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Kinds of Power: A Guide to its Intelligent Uses Paperback – 1 Jan 1997
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st expose on the nature of power since Machiavelli, celebrated Jungian therapist James Hillman shows how the artful leader uses each of two dozen kinds of power with finesse and subtlety. Power, we often forget, has many faces, many different expressions. "Empowerment," writes best-selling Jungian analyst James Hillman, "comes from understanding the widest spectrum of possibilities for embracing power." If food means only meat and potatoes, your body suffers from your ignorance. When your idea of food expands, so does your strength. So it is with power. "James Hillman," says Robert Bly, "is the most lively and original psychologist we have had in America since William James." In Kinds Of Power, Hillman addresses himself for the first time to a subject of great inter
About the Author
A world-renowned lecturer, teacher, author, Jungian analyst, and former director of the C. G. Jung Institute, James Hillman (1926–2011) was born in New Jersey and spent much of his life in Europe. He is the author of more than twenty books, translated into ten languages, including The Myth of Analysis and Reinventing Psychiatry, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1975.
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Hillman's book has a chapter of "leadership", but it places the issue within the context of power. Hillman was (d. 2011) a prominent voice in the tradition of Jungian psychology, and to my mind, a brilliant and engaging writer. His references range from Greek and Roman myths and etymologies to Michael Jackson & Bill Clinton. Easy to read but deeply thought. In his knowledge of ancient Greek and Roman culture, Hillman matches Wills in this mastery of these cultures, and the ability to apply those insights to the contemporary world.
Hillman's work are always thought-provoking, and readers, I'm confident readers will find recognizable examples in his many discussions. By the way, Kinds of Power was published by Doubleday/Currency, which is (or was--who can keep up with changes in publishers?) a business imprint that published some unique and worthwhile books. And while Hillman's erudition is staggering, he wrote this as for a business audience, making it accessible to a most readers .
As in a garden or a marriage, deepening brings ugly twisted things out of the soil. It’s a work in the dirt.
Hillman, James, Kinds of Power (Kindle Locations 596-597)
We become artists only when we enjoy the practicing as much as the performing. Until then we are caught by the limelight rather than the art. . . . Over and over again, not to get it finally right, not for the sake of perfection, but simply doing it as if for its own sake, freed from having to do it. The work working by itself, mechanically, repetitiously, impersonally. Could this idea of disinterested repetitiveness— one of the highest aims of Zen, mystical contemplation and religious practice, as well as the practice of the arts and sports— transfer to administration, sales, production, accounting?
Hillman, James, Kinds of Power (Kindle Locations 675-681)
Even more curious: why are the conflicts about power so ruthless— less so in business and politics [and I'd add sports--sng], where they are an everyday matter, than in the idealist professions of clergy, medicine, the arts, teaching and nursing. Those embattled in academic struggles and in museum and hospital fights deceive, backbite, threaten and maneuver shamelessly. They will not speak with friends of their enemies. Cabals form. Hatchet men appointed. Revenge plotted. Yet in business and politics [and I'd add the practice of law--sng] competitors for much larger stakes still go off to the golf course, eat and drink together. In business and politics, it seems, there is less idealism and more sense of shadow. Power is not repressed but lived with as a daily companion; moreover, it is not declared to be the enemy of love.
Hillman, James, Kinds of Power (Kindle Locations 1181-1187)
This last quote really struck home, not just because of its reference to academics and and its contrast to politics, law, and sports (in my opinion), but it reminds me that one of the nastiest employment situations I dealt with as a lawyer involved a humane society! It became apparent to me that all of the kindness was used up on the animals and none left for the members & workers. It was weird in a way. In this situation and others like it (education providing many other examples for me), the magnitude of the stakes were inversely proportional to the intensity of the emotions. The common denominator was that these were not powerful people (or at least they did not perceive themselves as powerful).
What I've written done justice to Hillman's greater project of "psychologyzing" how we view ourselves and our world. To him, we humans and our world have a soul, this is, a way of experiencing the world that is symbolic, feeling, changing, and elusive. We must look at a phenomenon like power through this lens to appreciate its many manifestations and changing character. And this is what Hillman does brilliantly, avoiding definition and instead providing stories and observations, from the world of the Greek and Roman gods to Mick Jagger and Abe Lincoln, for examples. It's a wild ride sometimes, but when I reflected upon it, I realized the deep insights that he as culled from this complex word and phenomena.
I have long admired Hillman's work. This is among his best. He teases out the subtle differences among power-related phenomena, helpfully delineating distinctions among interpersonal power types (authority, for example) and intra-psychic power (resolution, will, desire, and so on). I found his discussion of tyranny particularly insightful, as he exposes how facile is the illusion of personal autonomy when in fact persons allow habits and attitudes to dictate positions and life choices.
Anyone interested in investigating power will find Hillman provocative and challenging. Do not expect to have anticipated everything the author deals with, nor to have your prejudices confirmed without a contest.
My caveat comes from my background of believing in evolution and sociobiology. There are parts of the book that the author deals with what he calls 'archetypology', which is basically an attempt to explain power at a more profound level of abstraction. His archetypology uses the pre-Christian, Greek gods and goddesses. I would archetype things myself differently, and thus found that part of the book not very useful.
Five stars nonetheless, for the pros heavily outweigh the cons. Great work!