Your rating(Clear)Rate this item
Share your thoughts with other customers

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book appears to be listed under "management." It is, however, unlike any other management book I've even seen. To me, the average leadership book is mostly about cheerleading, fads, and selling the author's services. Very rarely do I run into any actual science.

And that's what puts this book apart from all the rest. It's based on the discipline of Evolutionary Psychology (EP). EP posits that some of the ways we behave and think and feel were selected through evolution. For example, humans evolved in an environment of limited nutritional choices. That's why we crave sweets, fats, and salt. While that was effective hundred of thousands of years ago, when these things were scarce in the natural environment, it's very unhealthy and counter-productive today, when these things are cheap and available everywhere.

These kind of mismatches are a central theme to Naturally Selected. As another example, when we were still on the African savanna, leaders naturally came from among tall, strong males who could hold their own against wild animals, rivals within their own tribe, and rivals from other tribes. Unfortunately, we still tend to think that way. That's why, for example, the taller candidate tends to win the election, get the job, get the girl, etc.

There are plenty of positives in this book, but I think it's rather unique in the way it treats leadership in a much more circumspect, wholly objective way. Another good example of this is the "babble effect." That states that the people who talk the most are typically recognized as leaders among groups of strangers (juries, lab experiments, travellers, etc.). I could go on and on.

Probably the biggest thing I got out of this book is what causes so many people (usually males) to want be leaders in the first place. It's mostly a matter of increasing one's status. From an EP perspective, increased status means increased sexual partners, which is how such a propensity tends to get passed down.

I actually came to this book from the EP side of things. To me, I think this is an excellent application of EP. I'm really curious to know what more business-oriented types might think.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
The authors have shown great courage to give their scientifically based view on how leadership should really look like. An inconvenient truth for the authoritarian, Machiavellian and narcisistic leaders...
The book takes us on a fascinating journey: game theory perspective, the link between followership and leadership, the origins of altruism and collaboration, etc. It describes how the EEA (Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness)'shaped' us to become democratic and egalitarian. The book proves how the vast majority of our time as humans, distributive leadership developed, only being disrupted some 13,000 years ago when agriculture allowed us to become sedentary. This changed the "game" dramatically, and this gave rise to the collection of wealth and power, so that warlords and kingdoms could develop themselves, and followers suffered from leadership rather than benefiting from it. The ultimate driver beyond this acquisition of power stayed the same however: status to get to sex... In nowadays life, we see no else: huge salaries help people (mainly men) to display their status and have access to more sex-partners. The authors rightly argue this is not in the interest of the group or the company. The finish the book with a nice chapter of 10 important, almost take-away points for the 'new' organization to deal with the bright and dark sides of human behavior, especially from those in leadership positions.
There are only a few (although) important side-remarks to be made: it takes skill and a lot of knowledge to discover some hypotheses and some hypotheses which have already proven wrong: the notion of group selection (overwhelming data prove that kin selection is a much better explanation, also with great predictive power), the hypothesis that operant conditioning of leadership behavior can lead to a kind of template that can be passed on to next generations (this is a strange Lamarckian idea). The sidesteps to psychoanalysis (which can to a large extent be considered pseudoscience) are also very disturbing and maybe the biggest flaw is the idea that there is a kind of ratio: a ratio of followers (let's say 95%) and leaders (5%) in a population. This is impossible since genes in the gene pool always spread to the whole population, and it is impossible to have a sub-population of leaders. But admittedly, that takes quite some evolved knowledge of how evolution works.
But these forgivable flaws should not prevent us from reading this nicely written book!
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Thousands of books discuss how to become a great leader. This unusual book discusses the "why" of leadership. Why do leaders exist, why do they lead and why do others follow them? Psychology professor Mark van Vugt and London Times writer Anjana Ahuja take you back two million years, when humanity's ancestors first walked upright in perilous African savannahs, clustering in groups for protection and following leaders who could help them stay alive. Leadership proves so ancient that it predates language. The instincts for leadership and followership, both adaptive behaviors, are indelibly hard-wired into human brains thanks to the evolutionary process. This distinctive book scientifically examines leadership's ancient roots in fascinating fashion. getAbstract believes it will engage all kinds of leaders, although Machiavellian types may be distinctly uncomfortable to see their sinister traits analyzed with such devastating precision.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
"Naturally Selected" is the best book I've read on leadership. And, having a master's degree in leadership communication, I've read many books on the topic. I've always suspected that some of us are more genetically inclined to lead and some to follow - but that when push comes to shove most humans have some capacity to step up and lead. This was a fun, interesting and enlightening book to read. As a leadership communication trainer and writer, this book gave me a renewed and realistic frame of reference regarding evolution, history and where we go next in terms of leadership development. Thank you Mark van Vugt, PhD. and Anjana Ahuja for such an excellent read!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
There are 100 of thousands of books written on leadership, many with radically different understandings of how the phenomenon works. Here, finally, is an explanation of why that is so. Rooted in evolutionary biology, it looks asks why our species needs leadership, and how it has worked and evolved from an evolutionary perspective. Reminding us that modern times -- agriculture, industry, etc. -- are an evolutionary eyeblink, it lays our a comprehensive picture of our evolution as followers and then leaders, and helped me understand why so many modern adaptations of leadership seem insufficient. Well worth reading!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on September 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
On the surface, this book is about the recent science of Evolutionary Leadership Theory (ELT), as a branch of evolutionary psychology. But in reading a bit between the lines, I find that it is also about what it means to be human, and how our recipe for success (survival and reproduction) has brought us to be the dominant creature on the planet.

