Personality, Political Leadership, and Decision Making
A Global Perspective
by Jean Krasno and Sean LaPides, Editors
July 2015, 441pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-3910-8
$95, £74, 83€, A131
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3911-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Is it personal motives, natural charisma, or life experiences that create leaders?

This psychological study dissects the characteristics of 20 world leaders—both men and women—profiling the factors that formed their personalities and revealing how certain traits have shaped their political decisions.

Many wonder what it takes to be a leader. Is it a natural or learned set of skills? This book examines the personalities of a selected group of political leaders, analyzes the forces that formed their nature—most notably their leadership tendencies—and then demonstrates how character has shaped important political decisions made during their regime. The authors profile 20 different leaders from across five continents, deriving shared personality traits and defining specific leadership styles based on characteristics and circumstances.

The work begins by introducing the field of political psychology and explaining the theoretical framework used in studying the leadership personalities covered in the book. An analysis of leadership across the world considers several types of regimes: authoritarian leaders in non-democratic and democratic societies, authoritarian mixed types, flexible and pragmatic types, and those who combine flexibility with delegation. The text concludes by comparing leaders across time and location, discussing interaction between specific heads of state. Leaders profiled include Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan, Saddam Hussein, Václav Havel, Angela Merkel, and Emperor Hirohito, among others.


  • Includes a comparison of leaders across types
  • Sheds light on how different personality styles affect leaders' decisions
  • Analyzes 20 different well-known leaders from across five continents
  • Traces regimes along a continuum, discussing the interaction between specific leaders when applicable
  • Delves into the early childhood experiences and adult events that shaped the personalities of key leaders
Jean Krasno is a tenured member of the faculty in the department of political science at the City College of New York (CCNY) and a lecturer and associate research scientist at Yale University. She previously held the position of director of the master's program in international relations at CCNY and executive director of the academic council on the United Nations System at Yale. Her published works include Praeger's Leveraging for Success in United Nations Peace Operations and The United Nations and Iraq: Defanging the Viper as well as The United Nations: Confronting the Challenges of a Global Society. Krasno received her doctorate from the City University of New York.

Sean LaPides is a researcher and writer with the Research Foundation-CUNY. Formerly, he was research coordinator for the Kofi Annan papers project. He holds a Master of Arts degree in international relations from the City College of the City University of New York.


"Personality, Political Leadership, and Decision Making: A Global Perspective is an important and unique work with both intellectual and practical significance. It should be read by both scholars across disciplines and by citizens from all societies."—PsycCRITIQUES, June 15, 2016

"The personalities of political leaders are of enduring significance because they matter. The personality traits that characterize particular leaders, their motives, and their understandings are crucial guides to their political choices. And nowhere can you get a wider perspective and better understanding of 'what makes leaders tick' than in this important book."—Stanley Renshon, City University of New York Graduate Center

"Jean Krasno and Sean LaPides have edited a volume sure to become a go-to source for foreign policy analysts interested in how personality affects foreign and domestic policy-making worldwide. Covering a wide variety of leaders—living and dead, male and female, with only two Americans out of nineteen leaders examined—no other volume can match its range. In addition, Krasno contributes a useful four-fold typology of leadership personality, tracing each type to predispositions in policymaking. The book is an engaging read, and students and scholars alike will find much of value in its pages."—Valerie M. Hudson, Professor of international affairs, The Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University
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