May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)

Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

Toxic Managers: The Problem of Corporate Psychopaths



Communication with corporate psychopaths

Sociology and Social Psychology of Organizations


Conformism- Rebellion Spectrum

The psychopath in the corner office Micromanagers Office Stockholm Syndrom Surviving a Bad Performance Review Anger trap  The toxic stress
Toxically Incompetent Managers Workplace Bullies Narcissists Manipulator Bosses Paranoid Managers  
      Random Findings Humor Etc

 Those who cannot love want power

As insightful page The toxic manager in the office catches the main features quite well:

 "We've all encountered them. Moody, aggressive, unpredictable, incompetent, always blaming other people. A compulsive liar with a Jekyll and Hyde nature, the individual, male or female, is always charming and plausible when management are around."

Toxic management presents several dangers to your health.  Toxic behaviors like intense bullying creates a hostile work environment and can easily escalate to real violence, harassment and intimidation, In this case it might be advisable to go to court. And you can imagine how sympathetic a jury would be toward a company that allowed its employees to be terrorized in order to keep a tidy bottom line.

A useful list of traits can be found at Behavior of the serial bully page but it is way too broad and actually includes most generic trait of corporate psychopaths including micromanagers. Anyway they can serve as a useful warning sign and probably on third is enough to classify the manager as a corporate psychopath although some. Most  Triats listed like "sometimes displays a seemingly limitless demonic energy especially when engaged in attention-seeking activities or evasion of accountability and is often a committeeaholic or apparent workaholic" are generic to phychopathy and as such are applicable to any type of corporate psychopath including but not limited to micromanager, narcissist, bullies):  

  1. Moody, obsessive-compulsive, suffers from one or more phobias"We've all encountered them. Moody, aggressive, unpredictable, incompetent, always blaming other people.

  2. One or more of the following
  3. Tend to infect their departments with bad attitudes. It's like a disease: They spread despair, anger and depression, which show up in lackluster work, absenteeism and turnover.

  4. A pathological compulsive lying (for no reason at all, can't help self) with a Jekyll and Hyde nature:   always charming and plausible when management are around.".

  5. Can use excessive charm and is always plausible and convincing when peers, superiors or others are present (charm can be used to deceive as well as to cover for lack of empathy) but cruel to subordinates:

  6. Is unusually skilled in being able to anticipate what people want to hear and then saying it plausibly

  7. Cannot be trusted or relied upon. Fails to fulfill commitments

  8. Is emotionally immature and emotionally untrustworthy

  9. Exhibits unusual and inappropriate fixation, signs of obsessive-compulsive behavior. Generate suspicions that underneath the charming exterior are hints of sex discrimination and sexual harassment, perhaps also abusive or alcoholic parents, sexual dysfunction, sexual inadequacy, sexual perversion, sexual violence or sexual abuse.

  10. In a relationship, is incapable of initiating or sustaining intimacy

  11. Holds deep prejudices (e.g. against the opposite gender, people of a different sexual orientation, other cultures and religious beliefs, foreigners, etc - prejudiced people are unvaryingly unimaginative) but goes to great lengths to keep this prejudicial aspect of their personality secret

  12. Is self-opinionated and displays arrogance, audacity, a superior sense of entitlement and sense of invulnerability and untouchability . Has a deep-seated contempt of subordinates

  13. Has a compulsive need to control everyone and everything you say, do, think and believe(a control freak ); for example, will launch an immediate personal attack attempting to restrict what you are permitted to say if you start talking knowledgeably about psychopathic personality or antisocial personality disorder in their presence - but aggressively maintains the right to talk (usually unknowledgeably) about anything they choose; serial bullies despise anyone who enables others to see through their deception and their mask of sanity

  14. Displays a compulsive need to criticize whilst simultaneously refusing to value, praise and acknowledge others, their achievements, or their existence

  15. Shows a lack of joined-up thinking with conversation that doesn't flow and arguments that don't hold water. Flits from topic to topic so that you come away feeling you've never had a proper conversation

  16. Refuses to be specific and never gives a straight answer. Is evasive and has a Houdini-like ability to escape accountability

  17. Undermines and destroys anyone who the bully perceives to be an adversary, a potential threat, or who can see through the bully's mask. Is adept at creating conflict between those who would otherwise collate incriminating information about them

  18. Is quick to discredit and neutralize anyone who can talk knowledgeably about antisocial or sociopathic behaviors

  19. May pursue a vindictive vendetta against anyone who dares to held them accountable, perhaps using others' resources and contemptuous of the damage caused to other people and organizations in pursuance of the vendetta

  20. Is also quick to belittle, undermine, denigrate and discredit anyone who calls, attempts to call, or might call the bully to account. Gains gratification from denying people what they are entitled to

