Michael K. Levine’s People Over Process: Leadership for Agility highlights many things but one of its most interesting qualities is how it distinguishes Levine as a rarity in his field. The book has a number of unique elements working in its favor, as all good books do, but its fusion of creative writing, objectivity, innate understanding of human character, and command over complex concepts overlapping assorted disciplines sets it apart from many non-fiction texts.
Levine’s mastery of language is nearly as impressive as his conceptualization skills, but denoting how his mastery manifests itself is important. People Over Process is not defined by ostentatious writing accessible only for a chosen few. He succeeds making the coins of his realm recognizable even for laymen who might not otherwise be familiar with the language of his professional world and this comprehensibility makes People Over Process an informative and enjoyable reading experience.
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There are a number of reasons why this is so. Levine breaks with tradition in books of this type thanks to the range of writing devices he uses. Yes, there are the customary figures and/or illustrations augmenting the text, there are sections appending to the end of People Over Process for readers interested in further study, but there are significant variations within the form separating Levine’s work from many other books in the field. Levine makes free and frequent use of his creative writing talents to construct scenarios for his readers that serve multiple purposes.
The chief purposes they serve are to, first, break up any potential monotony in the book’s presentation; Levine’s book never feels like a lifeless or inert academic exercise to be endured rather than appreciated and this is a pivotal reason why. The second is how these sections illuminate his ideas and concepts in vivid and unusual ways different from other books of its type.
The aforementioned figures and illustrations are, like the text, presented in understandable fashion. In the hands of an executive and long-time team leader like Levine, they could err to the side of dominating the volume, but Levine maintains a healthy balance between such additions and his writing. He adds two appendixes after the book’s twenty chapters that are never extraneous and fleshed out with the same discerning intelligence embodying the book overall. Levine never gives readers any more or less than they need from this text. He is akin to a musician who, preceding recording, has a firm handle on his composition and can document it for others without any excess or fuss. He knows what he wants to say and how to say it.
This review cannot do justice to the scope of Levine’s accomplishment with this book. He has taken a well tailored canvas and painted readers a vibrant and fully visualized portrait of what ideal leadership under the auspices of agility looks like in 2019.and presents it in such a way that this text will stand os a definitive word on the subject for many years to come. People Over Process: Leadership for Agility is deceptively ambitious and useful in a multitude of ways.