At Harvard Business School Publishing in Watertown, Mass., synergy isn't just a buzz word. So when Daniel Goleman's 1998 Harvard Business Review article "What Makes a Leader?" went platinum—it was the magazine's most requested reprint—the company's book-publishing arm, Harvard Business School Press, made the author of Emotional Intelligence and Working with Emotional Intelligence an offer they hoped he wouldn't refuse.
Actually, HBS Press was the only house to bid on Goleman's look at how bad bosses make for bad business in Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence (Mar.), written with Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee. His agent, John Brockman, never even offered it to Bantam, which published Goleman's previous books on EI and will release his Destructive Emotions, co-written with the Dalai Lama, next year.
For Goleman, publishing Primal Leadership with HBS was a natural segue from writing for the Harvard Business Review, though it caps a trajectory that was "quite unexpected" for him. "In Emotional Intelligence, there was one thin chapter on leadership. As small as it was, it got a huge response from organizations. Then my second book focused on EI and work effectiveness." Still, Goleman sees an audience for Primal Leadership that extends beyond business readers. "Resonant leadership—from the heart, to the heart—isn't needed just in the workplace," he told PW. "If you're managing someone, it's not very different from being a parent."
As part of HBS Publishing's full-press promotional effort, Harvard Business Review ran an adaptation from Primal Leadership in December and will publish Goleman's "Taking Stock: Reawakening Your Passion to Work" in April. At the end of February, Goleman was the keynote speaker at the Innovative Leadership Forum in San Francisco, sponsored by Accenture and HBS Publishing's conference division. HBS's Enterprise Solutions Group is already marketing an e-learning program on leadership, which includes a section on Goleman's ideas.
In recent years, nonprofit HBS Press has been spending money as if it were a large trade house. Last year, for instance, it reportedly paid $250,000 for a book on Dean Kamen's Segway transporter. Now it's planning to shell out another quarter of a million to sell its 100,000-copy first printing of Primal Leadership. Money is budgeted for ads in Business Week, the Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker and the daily New York Times. The press plans a heavy online publicity campaign to business Web sites, such as CNN.com, as well as a 20-city TV and radio satellite tour. Print interviews have already been confirmed for O Magazine, Business 2.0 and Time.
Even with all the hoopla, the jury's still out on whether marketing money can insure big sales. At University Bookstore in Seattle, buyer Jay Weaver said, "I decided to make Primal Leadership a store bestseller, which means we're discounting it 20%, featuring it on a display table and doing space advertising. Leadership books have always been popular for us. It seems like one that will crossover." For Jack Covert, president and founder of 800-CEO-READS, the corporate-sales division of the Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops in Milwaukee, "Leadership is always huge. I'm expecting Primal Leadership to sell very well." However, his consumer sales counterpart, Daniel Goldin, is treading more lightly. "I bought it, but I didn't buy it aggressively. Harvard can push all they want, but a lot of these books have a life of their own."