One of the things I learnt when I was negotiating was that until I changed in myself I could not change others.

Nelson Mandela

Why Love Matters. How affection shapes a baby’s brain

Sue Gerhardt

Routledge 2004

This book summarises all that is central to the philosophy and approach of the Mindful Leadership Foundation. Sue Gerhardt took a year in the Bodleian library to read all of the then latest neuroscience (2004) (Damasio, Panskeep, Pert, Schore) with a mission to communicate simply, respectfully and engagingly to the general reader. She demonstrates the unassailable logic of the nurture argument through neuroscience and compassionate and well observed case studies.

Put over simply we are born hard wired to expect a meaningful, spontaneous, playful connection to an idealised caregiver. We experience the same emotions they do through the magic of mirror neurons. We develop an internal model of self, other and the world. We get scared or anxious when the caregiver, other or world doesn’t behave in the way we expect and cortisol, the fuel of the fight/flight mechanism rushes round our bodies. Gerhardt explains what happens and uses Attachment Theory to demonstrate what can go awry, what can inform our later patterns and in some cases the psychopathology that can result.

This book was a landmark when published only 6 years ago as it made readily accessible the latest thinking and research, with a human and practical voice. Gerhardt has subsequently turned her attention to the wider societal implications of her thoughts and work in The Selfish Society (Simon & Schuster 2010).

Since its publication there have been many deeper and more detailed, philosophical or technical explorations of these patterns  (Cozolino, Gopnik, Hrdy, Siegel) but for me Gerhardt’s remains the most straightforward, persuasive and human.

The physical, psychological, spiritual, emotional and cognitive aspects of our attachment patterns inform all of tMLF’s work with leaders. We contain somatic memories of these early years and our stresses caused by giving a presentation, working with a new boss, being in a foreign country where we don’t share the language were programmed them. Mindfully accepting them invites the possibility of choice and change.

Sue Gerhardt was the guest speaker at the first of tMLF’s New Days at the RSA. 


Here's a very short bibliography


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Holmes John Bowlby and Attachment Theory (1993)

Hrdy Mother and Others, Belknap, Harvard University Press, London 2009

Gerhardt S Why Love Matters. Hove: Brunner-Routledge. (2004, 2014)

Gopnik, Alison, The Philosophical Baby, Random (2009)

James O They F*** You Up. London: Bloomsbury. (2002)

Cassidy and Shaver Handbook of Attachment(2008)

Action Learning

Revans ABC of Action Learning (2011)

Pedler M Action Learning for Managers (2008)


Milan, West The Reflecting Glass Palgrave (2001)

Silsbee The Mindful Coach (2010)

Whitmore Coaching for Performance: GROWing Human Potential and Purpose - the Principles and Practice of Coaching and Leadership (4th Edition) (People Skills for Professionals) (2009)


Ekman Emotions Revealed (2004)

Evans D Emotion: The Science of Sentiment OUP (2001)

Jeffers, S Feel the Fear (1997, 2011)

Lindenfield Managing Anger (2000)

Nettle Happiness: The Science behind your Smile (2006)

Seligman Authentic Happiness (2003), Flourish (2011)

Leadership and Work

Dalai Lama, MuyzenbergThe Leader’s Way, 2009 Nicholas Brealey London

de vries, K The Leader on the Couch, Jossey-Bass (2006)

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Svendsen Work, The Art of Living, Stocksfield, Acumen (2008),

Wanless Intuition @ Work and at Home and Play( 2002)

Hamel The Future of Management (2007)

Bunting Willing Slaves: How the Overwork Culture is Ruling Our Lives (2004) 

Sennett The Corrosion of Character: Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism - (1998)

Mindful Approaches

Carroll The Mindful leader Awakening your natural management skills through mindfulness meditation Trumpeter Books (2007)

Gilbert The Compassionate Mind, Constable and Robinson (2009)

Gunaratana Mindfulness in Plain English (2002)

Kabat-Zinn Mindfulness for Beginners (2006)

Siegel Mindsight (2010)

Williams, Penman Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace (2011)

Williams, Teasdale, Siegel,The Mindful Way Through Depression (2007)

Physical Intelligence

Bryner, Markova An Unused Intelligence (1996)

Damasio The Feeling of What Happens (2000)

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SapolskyWhy Zebras Don't Get Ulcers. W.H. Freeman and Company. (1994)

Pert Molecules of Emotion Simon and Schuster (1999) 


Appignanesi Mad, Bad and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800 (2009)

Beck The Vicious Circle, Cognitive Theory: Basics and Beyond (1995)

Boniwell,  Ilona. Positive psychology

Boniwell,  Ilona., Positive Psychology Coaching, The Bulletin of the Association for Coaching Summer (2006), Issue 8, page 2

Clifton, D.Do & Anderson, E.C. StrengthsQuest Washington:The Gallup Organization (2001-02)

Erskine Attunement and involvement: therapeutic responses to relational needs. Institute for Integrative Psychotherapy, New York, NY, USA and University of Derby, UK. Published in International Journal of Psychotherapy, Vol. 3 No. 3, 1998

Frankl, V Man’s Search for Meaning (1946)

Lewis G Sunbathing in the Rain: A Cheerful Book About Depression  (2003) 

Lubit Coping with Toxic managers, Subordinates - and other Difficult People (2003)

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Mearns and ThornePerson-Centred Counselling  (2007)

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Seligman M, Peterson C, Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook, OUP (USA), 2004

Simanowitz and Pearce Personality Development (2003)

Spiritual Intelligence

Bloom Endorphins 2001 and SOULution (2005)

Richo, D Everyday Commitments (2008)

Zohar & Marshall Spiritual Intelligence: The Ultimate Intelligence, Bloomsbury (2001)

Transactional Analysis

Berne E Games People Play (2010)

Harris I’m OK, You’re OK (1995)

Hay J TA for Trainers (1993)

Steiner Scripts People Live (1990)

Stewart, Joines TA Today (1987)

Tilney Dictionary of Transactional Analysis  (1988)

Widdowson Transactional Analysis, 100 Key Points (2009)