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The New Ecology of Leadership: Business Mastery in a Chaotic World
David Hurst

Retail Price: $29.95
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Format: Hardcover, 304pp.
ISBN: 9780231159708
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Pub. Date: April 24, 2012

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

After twenty-five years as an operating manager, often in crisis and in turnaround conditions, and having spent another two decades consulting, teaching, and writing, David K. Hurst has learned a great deal about organizations, how they function, and why they fail. Here, as a reflective practitioner, he crafts an extraordinary integration of management thought and practice. He adopts a systems perspective, using analogies drawn from nature, to illustrate his ideas and their practical application.

This book is both for general readers unfamiliar with sophisticated management concepts and for active practitioners seeking to advance their management and leadership skills. The author's objective is to help readers make meaning from their own management experience and education and thus improve their practical judgment and wisdom—to ask better questions of reality and tell more compelling stories about it. His approach takes an expansive view of organizations by connecting their development to humankind's evolutionary heritage and cultural history. It locates the origins of organizations in communities of trust and follows their development through the application of logic and their maturation in power. It also crucially tracks the decline of organizations as they age and shows how their strengths become weaknesses in changing circumstances. Hurst's core argument is that the human mind is not rational in a logical sense but in an ecological way. In other words, it has evolved to extract cues to action from the specific situations in which it finds itself. Therefore contexts matter, and Hurst shows how passion, reason, and power deployed as tools and embedded in settings can be used to change and sustain organizations for good and ill. The result is an inspirational synthesis of management theory and practice that will resonate with every reader's experience.


At the core of effectiveness is the ability to anticipate the future. This book provides the tools for doing exactly that. It is a must read.
—Robert E. Quinn, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

Don't jump to the end of this book. Let David K. Hurst unfold for you, chapter by chapter, what might otherwise appear a complex model for organizational change. As you absorb his logic you will be inspired by the elegance of his 'Ecocycle.' He weaves together proven managerial concepts with insights from cognitive science, psychology, ecology, history, and philosophy into an entirely intuitive and eye-opening perspective for leadership.
—Kaihan Krippendorff, author of Outthink the Competition: How a New Generation of Strategists Sees Options Others Ignore

In this outstanding book, David K. Hurst draws on his very considerable executive experience and combines it with a sophisticated understanding of the latest in academic thinking. The New Ecology of Leadership will appeal to both the 'roll up your sleeves' manager and the grounded academic.
—Karl Moore, Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University

David K. Hurst's combination of scholarly and practical knowledge of management is rare. Artfully weaving together material from history, science, psychology, economics, and more, he offers an imaginative and compelling book that will appeal to anyone interested in management and economics.
—Ann Graham, contributing editor, Strategy+Business

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About the Author

David Hurst is a speaker, consultant, writer, and management educator with extensive experience as a senior executive and an encyclopedic knowledge of management thought. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Regina's Graduate School of Business, associated with the Center for Creative Leadership, and a contributing editor at Strategy+Business. He is also the author of Crisis & Renewal: Meeting the Challenge of Organizational Change.

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