Why People Are Drawn to Narcissists Like Donald Trump

Trump has a personality type that’s common to the charismatic leaders who emerge in times of turmoil and uncertainty, when people are ready to follow a strong leader who promises to lead them to greatness. Sigmund Freud called people with this personality type “normal narcissists” and he described them as independent and not vulnerable to intimidation, also noting that they have a large amount of aggressive energy and a bias for action. Freud included himself in this group and saw these narcissists as driven to lead and to change the world. Such narcissists can be very charming, and indeed, research has shown most of us like to follow narcissists.

.. I wrote that productive narcissists like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Larry Ellison were exploiting new technologies to create great companies, just as Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and Henry Ford did over a century ago. However, I also illustrated that people with this personality type, however brilliant, have potential weaknesses that can do them in.

.. But to sustain their success, he said, they should learn how to pretend to be humble.

.. Do the leaders in question have trusted advisers to keep them from taking rash actions?

.. Narcissistic leaders can create companies like Apple or those like Enron. Like Lincoln and Nelson Mandela they can change the world for the better, or like Napoleon and Hitler they can lead their followers to disaster. In the final accounting, a large part of the credit for their successes, or blame for their failures, belongs to the people who followed them.