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Organizing Genius

Books worth a look.

No entrepreneur is an island. As much as the image of a heroic individual single-handedly building a business captivates us, it's generally not the case. "We cling to the myth of the Lone Ranger, the romantic idea that great things are usually accomplished by a larger-than-life individual working alone," observe Warren Bennis and Patricia Ward Biederman in Organizing Genius: The Secrets of Creative Collaboration (Addison-Wesley, $24 cloth). "Despite the evidence to the contrary, we still tend to think of achievement in terms of the Great Man or Great Woman, instead of the Great Group."

The existence of a Great Group does not, however, cancel out the need for a Great Leader--quite the opposite, in fact. As such, entrepreneurs are sure to find relevant information in Organizing Genius.

There are, for instance, fascinating glimpses into the Walt Disney Co. as well as the campaign to elect Bill Clinton president. In each case, a talented staff came under the direction of one visionary person--to great effect. So much for that Lone Ranger myth.

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This article was originally published in the May 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Organizing Genius.

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