The premise that leadership can be learned is what sets this book apart from the “do you have what it takes?” mentality.
Want to learn what it’s like to lead at the top of a company? Corner Office Rules, by Keith R. Wyche and Renee Bellamy Booth, PhD, offers straightforward advice to equip readers with the skills and understanding needed to be successful at the helm of an organization.
The book’s premise, that leadership can be learned, sets it apart from the traditional view of professional advisers and the “do you have what it takes?” mentality. The ten realities mentioned in the subtitle are split evenly between part one, Critical Leadership Skills You Must Master, penned by Wyche, and part two, Managing the Personal Challenges that Come with Leadership, written by Booth. The two-pronged approach gives the volume balance while capitalizing on both Wyche’s experience as a CEO and Booth’s expertise in leadership development. This setup allows readers to learn the traits needed for leadership at work and then how to thrive.
While the book presents theoretical foundations, it’s also intensely practical. Well-developed lists, on topics like building a support system within the company and managing conflict effectively, present actionable ideas that can be put into practice immediately. The text is peppered with stories that show how real people in real jobs can apply the truths discussed.
A pyramid diagram is included, showing the progression from entry-level jobs through executive roles; it’s unnecessary because this progression is familiar and more than adequately described by the text. The book ends with a quick, encouraging send-off by the authors, but the addition of a resource list might have been useful for readers who are beginning the journey to live out the principles discussed. The black cover seems to portray the misconceptions about executive life—that it’s all suits, seriousness, and severity—rather than the more nuanced view portrayed within.
The writing is straightforward and simple, allowing busy professionals to read quickly and spend their energy putting ideas into practice instead of decoding them from the book. The realities themselves don’t read like news—“You don’t know everything” and “Reputation is everything”—but Wyche’s and Booth’s insights will take readers past what they think they know into a realistic look at the complex struggle of being an effective executive.
For newly crowned executives or anyone climbing the ranks toward executive leadership, this volume will feel like a welcome guide from a mentor.