  21. When called upon to share or address the needs and concerns of others, responds with impatience, irritability and aggression

  22. Is arrogant, haughty, high-handed, and a know-all

  23. Often has an overwhelming, unhealthy and narcissistic attention-seeking need to portray themselves as a wonderful, kind, caring and compassionate person, in contrast to their behavior and treatment of others; the bully sees nothing wrong with their behavior and chooses to remain oblivious to the discrepancy between how they like to be seen and how they are seen by others

  24. Is mean-spirited, officious, and often unbelievably petty

  25. Is mean, stingy, and financially untrustworthy

  26. Is always a taker and never a giver. Is greedy, selfish, a parasite and an emotional vampire

  27. Is convinced of their superiority and has an overbearing belief in their qualities of leadership but cannot distinguish between leadership (maturity, decisiveness, assertiveness, co-operation, trust, integrity) and bullying (immaturity, impulsiveness, aggression, manipulation, distrust, deceitfulness)

  28. Often fraudulently claims qualifications, experience, titles, entitlements or affiliations which are ambiguous, misleading, or bogus

  29. Often misses the semantic meaning of language, misinterprets what is said, sometimes wrongly thinking that comments of a satirical, ironic or general negative nature apply to him or herself

  30. Knows the words but not the song

  31. Sometimes displays a seemingly limitless demonic energy especially when engaged in attention-seeking activities or evasion of accountability.

  32.  Often a committeeaholic or apparent workaholic



**** In Sheep's Clothing- Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People

George K. Simon, Jr

This is one of the better books. The basic premise of the book is that manipulative psychopath are different from normal people and are truly pathological both in their psychological traits and behavior. The primary characteristic of such personalities is that they value winning over anything and everything. They key is to study and document this behavior like anthropologists study apes. The first step is consider them difference species of the humans: they really are.

The most fundamental rule of human conflicts is that the aggressor sets that rule and defines initial dynamic of the engagement. Being attacks already weaken you position. There without careful study and preparation against their often dirty tricks you will always fall victim to their ruthless behavior. But knowing the enemy help defining the terms of engagement in your favor. To be able to withstand the pressure you need to need to the free of possible misconceptions about this persons; have high self-awareness, explicably about  the traits of your character that increase your vulnerability to manipulation. You also need to learn avoid fighting losing battles.

Chapter 9 is probably the most important chapter of the book. In this chapter the author lists typical tricks used by manipulative people. Among them:

  1. Minimization: aggressor is attempting to assert that his behavior is not really harmful or irresponsible as someone else may be claiming
  2. Lying.  Often facts to detect false statement are not available when they are presented. One thing to protect you is to know that aggressive personalities will stop at nothing to win and you can expect them to lie and cheat. Lying by omission is a most subtle way to deception -- manipulator simply withhold critical information
  3. Denial. "Classic "Who...Me ?" tactic invites the victim to feel unjustified in confronting the aggressor about the inappropriateness
  4. Selective inattention. Children often close their ears when they do not want to listen to something. You can use that tactics of selective speaking to counter this. Stop talking as soon as they lose attention. When they turn back and restore the eye contact you can resume.
  5. Rationalization. This is an excuse that aggressor is making to justify his reprehensible actions.
  6. Diversion. changing the subject is classic example of diversion.
  7. Evasion. Deliberate use of vagueness is classic example of evasion. Evasion of responsibility is often connected with giving orders only by phone or via patsies.
  8. Covert intimidation
  9. Guilt-tipping. This is a classic trick: to pass the blame for own mistakes, actions or inactions on you.
  10. Shaming: subtle sarcasm and put-downs as a mean of increasing fear and self-doubt.
  11. Playing victim role. Portraying themselves as victim of circumstances, somebody else behavior in order to gain sympathy, evoke compassion and thereby get something in return.
  12. Vilifying the victim. Aggressor try to pretend that he was only responding (i.e. defending himself/herself).
  13. Playing a servant role.  By pretending working hard for somebody sense (usually superior) goals they conceal their admission, hunger for status and power and quest to position to dominate others.

The author discusses those issues in Chapter 10.  He recommends:

Top updates

Softpanorama Switchboard
Softpanorama Search


Old News ;-)

Its a Job Not a Jail (How to Break Your Shackles When You Cant Afford to Quit) By Robert Hochheiser

Bill Kaminski (Bloomington, IL United States) - See all my reviews
Its a Job , not a jail., April 7, 2003

This book offers a refreshing view of dealing with a workplace bully. You are not alone. This book provides valuable tips on how to make it until you are able to leave. Going to work should not be considered the same thing as spending the weekend in jail. Help is here. Check this book out.

