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The Productive Narcissist: The Promise and Peril of Visionary Leadership Hardcover – April 8, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway (April 8, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767910230
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767910231
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #630,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

If you're leading a corporation, argues Maccoby, narcissism is good.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

“Maccoby makes a compelling case that the most effective leaders in times of disruptive change are those with the personality type that Freud called narcissistic.” –Harvard Business Review

“The implications here are not only relevant but should have a sense of urgency for all leaders.” –Houston Chronicle

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 10 customer reviews
It is well written and enjoyable to read.
Richard Margolies, Ph.D.
I highly recommend the book for any leader or consultant who wants to take a look at how creative leaders really do innovate and change things.
Douglas A. Wilson
Maccoby cuts through the leadership literature clutter with a very clearly reasoned and persuasively presented vision of leadership.
G. Casey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Douglas A. Wilson on May 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Maccoby takes much of our wishful thinking about great leaders and presents a compelling and realistic contrast. His work is grounded in excellent illustrations of what leaders are like "who want to change the world."
Almost all of us have worked with leaders we admire and who are also hard to get along with. Dr. Maccoby takes us into their world and explains what is happening. He also has good ideas for how you, as a subordinate, can work the most effectively with them and under them.
I highly recommend the book for any leader or consultant who wants to take a look at how creative leaders really do innovate and change things. It is contrary to the narrow research of Jim Collins and points out that Collins' work really misses the boat in understanding the innovative corporation and the innovative leader.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Roger E. Herman on October 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In these confusing and uncertain times, the cry goes out for more visionary leaders. We need men and women who can lead us out of the darkness of despair and short-term Wall Street thinking into the clear air of vision, goals, and high achievement. Enter the narcissistic leader. Narcissists admire themselves, they believe in themselves. They have complete confidence in themselves, even though they may think they can do more than they really can.
The dictionary tells us that narcissism is "a psychological condition characterized by self-preoccupation, lack of empathy, and unconscious deficits in self-esteem." Maccoby-a psychoanalyst, anthropologist, and consultant-takes us further. He explains that "narcissistic leaders are not a product of their time; rather, they are a product of their personalities, and are psychologically suited to rise, and fall, during disruptive times." Sometimes their grandiosity serves them-and their organizations-well...especially if they (or their organizations) are protected by counterbalancing aides or confidants. Sometimes that grandiosity can be their downfall.
In this enjoyable and education book, Maccoby describes several psychological styles and how they influence leadership behavior. He concentrates on the productive narcissist, results-focused aggressive leaders who can valiantly lead their organizations to the brink of destruction. The good news---bad news juxtaposition is explored in page after page, with enlightening examples from the lives of historical figures like Napoleon to today's leaders whom we read about in the newspapers daily. Not only does he name names, but Maccoby goes deep into who these leaders are, what they did, why they did it, and the impacts of their behavior.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A reader on January 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Wow! Now this is a book about what leadership really is! Real leaders are narcissists; they have an inner drive to influence others and they like power. Now, narcissism can manifest itself into positive or negative leadership, as Maccoby explains.

Successful leaders are not warm and fuzzy types; they succeed because they can take tough decisions on difficult matters, oftentimes ignoring or not listening to others. They are mission driven and will do what's necessary to get the goal done. This book flies in the face of Daniel Goleman and others who have jumped on the emotional intelligence bandwagon (claiming that the stuff of leadership is empathy and emotional intelligence). According to Maccoby this stuff is "wishful thinking" and not what great leadership is made of (e.g., Bill Gates is the prototype narcissist with an EQ of zero).
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Sam Vaknin on November 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The book teaches how to harness malignant or pathological narcissism. Narcissists are driven, visionary, ambitious, exciting and productive, and if handled properly - an asset to the corporation. While I do not share the author's view - the book is an impressive achievement and of use both in the academic and in the corporate setting. Sam Vaknin, author of "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited".
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By G. Casey on June 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My home library shelves are cluttered with many of the best selling books that present varied and conflicting leadership theories. Very often, those best selling theories are presented in popular and simplistic terms that appeal to wishful thinking but are not very applicable in the workplace. Maccoby cuts through the leadership literature clutter with a very clearly reasoned and persuasively presented vision of leadership. It is a very insightful and integrated vision based on 30+ years of practical field research and experience as a consultant, anthropologist, psychologist and leadership coach. As a Director of Human Resources with 20 years of experience, I found Maccoby's description of the narcisisstic leader and other personality types to be a useful aid to understanding CEOs, Presidents, Vice-President and other leaders who were difficult to relate to and eluded explanation. Maccoby's self-inventory and descriptions of Freud's and Fromm's personality types are also pragmatic tools for any managers and would be leaders who are interested in understanding themselves and in developing their ability to partner effectively with other personality types. Maccoby's elegant writing style and use of entertaining poignant illustrations from productive narcissists we know and love make his analysis of the personality types and strategic thinking entertaining,lively and dynamic... without losing sight of what is practical. What you learn from reading this book may not leave you feeling warm and fuzzy, but it is very useful.
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