George Siedel’s Book on Pedagogy

Michigan Business School Emeritus Professor George Siedel recently published a book you might want to read – Seven Essentials for Business Success: Lessons from Legendary Professors.  Although it focuses on teaching in business schools, it provides insights relevant to pedagogy in higher education more generally.

The book takes readers into the classrooms of award-winning professors at Stanford, Harvard, and other leading schools to show how they teach the seven key subjects that form the core curriculum in business schools.  George interviewed the professors, visited their classrooms, talked with their colleagues and students, and watched YouTube videos of them in action.  The concluding chapter summarizes six themes that lead to the professors’ success and includes many examples of the authenticity that characterizes the professors’ identity and integrity.

You might be especially interested in the chapter on how Steve Kaplan teaches a course on corporate and entrepreneurial finance at the University of Chicago Law School and the chapter on Richard Shell’s law course at Wharton.  Similar to successful mediators, Kaplan, Shell and the other legendary professors have wonderful active listening skills.

An Amazon review provides an apt description:

I think of this book as a kind of anthropological field guide.  It is based literally on field work.  George Siedel attended a class session and watched each of these Professors teach.  He interviewed these 7 exemplary B-school Professors.  He offers biographical profiles, ‘a day in the life’ vignettes, and an overview of their courses.  He takes us ‘inside’ their worlds.  Here, we come to understand and see teaching as ‘intellectual craftsmanship.’ … [I]n a thoughtful and substantive summary, chapter 10, George Siedel ‘connects the dots.’  We see both common patterns across the set of Professors and also see individual idiosyncratic strengths at work. … We see Professors continually learning from their audience (students) and tweaking their content to ensure greater relevance.

The preface provides more detail about the conclusion:

Chapter 10 concludes with discussion of a key factor in the success of these professors beyond their teaching skills: the authenticity they bring to the classroom and to their other activities.  While authenticity is an elusive concept, their professional lives include concrete examples in the form of their passion for the material they teach, concern for students, dedication to lifelong learning, and focus on a higher purpose that benefits society.  Through their efforts, they inspire students to understand the importance of values and integrity, enable the creation of hundreds of startup companies and thousands of jobs, encourage organizations to create positive work environments that inspire employees to strive for excellence, and support the development of policies designed to enable people at all levels of society to share in a nation’s prosperity.

George is an expert in negotiation, having written Negotiating for Success: Essential Strategies and Skills and offered an open online course based on the book.

Take a look at his new (and older) book.

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