Lessons on Leadership by Terror
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Lessons on Leadership by Terror

Finding Shaka Zulu in the Attic

Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries

Lessons on Leadership by Terror attempts to discover what happens to people when they acquire power, and whether the abuse of power is inevitable. Manfred Kets de Vries examines the life of the nineteenth-century Zulu king Shaka Zulu in order to help us understand the psychology of power and terror
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Chapter 6: The Nature of Relationships: Being Unable to Establish Real Intimacy

Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries


Everything you do irritates me. And when you’re not here, the things I know you’re gonna do when you come back in irritate me. (Neil Simon, The Odd Couple) I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal. (Jane Austen, letter dated 24 December 1798) We are so fond of one another because our ailments are the same. (Jonathan Swift, Journal to Stella) Everything great in the world is done by neurotics; they alone founded our religions and created our masterpieces. (Marcel Proust, À la recherche du temps perdu) Once we are destined to live out our lives in the prison of our mind, our one duty is to furnish it well. (Peter Ustinov, Dear Me) Explanation separates us from astonishment, which is the only gateway to the incomprehensible. (Eugène Ionesco, Découvertes) Psychology can never tell the truth about madness because it is madness that holds the truth of psychology. (Michel Foucault, Mental Illness and Psychology) We are all born mad. Some remain so. (Samuel Becket, Waiting for Godot) It has been said that Shaka was incapable of love, that he could experience only vengeance and hatred. Although Edward Ritter, in his romanticized novel about the king, has Shaka become attached to a woman named Pampata, women of Shaka’s age group seem to have been of no importance to the king. Among women, only his mother and a few other, older relatives received what could pass for...

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