The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout

Gregory J. Casteel "Dr. Gregory J. Casteel" (Athens, AL United States) - See all my reviews
A good overview of a disturbing subject, November 22, 2006

As a political scientist who studies war, terrorism, and other forms of political violence -- and as someone who has had a lifelong interest in psychology, sociology, criminal justice, and ethics -- I try to read everything I can find on the psychology of violence, criminal behavior, and social deviance.

By far, the best book I have read on the subject is Roy Baumeister's "Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty" (1996); and the second best is Aaron Beck's "Prisoners of Hate: The Cognitive Basis of Anger, Hostility, and Violence" (1999).

So, when I came across Martha Stout's "The Sociopath Next Door" (2005), I knew I had to read it. And, while it's not quite in the same league as the Baumeister and Beck books, it is certainly well worth reading.

It's a fairly short book; well-written; easy-to-read; and aimed at the lay-reader who has no background in psychology. It doesn't have the depth, or the scope, of the Baumeister and Beck books; but it provides a good, non-technical introduction to what psychologists label "Antisocial Personality Disorder" -- better known as "sociopathy" or "psychopathy" (technically, these two terms are interchangeable). This book explores the nature of sociopathy; discusses its causes; and gives advice on how to recognize and deal with the sociopaths you may encounter (and, chances are, you will encounter many on a daily basis, since sociopathy is a far more common condition that many people realize -- affecting about 1 out of every 25 people).

Fortunately, most sociopaths don't become violent criminals or terrorists. But all sociopaths are potentially dangerous; and can be dishonest, exploitative, cruel, and abusive -- so you need to be prepared to protect yourself against them. This book will help.

People of the Lie by M. Scott Peck

Allan M. Gathercoal "fdoamerica" (Norcross, GA) - See all my reviews

Peck's insight into the world of evil is sorely needed., September 21, 1998

"Evil is the exercise of power, the imposing of one's will upon others by overt or covert coercion". "The core of evil is ego-centricity, whereby others are sacrificed rather than the ego of the individual." These words and the following analysis that Scott Peck gives us into the world of evil are sorely needed now in America. At the heart of our political and moral meltdown is the force of evil. According to Dr. Peck (psychology) ego-centric persons are utterly dedicated to preserving their self-serving image. They cultivate an image of being a good, right, God-fearing citizens. They specialize in self-deceit and thus are People of the Lie.

Scott Peck is best known for his famed book The Road Less Traveled where Peck argues that there is a link between personal growth, spirituality, and basic mental health. In People of the Lie Scott, Peck see evil as the antithesis to the very goodness and life that normal, healthy people seek. He writes this book to raise the awareness that evil exists as an entity and force in the world and calls his readers to take evil far more seriously.

K. Sprinker (Birmingham, AL USA) - See all my reviews
A Must Read, January 26, 2007

As we live in a society (America) where superficial is the norm, this book speaks to the very heart of so many we interact with on a daily basis. This is a book that will prick the ego of many who choose to live their lives in pretense....yet a book that will encourage all the souls that desire healthy relationships via truth and intimacy. It is very easy to believe that the desire for people to "be real" and loving is a fantasy..not to be found in this world.. and therefore our desire or expectation of that from people is wrong. This book encourages those seekers that their desire is not the problem....the problem lies with the "people of the lie" which unequivocally descibes a vast percentage of Americans.

So, this book will either encourage you or upset you....depending upon which side of it's truth you find yourself sitting.

Emotional Vampires Dealing With People Who Drain You Dry Explore similar items

How many times can an author write the word "vampire", August 25, 2005
Reviewer: Sunny California "Beeziemom" (Sunnyvale, CA USA) - See all my reviews
I know that Dr. Bernstein is trying to communicate an idea but his constant use of the word "vampire" really put me off. Pg 65 - 5 times; pg 188 - 6 times... you get the idea.

The information he conveys is interesting if you have never read about Personality Disorders like anti-social, histrionic, narcissistic, obsessive-compulsive and paranoid. Buy the book at a used price and you'll get your money's worth.

Taking the Bite out of Vampires, November 24, 2000

Reviewer: joyce howell (virginia beach, va United States) - See all my reviews
Emotional Vampires teaches you how to protect yourself from people who emotionally and materially drain you for their own gain and at your expense. These "vampires" prey on colleagues, friends, and family. They are especially dangerous because their self-absorption prevents them from seeing that they are harming others, and even makes them think they are helping others. "Vampires" are especially gifted at finding the most vulnerable victims.

With Dr. Bernstein's help, these vampires will see you as no easy prey and move on to others. You recognize Emotional Vampires by the emotional aftermath: they "take a lot out of you," they leave you feeling "drained," they "pushed your buttons," they are "high maintenance," etc.

