Survival of the Savvy

“Politics are a reality in any organization but as this terrific book shows, you don’t have to throw your ethics and integrity out the window to master the game. Brandon and Seldman’s fresh approach to a taboo topic is as entertaining as it is inspiring. Survival of the Savvy will teach you how to avoid the ego trips and journey with others to greatness.” Ken Blanchard, co-author of The One Minute Manager and Customer Mania!

“Brandon and Seldman, two clever writers, give a lifeline to anyone treading water or trying synchronized swimming in the corporate shark tank… They fill their book with practical, tactical tips to help protect their readers’ assets.” Harvey Mackay, author of Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive

“Survival of the Savvy is a critically important book for the new era of business! Leaders need to learn how to win in a world that is both ultra-competitive on the business side and ultra-sensitive to issues involving ethics.” Marshall Goldsmith, coauthor of The Leader of the Future

“… the definitive book on political savvy.” Robert Eichinger, coauthor of The Career Architect and FYI: For Your Improvement published by Lominger Ltd Inc.

“This book is essential for anyone who has ever tried to play a game without knowing the rules. Survival of the Savvy offers proven practical strategies, techniques and rules of the game for anyone who wants to be an MVP in the business world.” Jean M. Otte, Founder and CEO, WOMEN Unlimited, Inc., and author of Changing the Corporate Landscape: A Woman’s Guide to Cultivating Leadership Excellence

Survival of the Savvy can be purchased at bookstores everywhere, as well as through, and through

For personalized signed copies, $25 each plus shipping, for your employees, call Brandon Partners at 415.389.4740 or fill out the form above.


See the Organizational Savvy Self-Assessment.

Wall Street Journal Bestseller

Two of the nation’s most successful corporate leadership consultants now reveal their proven, systematic program for using the power of “high-integrity” politics to achieve career success, maximize your team’s impact, and protect your company’s reputation and bottom line. Each day in business, a corporate version of “survival of the fittest” is played out. Power plays, turf battles, deception, and sabotage block individuals’ career progress and threaten companies’ resources and results. After reading this book, you will never have to say, “I didn’t see it coming.”

In Survival of the Savvy, Rick Brandon and Marty Seldman provide ethical but street-smart strategies for navigating corporate politics to gain “impact with integrity”. Organizational savvy is a mission-critical competency for leaders wanting to protect their companies.

The right balance of company politics is a vital health signal of corporate culture and image. This timely and timeless book provides cutting-edge strategies and skills. As a steward for your company’s welfare, you can increase your individual success while enhancing organizational outcomes.

Despite excellent intentions, many corporate employees, managers, and executives are too narrowly focused on their own facts, logic, and analysis. Assuming our “results will speak for themselves,” we may become the victims of other “behind-the-scenes” forces operating in our organizations. We may not build enough support for our ideas, or be blind to hidden agendas, power relationships, and the politics with which decisions are sometimes made. We could be short-changing ourselves out of career opportunities or diminishing our influence and impact. We may not receive proper credit or recognition, and may even be vulnerable to sabotage by other more power-driven colleagues or bosses. The antidote — the first half of Survival of the Savvy provides an individual-level wake-up call.

The second half of the book sounds the alarm for managers through a leadership level wake-up call. As leaders, we are all stewards for our companies’ resources, results, and reputations. We all know how these assets can be scorched by Overly Political individuals. So, Survival of the Savvy picks up where all other books on organizational politics stop — by providing step-by-step recommendations for leaders to take the temperature of their organization’s political health, building more savvy but ethical teams, and forging a high-integrity politics culture in their companies.

Survival of the Savvy will help you to adjust your attitudes about power and politics, confront your own naiveté about organizational dynamics that are often swept under the carpet, and recognize “tip-offs” that you may be vulnerable. The book’s fast-paced design uses case studies, dynamic skill-based prescriptions, self-assessment tools, and a workshop-style “edu-taining” writing style to prevent you from being passed over, under-estimated, rendered expendable, or even purposely blocked from implementing your ideas or being promoted. Finally, you’ll learn to extend your individual “impact with integrity” to gain greater influence for your entire team and, ultimately, to reshape the political terrain of the enterprise.

