Book review: Elite

Emma De Vita reviews the new book by Floyd Woodrow and Simon Acland


Elitism has fallen out of favour with most people, so it's interesting to read a book that extols its virtues.

One of the authors is Floyd Woodrow, who was in the SAS for more than 20 years. You don't get more elite than that. The venture capitalist Simon Acland is his co-writer.

Woodrow wants to share the secret to exceptional leadership and performance.

"I have worked alongside extremely talented people and there is no doubt in my mind that there are core principles that weave their way like a golden thread through their minds, bodies and behaviours," he writes.

If you're interested in a glimpse into the mind of an SAS soldier, and want a common-sensical yet thought-provoking guide to becoming a leader, look no further. Woodrow writes about personality types, understanding your aims, communication and negotiation, team leadership and organisational leadership. The qualities that he advocates for team leaders are: ambition for the success of the organisation rather than themselves; self-effacing characteristics that enable them to allow their team to take the credit and help them to develop successors; and a resolve to achieve excellence. Remember: who dares, wins.

Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

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