Category Archives: Our latest books on HEROIC LEADERS

The Heroic Leadership Imperative

Allison, S. T. & Goethals, G. R. (2020). The heroic leadership imperative: How leaders inspire and mobilize change. West Yorkshire: Emerald.

Our next book describes a new principle that we call the heroic leadership imperative. We show how leaders who fulfill the imperative will inspire followers and initiate social change.

 

The imperative consists of the leader meeting individual, collective, and transcendent needs of followers. We describe examples of leaders, both good and evil, who have succeeded in meeting all three categories of needs, leaders such as Abraham Lincoln, Donald Trump, Martin Luther King, Jr., and cult leaders such as Jim Jones.

Imperative 1. The first level of the leadership imperative focuses on the necessity of leaders meeting the individual needs of followers. Successful leaders ensure the provision of lower-level Maslowian needs in the hierarchy, such as food, water, safety, and security. Heroic leadership also appeals to higher level individual needs involving esteem, compassion, and social unity.

Imperative 2. To fulfill the second level of the leadership imperative, leaders must meet followers’ collective identity needs. Leaders often gain power by exploiting followers’ need for a positive social identity involving race, country, gender, and religion. We review historical case studies involving Hitler, Napoleon, and Donald Trump as examples of leadership exploiting these collective identity needs for exploitative purposes.

Imperative 3. Finally, we show how the third level of the leadership imperative operates, with leaders fulfilling the transcendent needs of followers. Humanity’s most powerful leaders have been able to gain power by making followers feel they are part of something bigger, more mysterious, and packed with cosmological significance. Leaders such Martin Luther King, Jr., and Abraham Lincoln were gifted in tapping into followers’ transcendent desires.

Here is an excerpt from the Preface of the book:

“The word imperative has always fascinated us. It suggests that something — some vital course of action — must be undertaken. Where there is an imperative, there is an urgency, a call, a mandate. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines imperative as “an obligatory act or duty.” The idea of a heroic imperative was first described by our friend and colleague Olivia Efthimiou, who argued that our well-being is a “personal and collective heroic imperative” (Efthimiou et al. 2018, p. 15).

“The imperative in this instance refers to the necessity of engaging in heroic practices aimed at promoting our well-being as individuals and as members of our communities. We dare not avoid the hero’s journey that calls us, heals us, and transforms us into our best selves. Nor do we dare sidestep the necessary practices of self-care that fuel the heroic journeys of the larger collectives to which we belong. Efthimiou et al. concluded with an intriguing thought: Perhaps both heroism and well-being are both best “understood as a means to and ends of wholeness” (p. 15). Please keep that word “wholeness” in mind as you read this book.

“In this current volume, we use the term imperative to describe another aspect of heroism, namely, the phenomenon of heroic leadership. It is our contention that any leader who aspires to change the world has the “obligatory duty” to satisfy three types of needs of followers. The first type of follower needs, which we call individual-level needs, refers to the needs of every distinct human being, ranging from basic needs such as food and water to higher-level needs such as esteem, love, and – you guessed it – “wholeness”.

“Whereas Efthimiou and her colleagues focused on everyday laypeople’s heroic well-being as an imperative, we argue in this book that it the imperative of heroic leaders to move and mobilize followers by taking steps to meet a set of very specific needs of followers. Notice that we’re not necessarily saying that it is the imperative of heroic leaders to ensure the well-being of followers. One might think that “meeting needs” and “ensuring well-being” go hand-in-hand, but it turns out that meeting needs and promoting well-being are independent goals.

“Consider Adolf Hitler in the 1930s. During this decade, he moved and mobilized his followers by meeting their important psychological needs of belongingness, individual self-esteem, and national pride. But we would never say that Adolf Hitler was the architect of his country’s well-being. Achieving “wholeness” was hardly the goal of the Third Reich. Wholeness is a state of utmost well-being in which all the parts within an individual or within a society are integrated. Hitler’s Final Solution was the antithesis of wholeness and well-being. The Fuhrer met some key needs of German citizens while actually poisoning their individual and collective well-being.