Birth of the Book

Marty Seldman & Rick Brandon

Rick Brandon and Marty Seldman met in the early 1980s while working at a national performance-improvement consulting firm that focuses on interpersonal business communication skills. In the 1990s, they parted to pursue separate niches but continued to admire each other’s respective expertise — Rick’s in high-impact, strategic behavior-change seminars and Marty’s in executive coaching for top managers. As Rick cultivated a reputation for fast-paced corporate skill-building workshops and energetic keynote presentations, Marty became the “turn-around guru” for derailed or blocked careers and gathered empirical data on executive success and derailment factors.

In 2000 a client asked Rick for a development program to help middle managers become more savvy as they made a career turn into executive ranks. Rick reasoned that leaders need such insight and ethical politics skills before getting into career trouble that might require executive coaching. The two former colleagues hooked up again, adapted Marty’s consulting findings about corporate political savvy, and added concrete, street-smart “Savvy Skill Sets.” The result was a high-impact, “edu-taining” workshop called Organizational Savvy: Avoiding Political Blind Spots, now a cornerstone of many corporations’ leadership development programs.

Many clients have hailed Seldman’s and Brandon’s work on organizational savvy as a vital competency for today’s complex leadership and organizational challenges. Therefore, the two decided to spread the visibility of organizational savvy by applying their successful “best of both worlds” coaching and training collaboration to the writing of Survival of the Savvy: High-Integrity Political Tactics for Career and Company Success (Free Press, 2004).

Honors and Press

Survival of the Savvy and the authors’ other work on Organizational Savvy has been singled out for recognition by these publications, media spots, and professional organizations:

  • Wall Street Journal Best Seller List.
  • Forbes CEO Network Book Club Pick, March 2005.
  • Selected Book of Month, December 2004, Institute for Management Studies.
  • Book reviews and articles in Harvard Business Review, ASTD Journal, Soundview’s Executive Book Summaries, Business Book Reviews, The Boston Globe, Library Journal, Bookpage, Publisher’s Weekly, Investors’ Business Weekly, Money, ASTD Journal, New York Times, Houston Chronicle, Kansas City Star, Biz New Orleans, Business 2 Business, Career Builder feature in various Knight Ridder and Tribune syndicated papers.
  • Radio, TV and Print appearances for many national and local stations, including Bloomberg TV.
  • Featured in an article for Exame, the Fortune magazine of Brazil, SAS’ in flight magazine in Norway, and acclaimed Organizational Politics book in India.
  • Translation and Distribution Throughout China and India.
  • Featured Presenters for The Conference Board, New York City and San Diego, and ASTD International Convention, Orlando, FL.
  • Featured advisors on where Seldman and Brandon weigh in with their savvy advice to questions submitted to the popular Office-Politics Forum, with 100,000-250,000 monthly hits.
  • Basis of Rick Brandon’s status as most requested faculty member by Institute for Management Studies in 2005 (18 cities).
  • Numerous keynote speaking engagements, including The Conference Board, ASTD International Convention, Society of Actuaries, and numerous client-based leadership forums, such as Citigroup, Wells Fargo Bank, Fireman’s Fund, Tyco, Agilent, Sprint, etc.
  • Cornerstone Training and Development Programs at many Fortune 500 and other companies.


Brandon and Seldman, for the first time, have presented practical strategies for using politics in a positive, ethical fashion. If you work in any organization, whether it be a Fortune 500 company, your local PTA, or your AYSO soccer league, this book will provide invaluable insights to enable you to achieve results in a manner which you can be proud of.

John McElroy, Senior Vice President
Human Resources and Corporate Services
Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc.

Who couldn’t use tips for being more savvy at work? An important resource for anyone who wants to get ahead today.

