Beyond the Looking Glass by Alan Downs
Overcoming the Seductive Culture of Corporate Narcissism

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Something is sapping the soul of modern corporation. Have you noticed? Where's the sense of camaraderie, the satisfaction of a job well done, that dedicated, big-hearted leader you want to emulate? And why does everybody talk about "our mission" -- when there's no genuine feeling of shared purpose?

According to Alan Downs, these are all symptoms of a new and alarming mindset, which he calls "corporate narcissism". This phenomenon exists on an individual and an organizational level.

Narcissism = an obsession with a "self-image of success".

For individuals managers it means self-interested, manipulated actions designed to accumulate power.

On a company level it means worshipping at the shrine of profit: relentlessly squeezing out another percent of profit, while squeezing employees dry.

This epidemic starts with narcissistic managers who reward those who feed their hunger for prestige. Their attitude spreads through a department, then a division, and eventually infects the entire management psyche. Using harrowing stories of actual events, Downs examines this obsession with "the looking glass" in many companies. He presents examples of the long-term damage it causes to employees, productivity, and the economic stability of the organization and the community.

Beyond the Looking Glass sounds a loud warning bell -- and reveals how to uncover selfishness and moral barrenness in high places. It also demonstrates how powerful, positive qualities such as integrity, commitment, and "giving a little more in order to get a little more" can triumph over the seductive culture of narcissism.

Individuals of companies that get "beyond the looking glass" enhance the collective good ofcustomers, managers, employees, and investors. Those are the ones who ultimately achieve sustainable success.


About Alan Downs

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Alan Downs, PhD, is a clinical psychologist practicing in Beverly Hills, California. The former CEO of Michael's House Treatment Center, Downs now maintains a thriving private psychotherapy practice and an intensive outpatient addiction program.
Published May 6, 1997 by Amacom. 222 pages
Genres: Business & Economics. Non-fiction

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Downs argues that one of the major problems confronting companies today is ""corporate narcissism,"" which he defines as a company focusing on only one thing--profit--while ignoring social responsibility, employee needs and the environment.

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