“From these considerations, it is important to keep in mind that when we speak of leaders who aspire to transform and mobilize followers, we could be referring to a heroic leader such as Martin Luther King, Jr., or villainous leaders such as Jim Jones, Adolf Hitler, or Kim Jong-un. Although the term “heroic leadership” appears in the title of this book, we know that history has taught us that many of history’s most egregious villains have also sought to move followers and change the world.

“And yes, those villainous leaders have the same imperative of meeting the three types of needs of followers if they wish to achieve their evil aims. The title of this book contains the phrase “heroic leadership imperative” because we prefer to focus on the positive application of these three secrets of game-changing leadership. The world desperately needs heroic leaders who answer their call to both meet followers’ needs and promote their well-being. As we will demonstrate in this book, wholeness may be the key. It is a central human need, identified decades ago by Carl Jung (1951) and by humanists such as Abraham Maslow (1954). Wholeness, we argue, may occupy the hub of well-being for individuals and groups, and thus is pivotal to understanding the heroic leadership imperative.” 

— Excerpted from Allison, S. T. & Goethals, G. R. (2020). The heroic leadership imperative: How leaders inspire and mobilize change. West Yorkshire: Emerald.

The Heroic Leadership Imperative will be available in August of 2020.

References

Allison, S. T. & Goethals, G. R. (2020). The heroic leadership imperative: How leaders inspire and mobilize change. West Yorkshire: Emerald.

Efthimiou, O., Allison, S. T., & Franco, Z. E. (Eds.) (2018). Heroism and wellbeing in the 21st Century: Applied and emerging perspectives. New York: Routledge.

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The Encyclopedia of Heroism and Villainy

Composed and compiled by students at the University of Richmond, The Encyclopedia of Heroism and Villainy represents the first scholarly effort to consolidate our vast and growing understanding of good and evil people, principles, and theories, in one large volume.

The Encyclopedia of Heroism and Villainy consists of three sections on heroism, anti-heroism, and villainy. The Encyclopedia is currently in production and is tentatively scheduled for release in the Spring of 2022.

Here are the opening paragraphs of some sample entries in the Encyclopedia:

Banality of Evil

The Banality of Evil is the theory that under certain conditions and social pressures, ordinary people are capable of performing actions that would otherwise be unthinkable (Franco & Zimbardo, 2006). This principle is most notably demonstrated in the Stanford Prison experiment, conducted by Philip Zimbardo in 1971. Participants assigned the role of guards behaved inhumanely but would not behaved that way in real life. The powerful role of situational forces impelled guard participants to act differently than they otherwise would have. Thus the line between good and evil is permeable (Franco & Zimbardo, 2006)……

Shrek

Shrek is animated cartoon character, portrayed as a towering, green ogre (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2011). Shrek starts out as a grumpy recluse, who lives alone in his swamp. When his swamp is suddenly overtaken by creatures, by orders of Lord Farquaad, Shrek must rescue Princess Fiona from a dragon’s lair in exchange for his swamp back. Shrek leaves his swamp to embark on a journey to the dragon’s lair, with the help of his companion, Donkey. Shrek successfully fends off the dragon and rescues Princess Fiona from the tower. After spending time with Fiona on their journey back to Lord Farquaad, Shrek begins to care for Fiona, revealing his kind, caring demeanor despite his deceivingly scary appearance.

Shrek is a hero for many reasons. Firstly, Shrek engages in heroic transformation by going through the hero’s journey (Allison et al., 2019). Secondly, Shrek goes through the hero’s journey in a new, unknown setting, which is crucial for initiating any kind of heroic transformation or change in the person (Allison et al., 2019). Additionally, Shrek took an enormous risk to his own safety by saving Princess Fiona from the dragon, which is a characteristic of a hero (Rhoda, 2019). Lastly, despite Shrek’s crude appearance, heroism and heroes can take more than one form (Jayawickreme & Di Stefano, 2012)….

The Great Eight Traits of Heroes

“The Great Eight” is a set of traits believed to be found in the majority of heroes. These traits are as follows: smart, strong, resilient, selfless, caring, charismatic, reliable, and inspiring (Allison & Goethals, 2011). It is unusual for a hero to have all of these characteristics, but most heroes have the majority of The Great Eight. These traits were identified after researching the preferences of over 100 participants in a study….

