The Fall of the Alphas: Corporate Anthropologist Dana Ardi on Building Better Beta Leadership

Looking for some good, smart storytelling about contemporary leadership in corporations? Check out Dana Ardi’s 2013 book, The Fall of the Alphas: the New Beta Way to Connect and Lead. Like me, Ardi is a trained anthropologist/ethnographer — a student of culture and the ways people work together, play together, and build stories that fuel the bottom line. So I enjoyed her progressive take on the changing culture of business, moving from ego-centric alpha leadership (top down) to eco-centric beta leadership (collaborative). Read my review in Integral Leadership Review here…

Fall_of_the_Alphas_coverArdi tells a great leadership story, with witty language, telling descriptions of corporate leaders breaking out of the alpha trap, and a clear cultural agenda — to track the transformation from patriarchal, isolating and exclusive alpha-“male” leadership to a more egalitarian, “feminine” beta principle of healthy collaboration, locally and globally. She wants a revolution and she wants it now — and she makes a great argument for how we can make the transition with some grace and a sense of humor.

Whether or not we agree with her overall story, the book offers some excellent practical reasons to make a shift from the loneliness and power-over model of alpha leadership to a more empowering, connected and sustainable beta model. Think dictatorship vs. teamwork, and you’ll see how her ideas can be brought into the business world. I see many of the changes she’s writing about, although I think the change is happening more slowly than quickly — less a fall than a gradual extinction, sometimes almost imperceptible.

Have you read the book? What do you think? Is it time for revolution, or should we take this one step at a time? Can this paradigm really shift in our monolythic capitalist system?

I’d love to hear what you think…



  1. […] we speak as close to truth as we can get, we connect better. We argue/discuss/challenge each other by connection, not by oppositional positions. We talk about what we want, what we really believe is happening, what we hope for. We get to a […]


  2. […] the game against our opponents. (We love our sports metaphors!) But teamwork is limiting because most teams have managers and hierarchies unless they’ve evolved past those old cultural patter…, so we end up with interconnected skill silos and roles and rules, and at the heart of it all is […]


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