Neuroscience for Leadership: Harnessing the Brain Gain Advantage


Tara Swart, Kitty Chisholm and Paul Brown


Palgrave Macmillan






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I bought this book after hearing Tara Swart speak at a 2015 CIPD conference and being very impressed by both her practical and curiosity-based approach to applying neuroscientific findings in the real world. The book doesn’t set out to be a new academic revelation, rather a collection of thoughts with the objective of enabling business people to access the subject. Although it has received mixed reviews on Amazon, I found it easy to read, with some new perspectives and thoughts about leadership behaviours at the level of our neurology.

Recognising that interest in neuroscience is creeping into popular culture, the book seeks to provide access to a complex subject in a pragmatic way. It does educate the reader in current hypotheses and knowledge and clusters the information into chapter headings that are of interest to anyone who works with leadership behaviours – covering topics such as entrepreneurship, engagement, decision making, behavioural change, stress, diversity and confidence among others. Clearly such a breadth of subject can only enable the authors to offer the reader the opportunity to “dip their toe” in the water of neuroscience, but I felt it provided enough colour to whet the appetite, spark some interest and enable further enquiry. Put it this way, as someone who has worked in the broad area of learning and development for many years, if this had been the first book I had ever read relating neuroscience to the business world, it would not have disappointed, nor would I have been lost in the science. It provides enough of a framework to enable the business reader to identify areas for further interest – in which case I would be looking for a sequel with a little more depth!