Dr. Bernstein is right on the money with "vampire bite" as a metaphorical diagnosis for the real harm these types cause, but beware: the fangs seldom show, and emotional vampires can seem as harmless and ineffectual as Aunt Bea, or as affable as Will Rogers. Each chapter is a recognizance of different "vampire" personality types. I realized I was particularly vulnerable to the "histrionics" who thrive on drama for its own sake.

I used Bernstein's techniques on a certain "histrionic" vampire in my life, and now I'm thankfully out of her perpetual soap opera. I urge everybody to buy this book. It's a funny and easy read, but the subject is serious and the insights ring deeply true. Once you have read it you will have the power to protect yourself from a lot of hard times and wasted hours.

ABSOLUTELY RECOMMENDED!!!, September 30, 2006

Reviewer: PROBLEM CHILD "F*** this." (Las Vegas, NV) - See all my reviews
First, to diffuse some of the objections to this book you might come across:

1. "Overuse of the Vampire analogies and other metaphors and imagery." Whoever found them distracting was just not understanding them. Bernstein uses each one to make a very specific point, and with their aid he makes that point compeletely clear and accessible. He does use the vampire analogy, but at almost every turn there's a new take on it. His writing is very colorful and just as intentional.

Also, Bernstein is uproariously funny (but never funny just for the sake of being funny). And a lot of that is in his use of metaphors, etc. Before I got 1/2 way through, I checked the 'about the author' to see if he'd done stand-up comedy on the side. Apparently he does a lot of public speaking. A good comedian points out things you haven't really thought about and then makes them entertaining. And when you laugh at something it usually means that you can relate to it and that you completely understand the message. The clarity and liveliness needed to be an effective public speaker, along with the didactic humor, keep things humming from cover to cover. If you're not at least giving a chuckle every few pages or so, either you're not getting it, or there's a much more serious concern...

2. "Not enough concrete advice." Whoever could think this, they are truly not seeing the forest for the trees! This book is loaded with practical advice and revolves around delivering that advice in the most effective way.

I identified my vampire, and I'm going to take a totally different approach to them based on the practical information I found here. In fact Bernstein says outright that while finding the root cause of a disorder can be interesting, it can often be a distraction from how to deal with the practical issues you have face. And, true to his word, everything he says either frames his practical advice, tees it up or delivers it--usually with illustrations on how one might apply it.

3. "There are better books out there on the subject." It's hard to imagine. Maybe there are. But it's all moot anyway when the critic doesn't actually provide any alternative titles or make any effort to back the statement up.

While you're reading and enjoying, you're picking up some rather subtle points all along the way, maybe without even quite realizing how difficult it would really be to take up these otherwise abstract and difficult points and then render them as accessible as Bernstein does. This book is full of valuable tools, and concepts that are crucial to understanding and dealing with this type of person. I know, based on personal experience--frighteningly personal experience.

My vampire is a paranoid obsessive-compulsive. Bernstein illustrates a typical conversation that an OC vampire might have, and I've had that EXACT SAME conversation, in almost identical circumstances and which included a lot of the same exact words and phrases!

Bernstein accomplishes everything, and more, that one would want to see in a practical introduction to the more common personality disorders--only EXTREMELY WELL! After reading this book you'll feel a lot less alone in your situation and a lot more equipped to deal with your vampires.

Incredibly useful, action-oriented book!, August 5, 2006

Reviewer: Stacey M Jones (Conway, Ark.) - See all my reviews
I found this to be incredibly helpful in dealing with strong, needy personalities that I encounter. In fact, I found it so like an instructional (how-to) text, I highlighted in it!

Many people are difficult sometimes or often -- including each one of us -- but Bernstein writes that his "emotional vampires" are people who see the world differently. "Their perceptions are distorted by their cravings for immature and unattainable goals. They want everybody's complete and exclusive attention.

... Emotional Vampires are inordinantly threatened by common adult experiences, including boredom, uncertainty, accountability, and having to give as well as receive" (p. 4). He bases his categorizations of emotional vampires on personality disorders as defined by the American Psychiatric Association, but states that the people who give us trouble, or the types he addresses in this book, aren't likely to be that seriously dysfunctional.

After a few introductory chapters helping to set the stage (and firmly establish his vampire metaphor), Bernstein dedicates a chapter to each type of vampire. The introductory chapters outline how "vampires" are different from other people, how they are "made" and how their sucking black holes of emotional needs will suck the life out of anyone who doesn't know how to defend him or herself. Bernstein repeatedly makes the point that life is lonely for vampires: For them, the world comprises only their needs, nothing else.