Stanford Prison Experiment 

The Stanford Prison Experiment is a social psychology study in which Stanford University students were randomly assigned to the role of either prisoners or guards in a simulated prison environment. The experiment took place in 1971 at Stanford University and was conducted by Philip Zimbardo and his colleagues. The experiment was intended to run for two weeks, but it was terminated after six days. On day two, after the prisoner participants staged a rebellion, the guard participants began inhumanely punishing the prisoners. Prisoners quickly became depressed and traumatized; three participants asked to be released within four days. The guards became merciless and violent, to the point where the study had to be terminated due to the physical risk it posed to the participants (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2017). This study demonstrated the idea of the Banality of Evil, which is the theory that…. and biographical examples of heroes, anti-heroes, and villains.

The Romance of Heroism

In this book, heroism experts George R. Goethals and Scott T. Allison explore how the romantic conception of heroes is constructed, both in real life and in our heads.

Here is an excerpt from the Introductory chapter:

We adopt an approach that we call the romance of heroes.  Merriam-Webster defines romance as an emotional attraction, or special quality or feeling that comes from a person, place, or thing.  The verb form of romance is to exaggerate or invent detail.  This book explores these processes as they operate in our human perception of heroism.  We assume that people are motivated to actively construct reality from incomplete information.  There is a long history of theory and research in social perception and social cognition to support this idea.” 

“We also assume, based on our own research, that people are motivated to have heroes (Allison & Goethals, 2011).  Our contention in this book is that our love of heroes is so strong that we could call it a romantic longing.  Merriam-Webster reminds us that this longing is a strong emotional attraction that may cause mental exaggeration or invention.  Our desire and drive to designate people as heroes may be subject to distortion and to motivated perception under conditions of uncertainty.  We’ll also explore how this tendency to exaggerate or invent in response to strong motives can contribute to our construction of villains as well as heroes.”

Looking at the dichotomy of heroism and villainy, the authors offer insights into Donald Trump’s ascension to the US presidency, particularly detailing the correspondence between the needs of the US public and the promises the former reality TV star made in reply.

Goethals and Allison also consider how three highly charismatic men dramatically and fundamentally changed American society in the mid-20th century — Martin Luther King, Jr., Elvis Presley, and Muhammad Ali, called here The Three Kings.

This exciting and innovative book explores how charisma and human needs create romantic images of individuals as heroes and villains. For researchers and students of psychology and leadership, this is a fundamental text on the creation of both genuine heroes and false idols.

This book is now available for purchase at Amazon.com.

 

Heroic Transformation: How Heroes Change Themselves and The World

The human journey is brimming with opportunities for growth and development. This volume, crafted superbly by a talented group of young student-scholars at the University of Richmond, explores the myriad ways that human beings have evolved to become extraordinary heroes.

There are two types of heroic transformation. The first type refers to the process by which people undergo the significant change and growth necessary to become heroes. This transformation is a personal metamorphosis that often results from setback, transgression, and suffering.

The second type of heroic transformation refers to the hero’s ability to transform society. Once personally transformed, the hero is in a position to make her mark on society. “Transformed people transform people,” as Richard Rohr has said.

Most hero journeys feature both of these types of transformations. The heroes profiled in this book who have undergone heroic transformations include Audrey Hepburn, Susan B. Anthony, Thurgood Marshall, Muhammad Ali, Eleanor Roosevelt, Daenerys Targaryen, Dexter Morgan, Frodo Baggins, Bruce Wayne, and many more.

This book is now available at Amazon.com.

“YOU’LL BE TRANSFORMED AFTER ABSORBING HOW THESE HEROES TRANSFORMED HUMANITY.” – Professor Robert A. Giacalone, John Carroll University

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Heroic Transformation: How Heroes Change Themselves and The World
Edited by Scott T. Allison

Foreword

Olivia Efthimiou

Introduction

The Metamorphosis of the Hero: What it is, How it Happens, Why it’s Important

Scott T. Allison

FICTIONAL HEROES

Film and Television Heroes

Chapter 1. From Little Princess to Mother of Dragons: Daenerys Targaryen’s Heroine’s Journey

Hallie M. Whiting

Chapter 2. Elle Woods and the Hero’s Journey: What, Like, It’s Hard?

