Happy Anniversary

Did you know it’s our anniversary?

Yes, five years ago this month, I started A User’s Guide to Power, with this inaugural post on power, democracy and leadership.

A lot has changed since 2008. Five “internet years” feels more like ten in the real world. For perspective, back when this blog launched…

  • There was no iPhone
  • Facebook had just started to become available to users outside of universities and high schools
  • Twitter was just out of beta (and most people didn’t know what it was)
  • Hillary Clinton was ahead of Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary

Seems like forever ago, doesn’t it?

Over time, though not as rapidly, my focus on power has similarly changed. As that initial post shows, I began A User’s Guide to Power intending to write about the problems of power and leadership through a lens of democracy. I am indeed still interested in the topic, and its implications: to self-govern is a psychological and much as a political issue.

But over time, my thinking has extended to leadership, learning and change, and specifically, how we think and feel and how that affects our use of power. The ways we use power are closely linked to our behavior in general: power is simply one’s personality filtered through a high power role, and we seem to be consistent across roles.

And yet, there is also a distinct and noticeable effect high power roles have on us. Power really does influence our thoughts, behavior and attitude. This interplay between personality and power seems most interesting to me as of late.

That’s my perspective, but I’m interested in what draws you here. What topics interest you most? What draws you to comment?

Looking back over these five years, I’m most happy about the community of readers who have come and gone, and hung around. A big thanks to you who regularly read and post and create a deep and thoughtful conversation on these issues. And thanks to you, as well, the occasional reader who stumbles upon this site. Whether you visit regularly or not, post comments or not, the knowledge that occasionally someone shares an interest in these topics, and stops by to have a look is enough to keep me writing!

I’d love to know more about you – what brings you here, what you like, what you’d like to see more – or less – of. Please take a couple minutes and fill out this survey. As I make change to my website and blog over the next few months, your feedback will help dictate what this spaces looks like, and the topics I write about.


And happy anniversary!

14 Responses so far.

  1. Lisa Diamond Stein says:

    Happy Anniversary Jules. . . I ;ook forward to reading your blogs weekly.

  2. Katje Wagner says:

    Congratulations Julie! Where will we be in another 5 years…looking back on the exponential acceleration of change, it’s quite boggling to imagine forward! I love reading your posts…the intellectual stimulation of looking deeply into issues of power/leadership/change, also your thoughts as those issues link to current events, as well as your personal reflections on the joys/struggles/mishaps of living life. Thank you for writing and I look forward to more!

  3. Kamisia says:

    Dear Julie! Congratulations and BIG THANK YOU for your gift for me and us all! That`s awesome!

  4. Mazel tov Julie-san, my sempai-sensei dream team person extraordinaire! You make me gvel (I have no idea how to spell yiddish never mind speak it, oy vey) I have loved reading your posts and thinking and exploring the issues you address and following you around N. America to experience your teaching and wisdom F2F! The hole I found underground has offered me a deep hibernation for a long time now and am just starting to peak my head out slowly. I look forward to more of your learning and shall take your survey. Love, Cathy

  5. Rho Sandberg says:

    Dear Julie
    I can only echo Katje’s comments. The combination of intellectual rigour and accessible pragmatism in your writing is fabulous. It always take me to a new place of enquiry. It not only inspires me to write, but teaches me about writing in a way that bridges worlds.

  6. Mary says:

    I love your perspective, your insight. I like how you invite dialogue and self reflection. By interacting it’s like I get to have a conversation and a taste of what it takes to write a blog. You integrate many perspectives into your unique one, and it’s one that I resonate with, or that stimulates my thinking and broaden’s it. Five years ago, there was no iphone! No way!
    I also learn from others who drop in and share their story. So it’s a great way to interact. Keep your blog interests and writing coming. Hm, and you even asked what we the readers would want to hear more about?? I’ll think on that and get back to you.
    Happy Anniversary!

    • juliediamond says:

      thanks Mary. It’s good to hear what resonates with you, what draws you back. And thanks for mentioning the survey – I’m really looking forward to seeing what folks have to say. And thank you Mary for being such a regular participant, and making it a rich place to come back to!

  7. Hellene Gronda says:

    Hey Julie
    thanks for your gritty, heartful thinking (rare combination!) – this blog is one of my go-to-places for stimulation.

    And now again … what does this intriguing statement mean? “power is simply one’s personality filtered through a high power role”. Can you say more?

    • juliediamond says:

      Thanks Hellene. Gritty? maybe you can say more on that one!
      That statement should read more accurately: “One’s use of power is simply their personality filtered through a high power role.” In other words, we’re consistent creatures. Though power does in fact influence us, and research shows that certain ‘cognitive errors’ become more acute in high power roles, we ‘take our personality with us’ wherever we go. So the problems we have in one role, are the problems we have in another. But with the ‘perks’ of the role, the scope of authority we have, the lessened oversight, the problems become greater in a high power role. The scope of our havoc-wreaking abilities expands.


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