The Business of People



Book Title:  The Business of People: Leadership for the Changing World
Author:  Iain Fraser, Madeleine Taylor
Publisher:  CRS Press – Taylor & Francis Group
List Price:   US$59.9
Format:  189 pages, hardcover, softcover, ebook
Publication Date:  July 2019
ISBN: 13: 978-9-367-25102-4
Reviewer: Muriel Hairston-Cooper, PMP         
Review Date: January 2021



In the past, publications about leadership were many times structured for an elite, monolithic reader who traditionally co-existed in a secluded world, where business entrances reflected images of portraits hung in the corner offices. The Business of People: Leadership for the Changing World is today’s remedy for this outdated structure. The book presents a realistic view about the skill sets needed to successfully navigate leadership in the 21st century.

By taking a “people” approach through a quick-read process, the authors have paired psychological examination, cultural experiences, and practical advice that is both non-judgmental, yet gently probing to challenge the reader as a leader and as a human being.

Overview of Book’s Structure

The book’s theme revolves around the leadership theories of Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA). Although the book was published in 2019, it has timely content that acknowledges the implications of living in the unforeseen 2020 VUCA environment. With a reader-friendly dialogue, the authors inject critical information through an emotional lens followed with a sense of lightness and empathy.

In keeping with our diverse workforce, “Sam,” (an intentionally-chosen gender-neutral name) is portrayed in a number of position as they/she/he/his/her career moves from a staffer to mid-level management to the role of the CEO. Each chapter starts with a story that focuses on specific topics that Sam is dealing with – both on a professional and personal front and moves to offer key solutions for the situation. Non-identifiable, but real case studies are introduced followed by a selection of resource tools and guidance. The authors also offer the reader a group of poems to offer a “woosah” moment – much needed in this VUCA environment and again reflective on the “human” recognition that is needed in navigating leadership roles.


The Business of People lives up to its title to put people first. The book examines what we in project management are hearing more and more about in the importance of critical “soft skills.” No longer under the era in which the “boss must walk softly and carry a big stick,” businesses are now seeking those who know how to use soft skills as tools of development, engagement, and persuasion.


To read entire Book Review, click here

How to cite this book review: Hairston-Cooper, M. (2021). The Business of People: Leadership for the Changing World, book review, PM World Journal, Vol. X, Issue VIII, August. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/pmwj108-Aug2021-Hairston-Cooper-The-Business-of-People-book-review.pdf

About the Reviewer

Muriel Hairston-Cooper, PMP

Maryland, USA


Muriel Hairston-Cooper is a member of the Silver Spring, Maryland Chapter of  PMI and earned her PMP certification in 2018. She is the senior manager of stakeholder engagement at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. A servant-leader, she has been responsible for constructing relationships with congressional leaders and staff, CEOs, and organizations around public policy and civic engagement, directing communications and public affairs, managing programs, coordinating special events, compiling budgetary aspects of national conferences, and cultivating philanthropic partnerships. She can be contacted at Coopermuriel01@gmail.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/muriel-cooper-4b617921/


Editor’s note:  This book review was the result of a partnership between the publisher, PM World and the PMI Silver Spring Chapter. Authors and publishers provide the books to the PMI Silver Spring Chapter, where they are offered free to PMI members to review; book reviews are published in the PM World Journal and PM World Library.  PMI Silver Spring Chapter members can keep the books as well as claim PDUs for PMP recertification when their reviews are published.  Chapter members are generally mid-career professionals, the audience for most project management books. 

If you are an author or publisher of a project management-related book, and would like the book reviewed through this program, please contact editor@pmworldjournal.com.