Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader Spiral-Bound |

Herminia Ibarra

★★★☆☆+ from 1,001 to 10,000 ratings

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You aspire to lead with greater impact. The problem is you’re busy executing on today’s demands. You know you have to carve out time from your day job to build your leadership skills, but it’s easy to let immediate problems and old mind-sets get in the way. Herminia Ibarra—an expert on professional leadership and development and a renowned professor at INSEAD, a leading international business school—shows how managers and executives at all levels can step up to leadership by making small but crucial changes in their jobs, their networks, and themselves. In Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader, she offers advice to help you:

• Redefine your job in order to make more strategic contributions
• Diversify your network so that you connect to, and learn from, a bigger range of stakeholders
• Become more playful with your self-concept, allowing your familiar—and possibly outdated—leadership style to evolve

Ibarra turns the usual “think first and then act” philosophy on its head by arguing that doing these three things will help you learn through action and will increase what she calls your outsight—the valuable external perspective you gain from direct experiences and experimentation. As opposed to insight, outsight will then help change the way you think as a leader: about what kind of work is important; how you should invest your time; why and which relationships matter in informing and supporting your leadership; and, ultimately, who you want to become.

Packed with self-assessments and practical advice to help define your most pressing leadership challenges, this book will help you devise a plan of action to become a better leader and move your career to the next level. It’s time to learn by doing.
Publisher: Ingram Publisher Services
Original Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 200 pages
ISBN-10: 1422184129
Item Weight: 1.0 lbs
Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.3 inches
Customer Reviews: 3 out of 5 stars 1,001 to 10,000 ratings

"Such a clearly written and empowering book, that does so much more than the title suggests (which is quite a lot!) This book has really helped re-energise me as a person, as well as look at our agency and my role--now I focus on the business and not the work. I appreciate it's a bit out of place from the rest of the selection, so see it as an update on where we're at now as people and as a business. The music is still there, the art is still there, and the inspiration is still there." -- Dan Moore, managing director, It's Nice That

2016 Axiom Business Book Silver Award in LEADERSHIP

“[One] of my favourite business books…Ibarra, an Insead professor, points out that the best way to learn how to be a leader is to lead… She includes great advice about networking, authenticity and storytelling, areas that in other hands can seem like hopeless fads.” — Financial Times

Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader serves as a thoroughly original, practical guide to becoming a better leader.” — TD magazine (Association for Talent Development)

“Packed with self-assessments and a huge amount of practical advice this book will help you to devise a plan of action to become a better leader and bring your career to the next level. One of the best self-improvement and leadership books now around.” — Andreas von der Heydt, Head of Kindle Content at Amazon, Germany

Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader, another of my favourite business books of action-packed guide to the leadership transition” — Andrew Hill, Financial Times

“The opposite of a traditional guidebook, the book will inspire you to achieve success and satisfaction in a fast-evolving workplace.” — Business Insider

“Looking at the flood of new publications on the theme of leadership, the question arises if they are actually of any use to the reader. The book Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader by INSEAD Professor Herminia Ibarra is unquestionably an exception. Based on a solid academic basis, it delivers concrete assistance for the first time takeover of a leadership role….” — Personalwirtschaft magazine

“According to Ibarra, building a more diverse network can deliver flashes of 'outsight', which in turn can help us redefine what we do and who we are. Her book provides a lot of sound practical advice to get you started.” — Mind Tools (

“Received wisdom dictates thinking should come before acting...But Herminia Ibarra doesn’t have much time for received wisdom. In her provocative and essential new book, Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader, Ibarra flips the status quo on its head. The only way to become a leader, she states, is to start acting like one.” — HR Magazine

“This highly unconventional management book…is based on [Ibarra's] years of teaching at the highest level and researching how managers 'step up' to leadership.” — Developing Leaders

“Against the current of advice to be authentic and transparent, a great scholar examines the dangers of being true to yourself… an important book.” — Adam Grant, as seen on LinkedIn

“…an excellent, insightful and thoughtful book for leaders of any tenure to consider as they seek out new ways to redefine (and arguably refine) their leadership abilities.” — Dan Pontefract, Forbes

“Concise, direct, and possessing a certain flair, Ibarra’s new book (her second) is a projection of her personality.” — strategy+business magazine

“4 must-read IT leadership books” — CIO Magazine

“…a terrific book by one of Insead's most famous professors... It will surely become a benchmark for other management and practical 'how-to' books.” — Julia Hobsbawm, professor of networking, and founder of Editorial Intelligence (As seen in Management Today)

“… a huge amount of practical advice in it, and the argument quickly becomes persuasive after the first few pages. Well worth the time.” — Business Traveller (

“Herminia Ibarra's latest offering—Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader—is a breath of fresh air, standing out from the crowd because it actually addresses a common failing in management, while offering an actionable solution.” — Engineering and Technology Magazine, The Institution of Engineering and Technology

“…a fantastic exercise for all of us who are constantly learning and growing into being the best leaders we can be.” — Small Business Trends (

“If you feel you've done enough thinking about leadership, or perhaps feel you can't afford the time it would take, this book will help you identify ways to leap in.” — Amy Lindgren, Twin Cities Business

ADVANCE PRAISE for Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader:

Joe Kaeser, CEO, Siemens AG—
“Herminia Ibarra’s insightful new book is an inspirational read for everyone who has a passion for leading and developing people. In times of rapid change, her profound research and hands-on approach of ‘transforming by doing’ is broadening horizons.”

Susan P. Peters, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, GE—
“In this provocative new book, Herminia Ibarra takes into account the high-velocity, shape-shifting context that we all live in and offers an action-oriented, practical playbook on leadership, identity, and change. It is a must-read for the contemporary leader.”

Marshall Goldsmith, author of New York Times and global best seller What Got You Here Won’t Get You There
“Herminia Ibarra has created a valuable and successful model for helping forward-thinking professionals move up the corporate ladder.”

Linda A. Hill, Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School; coauthor of Being the Boss: The 3 Imperatives for Becoming a Great Leader
Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader provides insightful and practical advice about how to do the hardest thing of all—change ourselves.”

Charlotte Beers, former CEO, Ogilvy & Mather; former Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, US Department of State—
“In order to be a better leader, you need to ‘act first, then think.’ Read this book to find out what a most original thinker, Herminia Ibarra, has in mind.”

Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever—
“This intelligent and thought-provoking book is for those who really want to make a difference—those willing to act their way into leadership situations they might previously have thought themselves out of.”

Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School Professor; best-selling author of Confidence and SuperCorp
“Herminia Ibarra clears the myths about leadership with her fresh, profound, yet down-to-earth book about the importance of action over introspection. She’s the perfect coach, showing aspiring leaders how to get over themselves and see the world around them. Her stories and tools make this a must-read for blossoming as a leader.”
Herminia Ibarra is an expert on professional and leadership development. She is the Cora Chaired Professor of Leadership and Learning at INSEAD, the founding director of The Leadership Transition executive education program at INSEAD, and the author of Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career (Harvard Business Review Press, 2003).