Reghan J. Ruf

Chapter 3. James “Sawyer” Ford: The Man Who Had to Become Lost to Find the Hero Within

Leo S. Troik

Chapter 4. “Let’s Get Down to Business”: A Handbook of Heroic Transformation in Mulan

Yun-Oh Park

 Chapter 5. Jack Bauer: The Heroic Transformation of the Ultimate Moral Rebel

Ethan Libo

Chapter 6. The Heroic Transformation of Dexter Morgan, Killer of Killers

S. S. Diaz

Heroes in Epic Novels and Stories

Chapter 7. How Frodo Baggins Became a Hero: An Analysis of a Hobbit’s Heroic Transformation

Lee M. Tyler

Chapter 8. Bruce Wayne’s Heroic Journey: The Everlasting Quest for Justice

Michael D. Loughran

Chapter 9. Batman’s Remarkable Hero’s Journey: The Dark Knight Trilogy

Declan H. Scanlon

Chapter 10. Harry Potter and the Hero’s Journey: An Analysis of a Wizard’s Transformation

Andrew J. Graham

Chapter 11. The Quintessential Greek Hero: How Odysseus Fits the Campbellian Monomyth

Julia M. Feron

Chapter 12. Sectumsempra: An Analysis of the Heroic Transformation of Severus Snape

Jake C. Cardwell

Chapter 13. The Heroic Transformative Journey of Aeneas, Hero of the Trojan War

Antonio M. Balducci

NON-FICTIONAL HEROES

Civil Rights Heroes

Chapter 14. A Dream Becoming Reality: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Calling to Transform America

Daniel P. Golden

Chapter 15. Malala Yousafzai: How One Girl’s Heroic Transformation Forever Changed the World

Alexandra M. Maloney

Chapter 16. The Girl that Broke the Mold: Malala’s Inspired Heroic Transformation

William A. Delaney

Chapter 17. Thurgood Marshall: A Heroic Influence on The American Justice System

Jennifer L. Kramer

Chapter 18. A Catalyst for Change: How Susan B. Anthony’s Heroic Transformation Revolutionized Society

Megan G. Doran

Entertainment Heroes

Chapter 19. Muhammad Ali: Hands of Stone, Heart of Gold

Evan B. Shine

 Chapter 20. Alex Morgan: The Hero Who Changed the Soccer World

Emily R. Wigg

Chapter 21. The Heroic Transformation of an Entire Team: How the Swedish Women’s National Soccer Team Followed the Hero’s Journey

Olivia Sjoedin

Chapter 22. The Gates to Baseball: Jackie Robinson’s Courageous Transformation of an Entire Sport

Dustin J. Cook

Chapter 23. The Hat Trick Heard Round the World: Carli Lloyd’s Journey from Average to Best in the World

Cassidy N. Bennetti

 Chapter 24. Elisabeth Shue’s Heroic Transformation, as Told Through Gracie

Sydney R. Shah

Chapter 25. Audrey Hepburn: How a Misfortunate Girl Transformed into a Social Hero

Thomas J Michel

Legendary Heroes

 Chapter 26. The Heroism of Siddhartha: A Journey to Enlightenment

Isabel R. Nonemaker

Chapter 27. Desmond Doss: The Transformation of the Hero of Hacksaw Ridge

Mark D. White

Chapter 28. Sully Sullenberger: An Inspiring Tale of Two Heroic Transformations

Kara E. Cromwell

Chapter 29. Eleanor Roosevelt’s Heroic and Transcendent Role as First Lady

Joann Chongsaritsinsuk

Chapter 30. “This was a man”: Julius Caesar’s Sociocentric Transformation as a Hero

Jack R. Bergstrom

Chapter 31. The List That Saved a Thousand Lives: Oskar Schindler’s Heroic Transformation During World War II

Allyson S. Maner

 

 

Heroes and Villains of the Millennial Generation

FRONT_finalThis book explores the heroes and villains of an entire generation of Americans — the Millennial generation, defined as people born between 1982 and 2000.