Regarding this last point, Bernstein emphasizes that to fight a vampire, or at least to protect oneself, individuals should NOT try to make vampires care about their feelings, or tell them they've been hurt by them. Bernstein's tips are entirely practical to ensure that the healthy person is not taken in by the need of the vampire, and can cope with him or her. He often focuses his scenarios and tips on a work environment, which I found very helpful.

While he states that most types of vampires have common traits, he divides the vampires into Antisocial (Vampire Daredevils, Vampire Used Car Salesmen, Vampire Bullies); Histrionic (Vampires Who Ham It Up, Passive-Aggressive Vampires); Narcissistic (Vampires Who Are Legends in their Own Minds, Vampire Superstars); Obsessive-Compulsive (Vampire Perfectionists and Puritans) and Paranoid. All chapters outline common behaviors, include hypothetical scenarios, behavior checklists, and most important, REALLY HELPFUL TIPS on how to cope with these people without getting scarred for life! (Some of these tips included things like telling a bully you need time to think about something before answering a "throwdown" type question, and to stop explaining yourself or your decisions to bullies, who only use your rationals as points of vulnerability or weakness.)

Throughout the book, Bernstein stresses that while one may be interested in how someone becamse a vampire, that is not necessary knowledge to develop the skills to defend oneself. He also says repeatedly that trying to change vampires is nearly impossible. The goal of his tips and instruction is to protect the reader from the harm that may come to them psychologically or organizationally from individuals whose own emotional needs overpower any other human and social instinct they have in dealing with others.

I have found this book to be extremely helpful in dealing with difficult people in a polite but self-protecting manner. I highly recommend this book if you have an emotional vampire in your life!
Bernstein, A.J. (2001). Emotional vampires: Dealing with people who drain you dry. New York: McGraw Hill.

I could not read this book, March 4, 2006
Reviewer: Sammy Madison (USA) - See all my reviews
I could not read this book all the way through. The vampire, vampire, vampire thing was carried WAY too far. There is a real need for a book on personality disorders written for the layman, but this book appears to have been written with a second grader in mind. As a matter of fact, many second graders would probably feel insulted by the condescending way the author addresses his audience.

Emotional Vampires Keep on Sucking, September 29, 2005

Reviewer: the Rez Chick (Oregon) - See all my reviews
I thoroughly enjoyed the humor and broken record technique to educate the layman on personality disordered individuals that thrive on emotional drama and trauma, rather than the sociopathic/psychopathic appetite for murder and rape. Few people recognize the daily contacts we have with disordered people, especially if they were born to one! As an advocate and counselor, this is a good read for the highly intelligent and motivated client that is confused by the chaos one of 'the disordered' is stirring up in their lives. For management, that are not disordered themselves, it is good to recognize what you are dealing with before probationary periods are completed! Anyone that is feeling like their emotional investments in an individual are not egaltarian or not paying off equitably ought to read this book. Fun approach to a very painful, dark subject.

Wiley I Should Be Burnt Out By Now... So How Come I'm Not How You Can Survive and Thrive in Today's Uncertain World

Toxic Coworkers How to Deal with Dysfunctional People on the Job Books

Alan A., Ph.D. Cavaiola,Neil J., Ph.D. Lavender
A reader

toxic workplaces, June 10, 2003

This book is a mix of material lifted from the DSM IV (or whatever it's called today) and some anecdotal stories from the authors' own experiences, with some recommendations for 'dealing with type X' as a manager, employee, or coworker.

I'm reminded that the field of psychology would diagnose the majority of us with some form of disorder at some point in our lives, and the authors have extended this to the corporate world in a way that would label nearly everyone I've worked with in my career as suffering from one or more personality disorders. I can only think of a couple who really caused problems.

The authors are overly-broad in their categorizations. For example, if your employees think your requests are unreasonable, then they must be passive aggressive whiners. But you are narcissistic or obsessive compulsive for making these requests.

One disappointment is that 'toxic workplaces' aren't mentioned until the second to the last page. Maybe some of the behavior that they describe as disorders are actually reasonable reactions for people in a toxic workplace. The authors describe large corporations, the government, and the military as being a good place for people of this or that disorder. Maybe working for the government makes you that way, not the other way around!

I didn't find much here that would be of help in dealing with bosses or coworkers. I think the various 'dilbert' books would be more genuinely useful, as well as more amusing. I think that most people just want to do their jobs with a minimum of corporate nonsense so that they can enjoy their lives outside of work with their remaining free time, which is why those of us who are not blessed with great wealth are enduring what for most of us are toxic workplaces.

