Almost every year I teach sections of a class called The Paths to Power. Each year I wrestle with how to make the material and ideas in the class more accessible and engaging and also how to better inspire people to actually act on what they are learning. Power represents my third and best effort to help people understand why power is important, how to understand and diagnose power dynamics, and most importantly, what they can do to act on this knowledge to make themselves more influential and effective. My objective in the class and in this book is simple: to provide people with the information that will enable them to avoid ever having to leave an organizational position involuntarily.
Relatively few people come to Stanford business school and even fewer take the two sections of this class that I offer each year. But anyone can read this book and obtain much of the information and ideas from the course. The book summarizes the social science concepts that can help people understand power and act more effectively to obtain more influence and then I illustrate these principles with numerous examples of people at all organizational levels and from many different countries and cultures.
Power is my attempt to bring important information on how to gain influence to everyone so they can live a longer and more successful life.