Authored by Millennial students at the University of Richmond, Heroes and Villains of the Millennial Generation is based on a survey of 215 Millennials across the United States who were asked to list their heroes, and their villains.

To our surprise, a large number of people were listed as both heroes and villains.

These complex individuals are the focus of this book. They are: Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, parents, teachers, Edward Snowden, Batman, Mother Teresa, Severus Snape, and Mark Zuckerberg.

The questions that interested us were:

  • In what ways are these individuals heroes?
  • In what ways are they also villains?
  • Why did these individuals appear on lists of heroes and also on lists of villains?
  • What psychological processes are involved in perceptions of good and evil?

Heroes and Villains of the Millennial Generation provides an analysis of Millennials’ views of heroism and villainy, drawing from current research on heroism science. The book is now on sale at Amazon.

“A compelling analysis of the heroic values of an entire generation.”
– Professor Robert A. Giacalone, Ray Smiley Chair in Business Ethics and Director of the Ginn Institute for Social Responsibility at John Carroll University.

Here is the Table of Contents:

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Heroes and Villains of the Millennial Generation

Edited by Scott T. Allison

Foreword

Brian R. Riches, Claremont Graduate University

Introduction

Chapter 1. Millennials, Heroism, and Villainy: A Confluence of Generational Moral Complexity

Scott T. Allison, University of Richmond

Part I

Entertainers

Chapter 2. Sacrificial Heroism: Media Martyrdom for Inspiration from Kanye West

Matt B. Vandini, University of Richmond

Chapter 3. The Queen of Redemption: Kim Kardashian From Sex Tape to Female Idol

Kana V. Rolett, University of Richmond

 

Part II

Fictional Characters

Chapter 4. Batman as Caped Crusader: Gotham’s Savior or Undoing?

Alyssa Lynn Ross, University of Richmond

Chapter 5. Turn to Page 364: Deconstructing the Complex Heroism of Severus Snape

Madison M. Lawrence, University of Richmond

Part III

Nurturers

Chapter 6. Unconditional Love and Evil Stepmothers: How Parents are Heroes and Villains

Rebecca M. Fischer, University of Richmond

Chapter 7. Do or do not, there is no try: Is your Teacher a Yoda or a Darth Sidious?

R. B. Forsyth, University of Richmond

Part IV

Politicians

Chapter 8. Hillary Clinton: A Controversial Lady of Firsts

Rebecca L. Nguyen, University of Richmond

Chapter 9. Donald Trump: Man of Charisma, Man of Insults

Sandy Yu, University of Richmond

Part V

Social Changers

Chapter 10. Mark Zuckerberg: Social Connector or Privacy Violator?

Zihao Liu, University of Richmond

Chapter 11. Mother Teresa’s Empire of Charity

Stephanie M. Ha , University of Richmond

Chapter 12. The Whistleblowing of Edward Snowden: Heroic Self-Sacrifice or Villainous Betrayal?

Arianna M. Guillard, University of Richmond

FRONT_final

BACK_final

 

 

 

Heroic Humility: What the Science of Humility Can Say to People Raised on Self-Focus

To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them.

        —Charles de Montesquieu

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Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

        —Philippians 2:3–4

 

In this age of selfies and corporate scandals, the need for humility is pressing. This book entitled HEROIC HUMILITY offers a synthesis of research and theory on humility and heroism. It articulates a vision of heroic humility — humility of such great depth that it inspires others.

Humility has three parts: an honest self-appraisal (including an attitude that one is teachable), modest self-presentation, and an orientation to build others up and not put them down. Moreover, humility can be learned. People who embody heroic humility not only rise to moments of great humility, but practice it and emerge from frequent tests of their humility throughout life.

Thus, this book likens the formation of a humble character to a hero’s journey, with a “call,” a journey through challenges and temptations, a descent into one or more abysses, and a redemption.

With an impressive array of examples—such as Mother Teresa, Malala Yousafzai, and Abraham Lincoln — the book illustrates that no two heroes’ journeys are identical. Readers are challenged to embark on their own journey of heroic humility in their work, service, and personal lives.

Heroic Humility is authored by Everett L. Worthington, Jr., and Scott T. Allison. It will be published by the American Psychological Association, and is now available for purchase.

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