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Tim Harford’s New Book Examines Leadership

11th April 2011

Tim Harford, economics editorial writer for the Financial Times, and ‘Undercover Economist’ columnist, explores the idea that leadership qualities are ingrained in the successful masses’ brains, in his new book Adapt: Why success always starts with failure.

Harford, who resolves problems in a weekly ‘agony aunt’ column, and presents BBC’s Trust Me I'm An Economist, explains that leadership is highly valued but hard to measure.

He quotes Edward Lazear, of Stanford Graduate School of Business, a world leading figure in ‘personnel economics’. Lazear analyses a detailed set of data based on a comprehensive survey of alumni of Stanford’s MBA programme over many years. Lazear explores what distinguishes those who get right to the top from those who are merely high performers.

The answer is that leaders, those who end up in the ‘C-Suite’ (CEO, CFO, etc) are job hoppers – they have spent their career moving from one role to another to show off their various skills, and display good judgement in many different contexts.

“If you’ve got it, flaunt it,” said Lazear.

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