Book in Progress

© 2017

Unleashed: A Field Guide to Power and Politics at Work is a book in progress, placing humans side-by-side with our primate relatives.  Unleashed reveals the uses and misuses of power manifested in the ploys and antics of politics in the wild and at work.  Lessons are drawn from these stories, showing us just how deeply rooted is our human nature to compete and collaborate.

MacArthur Fellow Patricia C. Wright, a distinguished professor of biological anthropology and bushwhacking primatologist as featured in IMAX’s “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar,” joins forces with Wai Poc, an executive coach working with the next generation of leaders at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

Across seven chapters, seven human stories are spotlighted alongside seven primate stories.  Dignified apes, mischievous monkeys, and matriarchal lemurs clamor and cavort.  Field notes end each chapter with practical observations useful for life and work.

Our primate relatives have much to show humans caught in the wilds of the corporate jungle.  Plenty of business books target the leader at the top.  Those in the middle of organizations need a guide, too.  In fact, on any given day at various times, many of us are alternately leading and following.  For all of us, Dr. Wright and Mr. Poc decode power and politics at work in Unleashed.

How do alpha males gain, retain, and lose power? Do alpha females lead differently?  What are the advantages of being beta?  What safety do we derive from being a member of the troop? If we choose to leave, how do we best do so, optimizing our chances of first surviving and then thriving?  Are we better off becoming a founder or joining a new troop?

Beyond the myths of gorillas, baboons, and lemurs, what does today’s research – with data and observations gathered across time and species – reveal and suggest to humans like us about how we compete and collaborate?