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By Stephanie Jones and Jonathan Gosling
Published by Sage 28th March 2015

He came to France an immigrant and left an exile – but, in a career spanning just 35 years, he became general, consul and emperor. 
How did Napoleon’s name come to be synonymous with brilliance, legend and glory despite displaying opportunistic and manipulative tendencies, and repeatedly deserting those who followed him? Two hundred years after his defeat, what lessons can we learn from his successes and his failures?

As the world marked the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo (on the 18th June 2015), this fascinating study on leadership and power tackles the questions that continue to intrigue and mystify. As now, power was gained and held by political manipulation, patronage, fear, putsch, charisma, popular vote and the new idea of meritocracy. Waterloo 200 years ago...

Through the inclusion of Reflections and Questions, Stephanie Jones and Jonathan Gosling highlight some important lessons for current and future managers and leaders. This book is a must-read for students of leadership, practicing managers and leaders, and anyone with an interest in Napoleon, his rise to power and his ultimate defeat.


Now in available in Chinese

‘Whether you are studying leadership, or doing leadership, this is a rollicking good read, and a fabulously rich book.’ - Ken Parry, Professor of Leadership Studies and co-Director of the Deakin Leadership Centre, Australia

'For better or for worse, power is a central issue in the study and practice of leadership. Jones and Gosling take us on an intellectually stimulating journey through the eyes of a complex leader – Napoleon – who left us a contradictory legacy of glory and misery. Business and political leaders could benefit greatly from the insights found in this book.' Gama Perruci, Dean of the McDonough Center for Leadership and Business, Marietta College; and Consultant for The New York Times in Leadership Program.


Napoleonic Leadership

Nelson's Way

key Concepts in Leadership



For better or for worse, power is a central issue in the study and practice of leadership. Jones and Gosling take us on an intellectually stimulating journey through the eyes of a complex leader – Napoleon – who left us a contradictory legacy of glory and misery. Business and political leaders could benefit greatly from the insights found in this book. 

Ultimately, of course, Napoleon failed and the position he held went to his head. This did not happen overnight or on the basis of one incident. To what extent is it inherent to autocratic models of power, and its concentration in elite hands? To what extent was it a product of its personality, and may be shared by all those who are …‘intensely ambitious’?

“… I will probably recommend it as secondary reading to those who want to use historical cases to think more about leadership

The authors have fully capitalised on their opportunity to study one of the world's most complex and enduring leadership subjects. They provide a clever and compelling integration of well-chosen thematic historical material with sharp contemporary leadership analysis that business executives, public sector leaders and academics alike can derive a great deal of intellectual stimulation and sound practical advice from. I strongly commend this novel and delightful book.

The book would work well as part of a leadership short course.

The authors’… leadership teaching experience and their previous authorship around Nelson makes them very well placed to write this book.  It’s difficult to think of who could be better to write it.

Napoleonic Leadership stands out from the other titles because it examines Napoleon’s style of leadership in a way perhaps not considered in other histories about the emperor. Indeed, it is not strictly a history at all, rather an academic text aimed at aiding the study of leadership as a subject in itself. Although written as an academic text, the book is easy to read and not overly heavy in the academic language that can so often put off the general reader. This interesting and different book certainly deserves a five out of five star rating.

A great man once said that “class is ageless”.  Thanks to Jones and Gosling, the leadership study that is Napoleon is ageless.  Any student of leadership will come to understand the role of power, of politics, of personal charisma and of the needs of the people.  

Whether you are studying leadership, or doing leadership, this is a rollicking good read, and a fabulously rich text book.  

The book was reviewed in the Spanish journal ‘Pasado y Momoria’ by Prof Alberto Cañas de Pablos (of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid). He concludes the review by applauding its original and practical insights into the modes of domination and leadership exemplified by Napoleon and applicable to politics in much of the world today: 


"Así, el libro constituye una apuesta diferente y original para plasmar el modo de dominación y liderazgo político establecido por Napoleón Bonaparte desde un punto de vista más pragmático y especialmente concreto de lo que suele ser habitual. Al aproximar la figura del general-Emperador al liderazgo en la actualidad en cualquier campo, este estudio del poder es capaz de explicar con solvencia los instrumentos sobre los que se construyó el edificio de dominio napoleónico, muchos de los cuales continúan siendo empleados en parte hoy en día por políticos de todo el mundo." 


For the full review, see

In The Press


Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at Maastricht School of Management, having graduated with a PhD from University College London, and a Bachelor’s degree (in History) from the London School of Economics. Dr Jones has authored over 25 full-length internationally-published books on business and management – three of them with Professor Jonathan Gosling. She teaches MBA students across the world, especially courses on leadership, culture and change. Her teaching locations include Kuwait, Egypt, Yemen, China, Vietnam, Peru, Surinam, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and several African countries. With a background managing businesses in recruitment, consulting, and training operations in China, India, the Middle East and Australia, Dr Jones gained extensive experience in the corporate sector before returning to academe a decade ago. She is still active in consulting and training. Dr Jones also supervises student theses, at Doctoral, Masters and Diploma level, assessing and evaluating theses around the world. Napoleonic Leadership: a study in power is her third book with Professor Gosling, the others being Nelson’s Way: leadership lessons from the great commander (2005, published by Nicholas Brealey) and Key Concepts in Leadership (2012, also published by Sage). Both authors are keen cruising and sometimes racing sailors, both in UK and across the world.

Professor Jonathan Gosling

Jonathan acts in an advisory capacity for leadership-related projects in commercial, governmental and activist organisations. He has been Professor of Leadership at renowned universities around the world; is a key-note speaker on leadership, power and change; principal investigator for complex research projects; and coordinates Pelumbra’s growing portfolio of programs. His writing covers a spectrum from scholarly philosophical articles on ethics and wisdom, to applicable lessons drawn from historical leaders such as Napoleon Bonaparte and Horatio Nelson.

Jonathan was recently appointed as Visiting Professor at the Bristol Leadership and Change Centre (BLCC) at the University of the West of England and runs his own consulting company, Pelumbra Ltd. 

You can find out more about Jonathan at:

Our authors are available to speak at academic or business functions
Dr Stephanie Jones
News and Events

News and Updates

Napoleon turns 250!

#Bonaparte swept away the crumbling Holy Roman Empire. After #Waterloo his vision realised in the #German Confederation, a united Italy and freedom for Spanish colonies in South #America. But on his 250th birthay (15 August 1769) can #Britain hold out without empire? How #Napoleon got, held and lost #power

"I wished to found a #European System, a European Code of Laws, a European Judiciary: there would be but one people in Europe" A would-be leader of Europe - 2000s? 1970s? 1950s? #Napoleon Bonaparte, born on 15 Aug 1769. How he got, held and lost #power

 It's easy.#Napoleon Bonaparte, 250th B-day on 15 Aug: "#Europe thus divided into nationalities freely-formed and free internally, peace between states would have been easier - the United States of Europe would have become a possibility" How he got and lost #power

#Bonaparte's Continental System was a #customs union promulgated in November 1806 as an embargo on British goods entering Europe. Both sides fought for #trade deals, most of dubious value. In the 250th year after the birth of #Napoleon (15 August 1769), we’re facing the same chaos. How he got, held and lost #power

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