Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Re-reading Jerry Harvey

As part of my research for the aforementioned paper on cyberwar, I'm re-reading a book by Jerry Harvey, titled How Come Every Time I Get Stabbed In The Back, My Fingerprints Are On The Knife? It's an amazing, insightful book, which I have referred to many times in the past, in other projects. This morning, it's providing the key (THE key) to understanding a cybersecurity exercise I witnessed over the summer.

In a chapter titled This is a Football, he explains something called "the anaclitic depression blues," which is a term he uses to describe "a particular, circumscribed form of melancholia that we often experience when the individuals, organizations or belief systems that we lean on or are dependent on for emotional support are withdrawn from us."

Clinically, anaclitic depression is most often seen in infants who don't receive sufficient physical contact and support from adults. They end up lethargic, tense, fearful, don't eat or sleep much, and have a high mortality rate. As Harvey explains, only slightly tongue in cheek, they "begin to behave like adults who have been involuntarily separated from their employer."

I highly recommend Jerry Harvey's books to anyone who is (or hopes to be) in a leadership position, or anyone who wants to understand how people behave in organizations.

1 comment:

Gabe said...

Very good insight.