclusionp. 189