Written by a research scientist and a very able science writer, the authors answer some long standing questions about leadership, about why we favor the leaders we choose, and as importantly, about how both leadership and followership evolved over the course of two million years of living in small groups on the African savannah. The book takes pains to point out our similarities to and crucial differences from other primates, notably gorillas and chimpanzees, and even social insects such as ants and bees.

This is an idea whose time has come, and may be overdue, were it not for anti-evolutionist bias in some cultures. The book is quite readable, and presents both sides of our darker natures - a tendency to dominate, to exploit others, and to choose leaders more for looks than for competence and ability.

I have only two quibbles worth mentioning. The first is the use of British English slang, phrases and colloquialisms - which are essentially a foreign language to speakers of the American dialect. The second is the apparent neglect for the role of women leaders in our ancestral groups. While they may not have lead the hunt, or war parties, they almost certainly influenced other members of the tribe, due to their generally superior linguistic and emotional intelligence.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on August 29, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I have been working on my master's in organizational management when a professor told me about this book. I enjoyed it greatly and it meant allot to me. Many theories on leadership have been presented over the decades and they all tend to get messy or fall apart in any situation outside the conditions the original research was done. Likewise, many researchers in MBA/Org. Management programs come from backgrounds in social work or social sciences. The theories leave me hungry for something more substantive.

The authors of Naturally Selected postulate the theory that we select our leaders based of criteria developed during early human evolution. The conditions of that time period put natural selective pressures on early humanoids and therefore affected our DNA and with it our psychology. As a wildlife biologist, I like this idea because we think the reason many species evolved traits is adaption by natural selection. The authors also used information from anthropology, history, and economics. Their approach is multi-disciplinary and to me it seems a little more based in reality and more concrete.

Briefly I list some of the subjects: 1) the history of leadership 2) why leadership theories and leaders fail so often 3) how technology changes faster than our evolution--so we need to wary of "mismatches" in which our ancient mentality may misdiagnose leadership ability. 4) How to prevent these mismatches.

I enjoyed their work and I am applying in my management library.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on October 26, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Prof. Mark Van Vugt produced a memorable book which in my opinion is one of the best works of evolutionary psychology published in the last 25 years. Mark Van Vugt is undoubtedly one of the greatest social scientists today and this work, extremely well written, comes finally respond in deep and comprehensive form to one of the great dilemmas and phenomena of our species: why do some lead and others follow? The result is a brilliant book and very important that responds and explains in foundational way why evolution also incorporated the strategy of leadership among humans. This book is a must read and will go down in history of evolutionary theory as one of the main contributions and reinforcements of the theory of evolution.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on June 18, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Well sustained thesis about how genetics influence oír decissions, without Boeing noticed by ocurre conciousness. It helps a lot to explain management tendencias and failures.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on March 15, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Great book which opened me a world of Evolutionary Leadership and helped to understand why Agile and Scrum are really Natural frameworks in management. Thank you!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed

Leadership Code: Five Rules to Lead By
Leadership Code: Five Rules to Lead By by Dave Ulrich (Hardcover - December 9, 2008)
$23.83
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.