The Allure of Toxic Leaders Why We Follow Destructive Bosses and Corrupt Politicians--and How We Can Survive Them

Jean Lipman-Blumen

Those who have read Lipman-Blumen's previously published Connective Leadership and/or Hot Groups can correctly assume that she again offers brilliant insights, eloquently expressed, in her newest book. She responds to two especially interesting questions: "Why do so many people follow destructive bosses and corrupt politicians?" and "How can we survive them?" In fairness both to her and to those who have not as yet read this book, I will resist the temptation to reveal what her responses are. However, I hope the remarks which follow create sufficient interest in this book because it eminently deserves and richly rewards a careful reading.

She organizes her material within Four Parts: The Big Picture (Chapter 1) in which she explains why toxic leaders are so plentiful; Leaders, Leaders, Why Do We All Want Leaders? (Chapters 2-6) in which she examines psychological needs, angst and illusions (e.g. about life, death, and immortality), global instabilities, creation of potentially dangerous deities, and the urge for heroic men and women; How [and Why] We Create Willing Followers and Toxic Leaders (Chapters 7-9) in which she discusses various myths which help to explain the appeal of toxic leaders and the rejection of non-toxic leaders; and finally, Liberating Ourselves from the Allure of Toxic Leaders (Chapters 10-13) in which Lipman-Blumen proposes a number of mindsets, values, strategies, tactics, and initiatives which can -- at least in some instances -- protect mankind from toxic leaders or expedite their loss of power and even influence.

In this volume, Lipman-Blumen demonstrates all of the highly-developed skills of a world-class cultural anthropologist whose cutting-edge thinking about effective leadership and productive teamwork has earned for her the eminence she now enjoys. In my opinion, she has far greater and much more challenging ambitions in this book than she did in either of the two which preceded it. Consider this brief excerpt from the first chapter: Toxic leaders "first charm but then manipulate, mistreat, undermine, and ultimately leave their followers worse off than when they found them. Yet many of these followers hang on. I do not speak merely of the leader's immediate entourage -- the leader's close-in staff and advisors. I am speaking also of the larger mass of supporters (employees, constituents, volunteers) who only glimpse their toxic leader through a glass darkly -- perchance through a window of the executive suite or on the television screen. More surprisingly perhaps, even those groups charged with keeping leaders under the microscope and on the straight and narrow -- the media and boards of directors -- fall under they sway."

How to explain the "allure" of toxic leaders? How do they sustain, if not increase their domination of others? Even when exposed as toxic leaders, why do they continue to retain so many loyal followers? Realistically, to what extent (if any) can one individual or even a group remove such leaders from their positions of dominance? These and other questions have intrigued me for decades. Although I do not agree with all of Lipman-Blumen's opinions, I appreciate the rigor with which she has formulated those opinions.

To me, the book's most thought-provoking and thus most valuable material is provided in Part III, with the relatively weakest material following in Part IV. Lipman-Blumen is at her best when examining, indeed explaining how and why mankind creates toxic leaders as well as their willing followers. She is much less effective, in my opinion, when offering advice as to how to avoid or respond to the allure of such leaders. For example, is a coup or assassination the only effective solution to a tyrant? In a business context, what if a toxic leader is the owner/CEO of a small company? Realistically, is there any viable choice other than leaving? Lipman-Blumen's difficulties with the material in Part IV were probably inevitable...and have nothing to do with her intelligence, sensitivity, street smarts, and frame-of-reference. With all due respect to the "lessons" she reviews (please see pages 206-215) and the five strategies she then recommends (please see pages 238-249), I think those difficulties are explained, rather, by flaws in human nature which some have traced back to the Garden of Eden. Historically, those whom toxic leaders manipulate, mistreat, undermine, betray, and ultimately leave worse off than before are victims. Those who support toxic leaders are willing accomplices. Those who oppose toxic leaders are heroic. Those among them who are destroyed by toxic leaders are martyrs. For me, the most important question Lipman-Blumen poses in this book is hardly original: "Who are you?" For each reader, the answer will not be found in this book. However, a careful reading of it can assist with completing that immensely difficult journey of self-discovery.

I also highly recommend Crucial Confrontations: Tools for Resolving Broken Promises, Violated Expectations, and Bad Behavior co-authored by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler.

delves into how and why harmful leaders come to and keep power, January 2, 2007
Henry Berry "Henry Berry" (Southport, CT) - See all my reviews

The central question for Lipman-Blumen, professor of Public Policy and of Organizational Behavior at California Claremont Graduate U., and one of the founders of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Leadership, is "What are the forces that propel followers, again and again, to accept, often favor, and sometime create toxic leaders?"

The question has many sides involving sociological, psychological, historical, political and also in varying measures pathological and irrational matters. The author delves into these varied areas with familiarity, depth, analytic abilities, and nimbleness. There is no simple answer to the question.

