Manfred Kets de Vries

A leadership scholar and psychologist discusses growing up in the Netherlands, his writings on leadership, and his time at INSEAD.

Born or Made?

“Yeah, I mean, leaders, to quote Napoleon, (are) “merchants of hope,” to speak to the collective imagination of the people to create a group identity is an important function. And you don’t have to be charismatic, some of them are bureaucrats.”

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Leaders Are Readers

  • “So I still remember it very clearly because the first assignment was to read a historical, Jones’ biography of Freud. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it. It’s very big, and my English was not very good. So I spent the whole week reading that book. It was actually two volumes. Nobody had read it of course except me; I was too naïve. But I also had to read The Ratman, The Wolfman and The Psychotic Dr. Schreber, which is very different from reading economics. So I got fascinated.”

Books I Recommend

  • Snakes in Suits, Revised Edition: Understanding and Surviving the Psychopaths in Your Office
    —by Dr. Paul Babiak and Dr. Robert D. Hare
  • Chasing Daylight: How My Forthcoming Death Transformed My Life
    —by Eugene O’Kelly

Books I’ve Written

Find out more about what our leaders are reading