Bob Rosner, author of Gray Matters: The Workplace Survival Guide and internationally syndicated Working Wounded columnist

Seldman and Brandon have years of experience coaching and training at companies like PepsiCo to help executives navigate the complexities and ambiguities of organizational politics with integrity and positive impact. Their practical tips on reading political styles, building a network and exercising verbal discipline are invaluable.

Michael D. White, Chairman and CEO
PepsiCo International

An extremely insightful perspective on the political world that lies within corporations. While many executives would like to think that their companies are apolitical, this is just not the case and those executives imperil their careers and their companies. This book is like a pocket coach providing practical insights on how to navigate in the 21st Century Corporation.

Mannie Sousa, Vice President Human Resources
Saks Fifth Avenue

Terrific book that captures the upside and downside of politics in an organization. As you read each chapter, the ‘aha’s’ just keep on coming. Brandon and Seldman have written a true winner full of proven successful techniques that leaders at all levels will want to practice.

Deb Capolarello, Senior Vice President Human Resources
Chief Talent Officer, MetLife

For years their workshop has been a most requested and successful leadership program. Now funneling their workshop into “edu-training” book form, Brandon and Seldman skillfully help leaders understand the unwritten norms for success and career development in times of growth, cultural and organizational change.

Laurie LeRoy, Senior Vice President, Director
Development and Training

This book offers indispensable insight into the positive power of politics in an organization. If you can’t hire Brandon or Seldman as a personal coach, this book is the next best thing!

Wendy Bloom, Senior Manager, Human Capital and Leadership
Best Buy Co., Inc.

Survival of the Savvy assists CEOs to survey their organizations so that they can build relationship bench strength possessing integrity and ethical management while also building a great company culture committed to top performance and loyalty.

President and Chief Executive Officer
Nektar Therapeutics

After reading Survival of the Savvy no manager will dare say, ‘I’m not political.’ Instead they will embrace the need to understand what motivates individuals, will know how to detect and handle hidden agendas and will be able to build a high-integrity culture.

Peter D. Gibbons, Executive Vice President Supply Chain
ICI Paint

… the definitive book on political savvy.”

Robert Eichinger, coauthor of The Career Architect and FYI: For Your Improvement published by Lominger Ltd Inc.

Two street-smart psychologists with more than a half century’s combined experience in performance improvement coaching and training show that you can be hurt by being overly political or by political blind spots and naivete. Rather than offer a “one size fits all” prescription, they help you assess your political style, note your strengths and weaknesses, and then supplement your style with savvy strategies that deliver impact with integrity. Who couldn’t use that?

Robert H. Bolton, Ph.D.
Author of People Skills and People Styles at Work

Seldman and Brandon are just in time. Survival of the Savvy gives us the elite intelligence and powerful tools to ensure personal success and improved business performance during turbulent corporate times. This book is better than an MBA!

Dennis Zeleny, Former Senior Vice President Human Resources
E.I. DuPont De Nemours and Company

This book is essential for anyone who has ever tried to play a game without knowing the rules. Survival of the Savvy offers proven practical strategies, techniques and rules of the game for anyone who wants to be an MVP in the business world.

Jean M. Otte, Founder and CEO, WOMEN Unlimited, Inc. and author of Changing the Corporate Landscape: A Woman’s Guide to Cultivating Leadership Excellence

In the post Enron-era, this is a true practical guide for individuals and leadership teams to navigate the rough waters of corporate integrity.

Julie Staub, Director, Human Resources
AutoNation, Inc.

This book delivers a powerful message on leadership. Effective leaders learn early that adapting your leadership style to motivate others is one of the most effective skills any leader can possess. Survival of the Savvy shows any individual how to step beyond their comfort zone to become a better leader, parent, or person.

Eric Foss, President
Pepsi Bottling Group North America

Survival of the Savvy provides CEO’s, business leaders and their teams with vital new insights and essential skills. The authors set the bar at a new height in describing how to effectively understand and influence others and how to ensure a values based and high performance work culture.

