Selected: Why Some People Lead, Why Others Follow, and Why It Matters

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Random House of Canada, Jan 18, 2011 - Psychology - 304 pages
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A groundbreaking, evolutionary science-based exploration of the history of leadership that explains how and why some men and women evolve into good or great leaders, and some do not.

We are all leaders or followers — or both. We can recognise leadership in almost every area of life: in the workplace, among friends, within families, in politics and religion. But what makes a good or bad leader, and what makes an outstanding one? Selected examines how and why leadership has evolved over tens of thousands of years, and presents a bold and compelling new "mismatch hypothesis": the slowness of evolution means that there is a mismatch between modern leadership and the kind of leadership that our Stone Age brains are still wired for. This makes for all sorts of tendencies, problems and solutions that no author has yet discussed but that affect all aspects of our lives.

Full of fascinating examples drawn from a diverse range of spheres, from politics and commerce to sport and culture, Selected explains why taller political candidates usually win, why women chief executives attract such hostility, why we like it when the boss asks after our children and what prime ministers and presidents can do to improve their chances of electoral success.

This is the first book of its kind — reaching into business, psychology, politics and current affairs — to explore how leadership affects us all. It also offers the first truly scientific theory of leadership: where previous books have provided anecdote, it details empirical evidence. Selected provides deep insight into our personal and professional lives at a time when the world urgently needs to acknowledge great leadership.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

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NATURALLY SELECTED: The Evolutionary Science of Leadership

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A pop-psych effort at identifying the traits of a leader, in which nature trumps nurture.What makes a good leader? Write van Vugt (Psychology/VU University Amsterdam) and journalist Ahuja, the good ... Read full review

Contents

The nature of leadership
13
Its all just a game
42
Born to follow
65
the democratic ape
94
The birth of corruption
122
The Mismatch Hypothesis
148
lessons in natural leadership
184
Envoi
209
Notes
226
Index
247
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About the author (2011)

MARK VAN VUGT is professor of psychology at the VU University of Amsterdam and holds honorary positions at the Universities of Oxford and Kent in the UK.

ANJANA AHUJA is a feature writer with a weekly science column in the Times, where she first introduced Mark's work to a wider audience, and holds a Ph.D. in space physics.


From the Hardcover edition.

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