Leading Geeks: How to Manage People Who Deliver Technology

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leading_geeksThe Book That Started It All

This award-wining book has become an industry classic and has been taught in MBA programs around the world.  Named world’s best book on leadership in 2003 by the Financial Times of Germany, it has been translated into four languages and honored with several international awards.  Author Paul Glen has given keynote presentations on the subject at more than 100 events on three continents, including private meetings, industry conferences and academic symposia.Leading Geeks challenges the conventional wisdom that leadership methods are universal. It gives executives and managers the understanding they need to manage and lead the technologists upon whom they have become so dependent.

Excerpt from Introduction of the Book

You can’t live with ’em and you can’t live without ’em. No, I’m not talking about the opposite sex. I’m talking about geeks, a.k.a. nerds, computer jockeys, or knowledge workers?the people who design, build, test, install, and support computer technology from mighty mainframes in their climate-controlled glass citadels to the humble PCs on every desktop. In the knowledge-driven, hypercompetitive, 24-7 economy, geeks are a key weapon in a business’s arsenal. As technology continues to drive business productivity and competitiveness, the role of the geek becomes increasingly critical. Some think that whichever organization attracts and retains the best geeks wins in this environment. They’re only half right.

Just getting the best geeks isn’t good enough. You’ve got to know what to do with them. Even the most intelligent, motivated, good-willed geeks don’t always succeed. Just think about all those dead dot-coms.

Success requires not just having good geeks, but leading them. And with technology infiltrating every area of business, from sales and marketing to operations and human resources, all managers must learn to lead geeks. – From the introduction to Leading Geeks

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Praise for Leading Geeks

“Paul Glen’s insights and experience provide the keys to unlocking the potential [of geeks].”

Warren Bennis, Co-author Geeks and Geezers


“In this provocative book, Paul Glen provides excellent advice for managing “Geeks” — the computer nerds and other high-tech gurus of the 21st century. But his insights apply equally well to the challenge of leading any group of specialists for whom esoteric knowledge is more important than power, and expertise more determinative of social dominance than bureaucratic hierarchy, including actors, athletes, university faculty, musicians, doctors and bond traders.”

Steven B. Sample, President, University of Southern California


“Managing technology talent is more critical today than ever before. This book brings an insightful and delightful perspective.”

James Champy, Chairman of Consulting, Perot Systems Corporation


“Paul Glen not only tackles a frontier topic in business, but he does so in a way that makes a significant contribution to our understanding not only of “geeks,” but of professional people in general . . . . The test of any worthwhile book is that if forces you to stop reading and consider what the author has said. Leading Geeks passes this test repeatedly.”

David H. Maister, Co-author of “First Among Equals”


“Paul Glen masterfully and humorously teaches us how to create followership in this notoriously inscrutable but essential population. Ignore his rock-solid advice at your own peril.”

Andrew Sobel, Author of “Clients for Life” and “Making Rain”


“This book is a great read, easily understood and logically organized. It will definitely help leaders gain the skills needed to be successful in today’s technologically dependent organizations.”

Ronne Froman, Rear Admiral, United States Navy (retired)

Honors for Leading Geeks

2003 Financial Times Germany Book Award for Best Leadership Book In a ceremony at the Frankfurt Book Festival, the 2003 Financial Times Germany / getAbstract Business and Finance Book Prize was awarded to LEADING GEEKS: How to Manage and Lead People Who Deliver Technology, by Paul Glen, a Los Angeles-based management consultant and columnist for Computerworld.

The prizes are awarded annually for innovative national and international books on business and finance. The Financial Times Germany calls the winners “brave forward thinkers in the areas of business and finance” who are helping drive the economic-political agenda. The third annual prizes were awarded to books in three categories: globalization, reform, and leadership. LEADING GEEKS won the award for best leadership book. “The New Financial Order” by Yale professor Robert Shiller won the award for globalization. “Ist Deutschland noch zu retten?” (“Is Germany to be Saved?”) by German political economist Hans Werner won the award for reform. And the jury awarded a special prize for “Der schwarze Grat” (“The Black Burr”) by Burkhard Spinnen. The criteria for selecting winners included: the innovative approach, the practical contents of the works, the ease of reading and strength of the writing style.

In announcing the award the Financial Times Germany said that “Paul Glen tried something impossible: to find ways to lead Geeks. Geeks are the computer and technical people who are outstanding in knowing their way around their special universe, but hardly know how to communicate with the rest of the world. That makes dealing with them difficult. Nevertheless, the author names ways to work things out. His book is the winner in the Leadership category.”

2003 Referenceware Excellence Award For Best Book on Business and Culture

Paul Glen’s book “Leading Geeks” was honored with it’s second book prize, the Referenceware Excellence Award. The awards recognize the most widely used computer technology and business books available through Books24x7, which offers subscription clients detailed online searches to more than 5,000 unabridged IT and business books.

“These awards give us the opportunity to formally recognize those authors and publishers whose books have proven to be indispensable in the day-to-day work of thousands of IT and business professionals,” said John Ambrose, general manager of Books24x7.

For each of 14 major categories, five book titles were selected based on actual usage by Books24x7 subscribers from January 1 through December 31, 2003. Judges, selected from the Books24x7 editorial advisory board, chose each category winner after considering a variety of qualitative data, including content organization, depth and quality of subject matter coverage, and graphics.

“Leading Geeks” was named best book in the category of Business and Culture.

COMPUTERWORLD Top Tech Book – 2003

Paul Glen’s book “Leading Geeks” was named to Computerworld’s prestigious annual list of”Best Tech Books of 2003.”

getAbstract Global Top 20 Business Book – 2003

Paul Glen’s book “Leading Geeks” was named to getAbstract’s Global Top 20 Business Book list for 2003 naming it one of the 20 best business books published worldwide that year.

getAbstract is a European company that summarizes thousands of business books every year enabling their customers to absorb the best new thinking in business without reading entire libraries of books