Edward Ludwig, Chairman, CEO and President
Becton, Dickinson and Company

Brandon and Seldman tap into the nervous system of corporations and offer fascinating straight talk about a tacit business taboo – their writing is engaging, entertaining, and easy to relate to.

Deborah Harrington, National Training Director
Citibank North America

Ignore corporate politics and you may find yourself sleeping with the fishes. Organization savvy is a topic that’s tough to get your arms around but Survival of the Savvy is tops on my list for its practical and proven approach for navigating through today’s rough organizational waters.

Deb Himsel, Vice President, Organization Effectiveness
Avon Products, Inc.

You can influence with political wisdom and integrity! Whether you’re a CEO, a teacher or a new employee, you can continually tune your understanding of yourself and of your work environment. Survival of the Savvy is an outstanding toolkit.

Jim Kennedy, Director of Equities
T. Rowe Price Associates

All of us know the conflict and pain that comes from grappling with negative organizational politics and power struggles. This incredibly practical and lucid book tackles the inner games of corporate politics in a way that brings candor, balance, integrity, hope and strength to any wounded warrior. The section on defusing saboteurs demonstrates grace honesty under pressure and forgiveness without copping out from tough choices leaders have to make.

Gerald G. Jampolsky, M.D.
Founder of International Center for Attitudinal Healing

Survival of the Savvy is a critically important book for the new era of business! Leaders need to learn how to win in a world that is both ultra-competitive on the business side and ultra-sensitive to issues involving ethics.

Marshall Goldsmith, coauthor of The Leader of the Future

Brandon and Seldman, two clever writers, give a lifeline to anyone treading water or trying synchronized swimming in the corporate shark tank… They fill their book with practical, tactical tips to help protect their readers’ assets.

Harvey Mackay
Author of Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive

Survival of the Savvy is a career-saving ‘survival guide’ for today’s business leaders. Brandon and Seldman have developed a pragmatic toolkit to help managers detect deception and to develop political astuteness in their work environment.

Peter C. Smith, Executive Vice President
Chief Human Resources Officer, Burger King Corporation

Survival of the Savvy is invaluable for all business leaders who are seeking to understand the connectivity of emotional intelligence, the application of “high integrity” politics in achieving business effectiveness and career success.

Ron Parker, Senior Vice President, Human Resources
Frito-Lay North America

A refreshing view of the importance of corporate politics. Survival of the Savvy isn’t about the nonsense of stamping out organizational politics Ð it’s about facing reality and learning how to manage yourself and your team, from the CEO down.

Carol Bartz, Chairman, CEO
Autodesk, Inc.

Survival of the Savvy describes the political landscape inside of organizations. If you want to deftly navigate the political whitewater in your organization this is the book for you.

Jon Peters, President
The Institute for Management Studies

This book has provided me with a systemic understanding of the root cause of company politics and how as a leader one can coach the organization to be mature and effective about managing it. As I have always believed, it takes a politically savvy leader to create an environment that is not excessively political. I just learned a lot from this book on how to become one.

Sam Su, President, Greater China
YUM Global Restaurants

In the crowded field of leadership and business books, Brandon and Seldman have written a watershed resource that is vital for leaders and professionals. Finally, a practical resource for understanding and effectively dealing with politics, ethics, deception and effectively “doing the right thing” at high levels of performance!

Edward Betof Ed.D. ,Vice President and Chief Learning Officer
Becton, Dickinson and Company

The challenge of leadership is much more about HOW to get things done than it is WHAT things should get done. This book teaches you the HOW and demonstrates that politics and integrity are not mutually exclusive.

Michael Feiner, Professor
Columbia Graduate School of Business

This is a book we all could have used when we were 25 years old. It provides perspectives that make so much sense, and can be readily applied to any workplace – small or large, public or private. Survival of the Savvy can improve almost anyone’s personal effectiveness with no compromise on ethics.

Pete Bassi, Chairman
Yum Restaurants International