Narcissism and Power - Narcissism in Politics, Business & Leadership Roles

Book Review: ‘Narcissism and Power – Narcissism in Politics, Business & Leadership Roles’

Christine Kennedy’s “Narcissism and Power – Narcissism in Politics, Business & Leadership Roles” is an insightful exploration into the intricate dynamics of narcissistic leadership. This book delves deep into how narcissistic traits manifest in various leadership roles and their far-reaching impacts on organizations, societies, and individuals. With a blend of historical analysis, contemporary case studies, and practical strategies, Kennedy offers a guide to understanding and navigating the complexities of narcissistic power if relevant in the reader’s own life.

Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

One of the book’s strengths is its thorough examination of narcissistic leaders throughout history. Kennedy provides compelling case studies of infamous figures such as Caligula, Napoleon, and Stalin, illustrating how their narcissistic traits influenced their leadership and led to significant historical consequences. This historical context is seamlessly integrated with analyses of contemporary leaders in politics and business, offering readers a comparative perspective that underscores the timeless nature of narcissistic leadership.

The Role of Social Media and Technology

Kennedy astutely highlights the role of social media and technology in amplifying narcissistic behavior in modern leaders. The book explains how platforms designed for connection and communication can become tools for self-promotion and manipulation, fueling the narcissistic tendencies of those in power. This section is particularly relevant in today’s digital age, providing readers with a critical understanding of how technology shapes and enables narcissistic leadership.

Gender Dynamics and Narcissistic Leadership

A noteworthy aspect of Kennedy’s work is the focus on gender dynamics within narcissistic leadership. The book examines how narcissistic traits manifest differently in male and female leaders and the unique challenges posed by narcissistic leadership on women in various contexts. This analysis is enriched with practical strategies for navigating these environments, making it a valuable resource for both men and women in professional settings.

Ethics and Ethical Decision-Making

Kennedy doesn’t shy away from the ethical implications of narcissistic leadership. The book explores the moral challenges posed by such leaders and offers strategies for fostering integrity and accountability in organizations. This section is crucial for readers interested in promoting ethical decision-making and preventing the adverse effects of narcissistic behavior in leadership roles.

Practical Strategies and Mitigation

One of the most valuable aspects of “Narcissism and Power” is its practical advice for dealing with narcissistic leaders. Kennedy provides concrete strategies for setting boundaries, implementing organizational policies, and navigating challenging interpersonal dynamics. The inclusion of real-world case studies where organizations successfully mitigated the negative impacts of narcissistic leaders adds a hopeful and actionable dimension to the book.

Psychological and Societal Impact

Kennedy expands the discussion on the psychological impact of narcissistic leadership to include broader societal and cultural effects. The book details how narcissistic leaders affect not only their immediate followers but also the larger societal fabric, leading to widespread psychological and cultural repercussions. This holistic approach ensures that readers understand the full scope of narcissistic leadership’s impact.

Preventing Narcissistic Leadership

In the penultimate chapters, Kennedy focuses on prevention. She discusses effective screening and vetting processes, leadership development programs, and the promotion of emotional intelligence to deter narcissistic behavior. The role of whistleblowers, internal checks and balances, and external oversight is also explored, providing a comprehensive strategy for preventing narcissistic individuals from ascending to power.

Balanced Perspective on Narcissism

Kennedy offers a balanced view by acknowledging the potential positive aspects of narcissistic leadership. She examines how the charisma and confidence of narcissistic leaders can drive change and innovation, provided their worst impulses are kept in check. This nuanced perspective ensures a comprehensive understanding of the topic, recognizing both the strengths and weaknesses of narcissistic leadership.


“Narcissism and Power” is an essential read for anyone looking to understand the complexities of narcissistic leadership and its impact on politics, business, and society – and the implications for our own lives. Christine Kennedy’s detailed analyses, practical strategies, and balanced perspective make this book a valuable resource for professionals, academics, and anyone interested in the dynamics of power and leadership. This book equips readers with the knowledge and tools to identify, understand, and effectively deal with narcissistic leaders, promoting healthier and more ethical leadership practices.

Overall Rating: 4.85/5

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