Even more enlightening than Machiavelli’s The Prince, this book describes power takeovers and social organizations in a chimpanzee colony and argues that power politics is part of the evolutionary heritage that we share with our closest nonhuman relatives. I’ll never look at academic or corporate politics the same way, and I understand their machinations much better for having read this book. Chimps, unlike humans, do not cloak their political pretenses in rhetoric, so we can see more clearly the process at work and thereby learn much about ourselves.
René Girard is the one writer who has influenced me the most. Here he gives a sweeping view of the whole human experience on this plane — but it’s not just an academic philosophy. Once you learn about it, his view of imitation as the root of behavior is something you will see every day, not just in people around you but in yourself.
Tribal Leadership codifies a lot of what we’ve been doing instinctually and provides a great framework for all companies to bring company culture to the next level.