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Feb 19, 2016

I just know there will be people watching or hearing this podcast who will hear that my guest’s new book is called Superbosses and they’ll have a common response: Supershmucks! Okay, get it out of your system now, because Sydney Finkelstein’s new book, Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent, will make you re-think your entire approach to work, whether you’re a worker or a boss – or somewhere in between.

SYDNEY FINKELSTEIN podcast excerpt: "What does a superboss's typical day look like? Superbosses don't lock themselves up in meetings all day long. They leave time for more unstructured interactions, for dropping by unannounced, and working closely together."

The whole idea of Superbosses is that there is a generation of remarkable business leaders – across industry, sports, and the arts – who appreciate and nurture talent. They will kick your ass from here to next week, likely pay you less, and expect you to work longer hours than seems natural. But they could potentially change the rest of your life for the better. I believe this book and its author will appeal to the rather broad Mr. Media audience because of whom Finkelstein anoints as “superbosses,” including:

• Miles Davis

• Alice Waters

• Lorne Michaels

• Ralph Lauren

• Norman Brinker

• Bill Walsh

• Julian Robertson

• Larry Ellison

• Roger Corman

• and George Lucas.

When we’re done talking, you’ll want to ask yourself some serious questions, starting with: Where can I find a superboss of my own?

SYDNEY FINKELSTEIN podcast excerpt: "Miles Davis is one of the most fascinating of all the examples that we discovered. The thing that's special about Miles Davis? What is a superboss? A superboss is a person that helps other people do more than tey ever thought possible. Look at the jazz bands that he created over time, the talent he discovered and helped get better: Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans, Wayne Shorter, John Coltrane. That's the definition of what a superboss does... It goes to show you that anyone could be a superboss."

As for Sydney Finkelstein, he spent more than a decade working on the concepts, theories and observations that form the spine of Superbosses. He did so from a great vantage point, too: he is the Steven Roth Professor of Management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, as well as Tuck’s director of the Center for Leadership. Superbosses is his ninth book, a catalog that includes the best-seller, Why Smart Executives Fail.

Key interview moments:

• 5:10 Superbosses author Sydney Finkelstein explains how misanthropic jazz legend Miles Davis made his list;

• 17:45 What does a day in the life of a superboss look like?;

• 28:35 Finkelstein explains that in the movie business, B movie king Roger Corman was beyond compare in recognizing and nurturing talent.

Sydney Finkelstein WebsiteBlogTwitterHuffington Post • WikipediaDartmouth CollegeThinkers 50 • Goodreads • Harvard Business Review