From John Perkins, New York Times bestselling author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, and The Secret History of the American Empire:
A revealing, insightful, and provocative look at the backstory that shapes modern leaders; an important contribution to the growing movement to end what amounts to contemporary feudalism and replace it with a system future generations will want to inherit.
From Stephen W. Porges, Professor of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina, author of The Polyvagal Theory:
In Wounded Leaders Nick Duffell deconstructs experiences associated with attending a British boarding school from a psychological and a behavioral neuroscience perspective. In the spirit of The Emperor’s New Clothes, rather than glorifying the process that produces the “elite” in British society, he provides a compelling argument that the experiences are tantamount to child abuse with the associated consequences to the individual. This educational-socialization strategy, including isolation from family, and physical (e.g., bullying) and psychological (e.g., humiliation) abuse, results in a predictable trajectory of problems related to social connectedness including a lack of empathy. In a sense, the process successfully develops individuals characterized by a stereotype of aloofness, but in another sense, the process results in a tragic outcome in which individuals miss the rich “empathic” experiences of sharing feelings with others. A wonderful book – not only important, but beautifully written and thematic.
From Dr. Alastair McIntosh, honorary fellow, universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, author of Soil and Soul:
More than any other writer Nick Duffell has exposed the underbelly of the British imperial psyche and its consequences for our everyday contemporary politics. This is something that has touched us all. Many of us carry traces of it within ourselves. Duffell’s Wounded Leaders unveils the problem, and thereby opens a way for cultural healing.
From Sue Gerhardt, author of the bestselling Why Love Matters:
Many of our current leaders have been shaped by the public school ethos. Nick Duffell explains how such schools prize rationality and confident talk whilst they minimise emotions. Children in these schools often learn to dissociate from their most vulnerable feelings; they learn to cope through busy activity and at worst, through blaming and bullying others – behaviour that is repeated in later life in long working hours and an adversarial style of politics. Duffell asks how people brought up like this can take us forward into a more collaborative world where politics is about discussion and consensus. These are important questions and this book is a lucid and valuable contribution to understanding the culture we live in.
From The Huffington Post:
First, don’t assume from this book’s subtitle that is irrelevant to us here in America, or to our leadership. It is of vital relevance, no matter the specificity of his argot. Nick Duffell’s title will have resonance for anyone who has lived through the past couple of decades in America and watched our own wounded leaders in action – or, more correctly, inaction. That said – and we’ll come back to this – his central argument is that the boarding-school educated governing elite in Britain are themselves unconsciously governed by the lasting wounds incurred by the experience of being sent away from the family at an early age, and placed in a militaristic environment in which they learn to protect themselves from a hostile outer world.
Duffell argues passionately for a middle path, one that minimizes neither reason nor emotion, but balances the intelligence quotient with the emotional quotient, the head with the heart, reason with compassion and empathy. I agree with him, that unless we as a species can find that balance, we are in for dangerous times ahead. His book is a timely and important reminder of the need to “change our minds” in a fundamental way, and open ourselves to the powerful — and practical –wisdom of the heart. I sincerely hope that the book will find readers beyond the native country of which he writes. Its insights are profoundly needed everywhere, throughout the globe.
From The Psychotherapist:
A timely and important reminder of the need to “change our minds” in a fundamental way, and open ourselves to the powerful – and practical – wisdom of the heart. I sincerely hope that the book will find readers beyond the native country of which he writes. Its insights are profoundly needed everywhere, throughout the globe.
From Self and Society:
Well documented, erudite, suitably fervent in its denunciation of excruciatingly unjust, cruel and psychologically antediluvian institutions, this book is a must read for mental health practitioners and for those who want to gain a deeper insight into the workings of British society. As far as I’m aware, there is no other psychologist at present who has been able to identify a direct link between the dissociative process a ‘boarder’ is prone to in order to survive and the intrinsically dissociative structure of places (for instance) such as the House of Commons.
From Sussex Counselling News:
The timely follow-up to Duffell’s first book The Making Of Them: The British Attitude to Children and the Boarding School System sets out compelling evidence that intellectually and emotionally challenges the abilities of the current (wounded) political leadership in the UK. The book, launched at a workshop during the Brighton Festival at the Dialogue Centre, is a psychohistory full of well-argued links to our imperial past, psychological insight, examples from world politics, literary references and anecdotes from Duffell’s 25 year career in psychotherapy. One of the most striking metaphors he employs is of DH Lawrence’s character, Sir Clifford Chatterley, as a member of an upper-class ruling elite who is paralysed both externally and internally – utterly incapable of giving and receiving love or of achieving any authentic intimacy in relationships. This book presents the argument for greater cultural, social and political understanding in the UK while making the therapeutic offer that ‘the boys in the men who run things’ may finally be allowed to come home again.