Followers' self-esteem, the delusions of crowds, deceptiveness of a leader, historical circumstances, and the nature of and need for society play into the acceptance, toleration, and support of toxic leaders.

There is also often an ambiguity to a leader making it difficult to see if he or she is toxic; and some leaders may become toxic over a period of time. Not all toxic leaders are as evident in their time or even historical hindsight as Hitler or Stalin and the other ogres of history.

Lipman-Blumen's purview of toxic leaders extends to Jeffrey Skilling of Enron notoriety and other top corporate executives of recent years whose harmful wrongdoings have been uncovered. While she regularly refers to certifiably toxic or questionable leaders in varied fields as examples, Lipman-Blumen engages only minimally in psychoanalysis of them.

Her concentration is on the broader circumstances and patterns of how toxic leaders come to power in the first place and how they are able to stay in power even when their harmful behavior and policies become known. The author also pays much attention to the role of much of respective populations and key supporters in this. But the author also provides answers on how to counter toxic leaders in this timely, needed work.

Gerry Stern "Stern's Management Review Online" (Culver City, CA United States) - See all my reviews


Toxic leaders leave their followers worse off than they found them. A few of the many other ways toxic leaders act are they: violate basic standards of human rights; feed followers illusions; stifle criticism; maliciously set constituents against one another.

The book shows how these leaders win people over by playing on their fears and self-esteem, only to ultimately use their power against their own followers. The book explores, in depth, how people are drawn into accepting, even embracing toxic leaders, and how these leaders retain power.

This is an enlightening probe into the psyche of people and how their culture, situation, deepest fears, and dysfunctional personalities, make them vulnerable to toxic leaders. The book also explores ways of dealing with these leaders: counsel them to change; undermine them; join with others to confront or overthrow them.

The book closes with a chapter on how to be freed of toxic leaders, by facing up to our anxiety and the accompanying pain, as well as by bringing nontoxic leaders to the fore. The author's insights apply to leaders of all kinds, political and business. This brief review does no justice to the breadth and depth of this work.

To read this book is to help become aware of, and armed against, toxic leaders of all types. Required reading for all who yearn and strive to live free of domineering, destructive leaders. Our highest recommendation.

Random Findings

*** Nasty Bosses How to Deal with Them without Stooping to Their Level by Jay Carter

The bestselling expert on>nasty behavior sets hissights on bad bosses

In the straightforward and popular style of Dr. Carter's previous three books (Nasty People, Nasty Men, and Nasty Women), Nasty Bosses provides no-nonsense insights into bad-tempered behavior, offering proven techniques for handling every harmful moment inflicted by snide superiors. > Combining humor with the know-how of a trained psychologist, Dr. Carter offers strategies for:

*** I Hate My Job Handbook

by Valerie Frankel (Author)

Psychopath's Bible

Christopher S. Hyatt

 An Interesting Book For Research Or Those In Denial, March 2, 2001
Reviewer: W. Koenigsmann "Wendy Koenigsmann" (Northern Hemisphere) - See all my reviews
This is an updated review for this book.

If one is doing research on psychopathy, this book could be very interesting indeed.

I don't believe that psychopaths are to be revered or that we should emulate them (one is either a psychopath or is not anyway), but this book could serve as good fodder for those who are studying psychopathy.

I was not shocked by the statements made by the author, as I know many people exist who share his viewpoints.

The book is just basically an overview on the viewpoints of the psychopath. We are told what it's like to see through the psychopath's eyes. Psychopaths have no regard for others, they see death and destruction everywhere about them, human beings are too be mocked and used and then destroyed.

The only thing I cannot imagine, is, why a self-proclaimed psychopath would be putting his secrets out in the open for.

At any rate, good book for research, or just for those who are in denial that such people exist in our society.

They do.


FAIR USE NOTICE This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit exclusivly for research and educational purposes.   If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. 

ABUSE: IPs or network segments from which we detect a stream of probes might be blocked for no less then 90 days. Multiple types of probes increase this period.  


