The Library Basement
Reading under ground

Tag Edwin Friedman

Readings for March 2017

A Failure of Nerve by Edwin Friedman

A Failure of Nerve was assigned reading for my church vestry. It's looks like the type of pop-psychology nonfiction book I would typically steer clear of. Basically Friedman addresses the topic of leadership and its various dysfunctions. His primary emphasis, and one that I have taken to heart, is that we should never discount emotional aspects of social systems.

In reading I found there was a lot which felt true, but which I did not particularly like. Friedman treats the leadership mandate as a given in the text, and so labeling all resistance "sabotage" does not feel right to me. I also came away with the impression that "if this is what good leadership is, sign me up for anarchy." Well, I take it a bit too far here, so forgive me. I would not particularly recommend this work.


  • Harper's February 2017*