Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations

By Ori Brafman, Rod A Beckstrom
If you cut off a spider's leg, it's crippled; if you cut off its head, it dies. But if you cut off a starfish's leg it grows a new one, and the old leg can grow into an entirely new starfish.

What's the hidden power behind the success of Wikipedia, craigslist, and Skype? What do eBay and General Electric have in common with the abolitionist and women's rights movements? What fundamental choice put General Motors and Toyota on vastly different paths? How could winning a Supreme Court case be the biggest mistake MGM could have made?

After five years of ground-breaking research, Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom share some unexpected answers, gripping stories, and a tapestry of unlikely connections. "The Starfish and the Spider" argues that organizations fall into two categories: traditional "spiders," which have a rigid hierarchy and top-down leadership, and revolutionary "starfish," which rely on the power of peer relationships.

"The Starfish and the Spider" explores what happens when starfish take on spiders (such as the music industry vs. Napster, Kazaa, and the P2P services that followed). It reveals how established companies and institutions, from IBM to Intuit to the US government, are also learning how to incorporate starfish principles to achieve success. The book explores:

* How the Apaches fended off the powerful Spanish army for 200 years
* The power of a simple circle
* The importance of catalysts who have an uncanny ability to bring people together
* How the Internet has become a breeding ground for leaderless organizations
* How Alcoholics Anonymous has reached untold millions with only a shared ideology and without a leader

"The Starfish and the Spider" is the rare book that will change how you understand the world around you.


NEWS & OPINION: Sway: The Irresistable Pull of Irrational Behavior

Posted August 5, 2008, 7:43 PM with category of Management & Workplace Culture
The other day I had an interesting conversation with the two Brafman brothers -- Ori and Rom -- who wrote Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior. Turns out we shouldn't always trust our gut instinct. I just posted the podcast if you'd like to learn why that's true. Read more

JACK COVERT SELECTS: Amazon's Top Ten Business Books for 2006

Posted December 12, 2006, 5:49 PM with category of Management & Workplace Culture
Here is editors' list from Amazon for the best business books of 2006. The Long Tail by Chris Anderson* Making Globalization Work by Joesph Stiglitz Success Built To Last by Porras, et al. * The Starfish and The Spider by Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom* Knowledge and The Wealth of Nations by David Warsh Origin of Wealth by Eric Beinhocker Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert* Mavericks at Work by Bill Taylor and Polly LaBarre* Changing Minds by Howard Gardner Setting The Table by Danny Meyer* *Six of these books were also chosen as Jack Covert Selects in 2006. Read more

JACK COVERT SELECTS: Jack Covert Selects: The Starfish and The Spider

Posted November 13, 2006, 4:19 PM with category of Management & Workplace Culture
The Starfish and The Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations By Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom, Portfolio, 240 Pages, $24. 95, Hardcover, October 2006, ISBN 1591841437 I don't know many business books that start with a story about the Apache Indians in the 1600's. Read more

NEWS & OPINION: The Starfish and the Spider by Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom

Posted October 6, 2006, 4:46 PM with category of Management & Workplace Culture
  To introduce you to The Starfish and the Spider, here's a quip from inBubbleGuy: Most organizations rely on a hierarchical chain-of-command structure. These companies are "spiders. " On the other hand you have businesses like Wikipedia and Craigslist that don't rely on any central command or top-down strategy, yet continue to thrive without formal leadership. Read more

NEW RELEASES: Business Books: Fall 2006 Preview

Posted August 31, 2006, 3:45 PM with category of Personal Development & Human Behavior
I am starting to get asked what the big books for the fall are, so I thought I should get a list up here. As always, there is something for everyone. September A Leader's Legacy by James Kouzes and Barry Posner (Jossey-Bass) - This is a follow-on to the best-seller The Leadership Challenge; alot of people like Kouzes and Posner's take on leadership. Read more


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ISBN: 9781591841432

About the Hardcover

Publisher Portfolio
Publish date 10/01/2006
Pages 230
ISBN-13 9781591841432
ISBN-10 1591841437
Language English

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