Groupthink : Two Party System as Polyarchy : Corruption of Regulators : Bureaucracies : Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks : Toxic Managers :   Harvard Mafia : Diplomatic Communication : Surviving a Bad Performance Review : Insufficient Retirement Funds as Immanent Problem of Neoliberal Regime : PseudoScience : Who Rules America : Neoliberalism  : The Iron Law of Oligarchy : Libertarian Philosophy


War and Peace : Skeptical Finance : John Kenneth Galbraith :Talleyrand : Oscar Wilde : Otto Von Bismarck : Keynes : George Carlin : Skeptics : Propaganda  : SE quotes : Language Design and Programming Quotes : Random IT-related quotesSomerset Maugham : Marcus Aurelius : Kurt Vonnegut : Eric Hoffer : Winston Churchill : Napoleon Bonaparte : Ambrose BierceBernard Shaw : Mark Twain Quotes


Vol 25, No.12 (December, 2013) Rational Fools vs. Efficient Crooks The efficient markets hypothesis : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2013 : Unemployment Bulletin, 2010 :  Vol 23, No.10 (October, 2011) An observation about corporate security departments : Slightly Skeptical Euromaydan Chronicles, June 2014 : Greenspan legacy bulletin, 2008 : Vol 25, No.10 (October, 2013) Cryptolocker Trojan (Win32/Crilock.A) : Vol 25, No.08 (August, 2013) Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : Inequality Bulletin, 2009 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Copyleft Problems Bulletin, 2004 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Energy Bulletin, 2010 : Malware Protection Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 26, No.1 (January, 2013) Object-Oriented Cult : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2011 : Vol 23, No.11 (November, 2011) Softpanorama classification of sysadmin horror stories : Vol 25, No.05 (May, 2013) Corporate bullshit as a communication method  : Vol 25, No.06 (June, 2013) A Note on the Relationship of Brooks Law and Conway Law


Fifty glorious years (1950-2000): the triumph of the US computer engineering : Donald Knuth : TAoCP and its Influence of Computer Science : Richard Stallman : Linus Torvalds  : Larry Wall  : John K. Ousterhout : CTSS : Multix OS Unix History : Unix shell history : VI editor : History of pipes concept : Solaris : MS DOSProgramming Languages History : PL/1 : Simula 67 : C : History of GCC developmentScripting Languages : Perl history   : OS History : Mail : DNS : SSH : CPU Instruction Sets : SPARC systems 1987-2006 : Norton Commander : Norton Utilities : Norton Ghost : Frontpage history : Malware Defense History : GNU Screen : OSS early history

Classic books:

The Peter Principle : Parkinson Law : 1984 : The Mythical Man-MonthHow to Solve It by George Polya : The Art of Computer Programming : The Elements of Programming Style : The Unix Haterís Handbook : The Jargon file : The True Believer : Programming Pearls : The Good Soldier Svejk : The Power Elite

Most popular humor pages:

Manifest of the Softpanorama IT Slacker Society : Ten Commandments of the IT Slackers Society : Computer Humor Collection : BSD Logo Story : The Cuckoo's Egg : IT Slang : C++ Humor : ARE YOU A BBS ADDICT? : The Perl Purity Test : Object oriented programmers of all nations : Financial Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : The Most Comprehensive Collection of Editor-related Humor : Programming Language Humor : Goldman Sachs related humor : Greenspan humor : C Humor : Scripting Humor : Real Programmers Humor : Web Humor : GPL-related Humor : OFM Humor : Politically Incorrect Humor : IDS Humor : "Linux Sucks" Humor : Russian Musical Humor : Best Russian Programmer Humor : Microsoft plans to buy Catholic Church : Richard Stallman Related Humor : Admin Humor : Perl-related Humor : Linus Torvalds Related humor : PseudoScience Related Humor : Networking Humor : Shell Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2012 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2013 : Java Humor : Software Engineering Humor : Sun Solaris Related Humor : Education Humor : IBM Humor : Assembler-related Humor : VIM Humor : Computer Viruses Humor : Bright tomorrow is rescheduled to a day after tomorrow : Classic Computer Humor

The Last but not Least

Copyright © 1996-2015 by Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov. was created as a service to the UN Sustainable Development Networking Programme (SDNP) in the author free time. This document is an industrial compilation designed and created exclusively for educational use and is distributed under the Softpanorama Content License.

The site uses AdSense so you need to be aware of Google privacy policy. You you do not want to be tracked by Google please disable Javascript for this site. This site is perfectly usable without Javascript.

Original materials copyright belong to respective owners. Quotes are made for educational purposes only in compliance with the fair use doctrine.

FAIR USE NOTICE This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to advance understanding of computer science, IT technology, economic, scientific, and social issues. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided by section 107 of the US Copyright Law according to which such material can be distributed without profit exclusively for research and educational purposes.

This is a Spartan WHYFF (We Help You For Free) site written by people for whom English is not a native language. Grammar and spelling errors should be expected. The site contain some broken links as it develops like a living tree...

You can use PayPal to make a contribution, supporting development of this site and speed up access. In case is down currently there are two functional mirrors: (the fastest) and


The statements, views and opinions presented on this web page are those of the author (or referenced source) and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of the author present and former employers, SDNP or any other organization the author may be associated with. We do not warrant the correctness of the information provided or its fitness for any purpose.

Last modified: December 18, 2014