All In


Book Title:  ALL IN: How Obsessive Leaders Achieve the Extra-Ordinary        
Author:  Robert Bruce Shaw
Publisher:  HarperCollins Leadership
List Price:   $27.99
Format:  209 pages, Hardback
Publication Date:   2020
ISBN: 978-1-4002-1220-0
Reviewer: Jason Loman
Review Date: February 2021


“ALL IN: How Obsessive Leaders Achieve the Extra-Ordinary” is, in short, about the benefits and drawbacks of obsessive leaders with beneficial insight on how to yoke obsessiveness. To begin, Shaw defines obsession through descriptive means and contrasts it with grit. Then he recounts the experiences of Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Travis Kalanick, and Jeff Bezos. Shaw compares the different obsessive styles of each leader and contrasts them against a more standard commitment to employment.

Overview of Book’s Structure

“ALL IN: How Obsessive Leaders Achieve the Extra-Ordinary” consists of 7 chapters divided into 3 groups, an unnamed opening group, Profiles in Obsession, and Making Obsession Work. Within Making Obsession Work the author includes notes, acknowledgements, index and finally an about of the author. The book flows from concept to concept well and uses quotes directly from the main subjects to illustrate various points. It reads easily and doesn’t portend an air of pretension.


Shaw takes the reader through each chapter by building on the previous chapter. Chapter 1 describes obsession in a way that gives the reader a working definition for the rest of the book. Shaw provides five caveats which help bound the limits of obsession:

  1. Obsession in not the only factor needed achieve something significant.
  2. Obsession is not always needed.
  3. Obsession is not entirely understandable or manageable.
  4. Experiences in an individual’s life do not inevitably result in a productively obsessive personality.
  5. There is a risk of glorifying these leaders and their achievements, which can distort what we can learn from them.

After providing a list of caveats Shaw begins to unpack what is beneficial for a firm and unhealthy for it, remove the glorification bestowed on famous obsessives and provide a clue for how society can benefit from obsessives…


To read entire Book Review, click here

How to cite this book review: Loman, J. (2021). ALL IN: How Obsessive Leaders Achieve the Extra-Ordinary, book review, PM World Journal, Vol. X, Issue III, March. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/pmwj103-Mar2021-Loman-All-In-Book-Review.pdf

About the Reviewer

Jason Loman

North Texas, USA

Jason Loman is a husband and father to an adorable family as well as a business owner and entrepreneur. He earned his BS in Technical Management from Embry-Riddle University with a major in Project Management. He holds a CAPM with an eye on the PMP certification and an interest in achieving a master’s degree in engineering management. Jason has been a project manager since 2009 in the aviation industry. Jason can be contacted at jasonpropm@gmail.com

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