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The Leadership Mystique: Leading Behavior in the Human Enterprise, Second Edition by Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries

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Chapter 3. The mussel syndrome

 

Those who know do not tell; those who tell do not know.

 
 --LAO-TZU
 

You can’t step into the same river twice.

 
 --HERACLITUS
 

Oysters are more beautiful than any religion ... There is nothing in Christianity or Buddhism that quite matches the sympathetic unselfishness of an oyster.

 
 --SAKI

The lowly mussel has a lot to teach us about change and stasis. This mollusk has to make only one major existential decision in life, and that’s where it’s going to settle down. After making that decision, the mussel cements its head against a rock and stays put for the rest of its life. I’ve discovered that many people are like that: they’re so resistant to change that they might as well be cemented in place. If leaders share that ...

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