The Energonomics of Leadership

11 March 2008 at 8:02 pm Leave a comment

I read an op-ed piece in the Boston Globe today titled “The Power of Charisma” which introduces the work of Joseph Nye, who invented the concept of “soft power” and has a new book out called The Powers to Lead  This is an area that I wish to investigate further.  It is a question of where the manifestations of physical energy (that trajectory from our sun to plants to calories to human brain) go after entering the brain.  I have suggested in previous posts that concepts or memes are transmitted via language, which acts as a form of energy storage (in the case of written language) or serves as a kind of catalyst (in the case of spoken language) to concentrate the brain-energy in the mind-brain of another on a certain subject or meme.  I have wondered about the sociology of mass movements, whether for the good (MLK) or for evil (Hitler) and how it is that leaders are able to focus the energies of many to make things happen in the world.

And so I wonder:  what is the psychology of charisma?  How does one become charismatic (assuming they have the “good looks” required of the charismatic)?  Perhaps Abraham Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs” could point the way to answering this.

I bet there was an evolutionary advantage to certain people being leaders and most others being followers.  Obviously, the well-organized band of pre-humans was able to get more work done more effectively; they were able to manage the collective energy of the group so as to maximize its potential.


Entry filed under: books, energonomics, memes.

The Evolution of Evolution Psychoenergonomics

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