Summary of The Elephant in the Boardroom

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The Elephant in the Boardroom book summary


7 Overall

8 Applicability

7 Innovation

6 Style


Psychology professor Adrian Furnham dissects bad leaders’ negative characteristics and reports on why many crash and burn, taking their employees and firms down with them. Furnham reports on the findings of hundreds of researchers who have examined maladjusted, incompetent, tyrannical, Machiavellian, narcissistic, sadistic, predatory and other dangerous leaders, including some who are just plain evil. getAbstract recommends this comprehensive – if at times academic – rundown to those who would prefer not to recruit malevolent managers and to anyone who must coexist with a decidedly bad boss.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How to identify disturbed and evil leaders who could derail,
  • How psychopath leaders can hurt your company,
  • How to deal with these malevolent individuals and
  • How to avoid hiring troubled leaders in the first place.

About the Author

Adrian Furnham teaches psychology at University College London. An adjunct professor at the Norwegian School of Management, he has written more than 50 books and 800 journal articles.



“Bad, Sad and Mad” Leaders

Poor leaders are ubiquitous. They take many forms: destructive, twisted, malevolent, compulsive, incompetent, egocentric, psychopathic, vindictive, and more. Such leaders often fail, and when they do, they cost their organizations millions. As they go down, they cripple or even destroy the companies they’re supposed to lead. How do such bad leaders get hired? Why can’t corporate boards, CEOs or senior executives spot these candidates’ destructive tendencies before putting them in positions of power?

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