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Higher Ambition: How Great Leaders Create Economic and Social Value
Michael Beer, Russell A. Eisenstat, Nathaniel Foote, Tobias Fredberg and Flemming Norrgren

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Format: Hardcover, 272pp.
ISBN: 9781422159743
Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
Pub. Date: September 13, 2011

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Description and Reviews
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Meeting the new standard for leadership.

Higher Ambition is required reading for every leader who refuses to compromise between people and performance. Choosing one or the other may have worked in the past, but it won’t work now. As global competition stiffens and businesses face increased public scrutiny and renewed government regulation, leaders must win on all fronts—with their people, their customers, their communities, and their shareholders. In short, they must deliver superior economic and social value. Brimming with powerful stories and thoughtful advice from CEOs themselves, Higher Ambition equips leaders with the practical insights they need to meet this new and higher standard. The authors, an international team of experts from leading business schools and consultancies, offer a unique view into the minds of some of the most successful and insightful leaders of our time: CEOs from vanguard companies around the world that have demonstrated the distinctive ability to do good while also doing well. These organizations are as diverse as Standard Chartered Bank, Infosys, Volvo, Cummins, IKEA, the Tata Group, and Campbell’s Soup. Readers will learn the principles and practices these pioneering leaders are using to:
  • Build enduring enterprises that simultaneously solve for people and profits
  • Forge winning strategies that leverage their companies’ unique cultural and human capabilities
  • Dramatically raise the aspirations and ambitions of their people
  • Energize and align their diverse global firms
  • Relentlessly upgrade leadership capabilities throughout their organizations
Drawing on the author team’s extensive research and in-depth interviews with successful leaders from around the globe, this provocative new book is poised to become a management classic in the tradition of In Search of Excellence and Built to Last.


“In our book, In Search of Excellence, Tom Peters and I wrote that great leaders and managers make meanings for people—not just money. This carefully researched and well-written book explains how 36 CEOs across three continents do just that. Leading with higher ambition is not just an option but a necessity for success in tomorrow’s corporate world.”
— Bob Waterman, Coauthor, In Search of Excellence; author, The Renewal Factor, Adhocracy, and What America Does Right

“The CEOs profiled in this book offer an invaluable guide to business leaders as they look to practice the right corporate leadership. These ideas will help a new generation of leaders become better CEOs.” — Kris Gopalakrishnan, CEO and cofounder, Infosys Technologies

“The authors provide the first true action guide to creating economic and social value in the global economy. A tour de force that should be carefully read by leaders of all kinds of organizations striving to meet the stakeholder challenges of a new order. Bravo!”
— Leonard A. Schlesinger, President, Babson College; former Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer, Limited Brands

“Higher Ambition stimulates a long-overdue dialogue about the connection between employees engaged in significant work they are proud to do and the performance of the companies they work for. If you want to lead an organization today and you don’t think this matters, I would bet on the success of your competitor.”
— Brad Anderson, Former CEO and Vice Chairman, Best Buy

“In this wonderful book we discover the role leaders can play to steer their companies with purpose, compassion, and authenticity. Deep insights, fresh thinking, and creative actions make this a must read for every future-oriented leader.”
— Lynda Gratton, Professor of Management Practice, London Business School; author, The Shift: The Future of Work Is Already Here

“Higher Ambition expertly details the stories of leaders who connect the dots between economic performance and social value. This book offers pragmatic lessons for success, drawn from leaders who have been there.”
— Dominic Barton Global Managing Director, McKinsey & Company

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About the Authors

Michael Beer is the Cahners-Rabb Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus, at Harvard Business School and chairman of TruePoint Partners, a consultancy, and the TruePoint Center for High Performance and High Commitment. Russell Eisenstat and Nathaniel Foote are partners at TruePoint. Tobias Fredberg is an associate professor at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, and a Fellow at the TruePoint Center. Flemming Norrgren is a professor at Chalmers University and a partner at TruePoint.

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