A Failure of Nerve in 52 Weeks

A Yearlong Leadership Planner

Edwin Friedman

Sep/2023, 224 Pages, PAPERBACK, 6 × 9 in

ISBN-13: 9781640656529

A leadership planner based on the bestselling A Failure of Nerve.

Nearly 25 years after the bestselling A Failure of Nerve first astonished the business world, Edwin H. Friedman’s groundbreaking wisdom is back – now in a fresh, agile framework designed with today’s leaders in mind. Combining essential excerpts from the beloved original with new and engaging prompts and exercises, A Failure of Nerve in 52 Weeks builds on the success of Friedman’s earlier work to provide readers with an insightful year-long resource for leadership planning and development.

Concentrating on the core tenets of A Failure of Nerve, this workbook will help readers recognize and reign in their own emotional reactivity, overcome a misplaced addiction to data, and develop a sense of self that will never be overrun by the loudest and least mature voices in the room. Each weekly spread is packed with quotes and exercises to stimulate self-reflection and features a week-long planner page designed with ample space to mark appointments, track goals, and map out one’s path to well-differentiated leadership. Whether you are a longtime fan or new to Friedman’s work, this versatile planner will provide the structure, guidance, and wisdom to help you grow into the courageous leader you aspire to be.

EDWIN FRIEDMAN (1932–1996) was an ordained rabbi and practicing family therapist. An in-demand consultant and public speaker throughout the country, he led leadership training programs for government, business, religious, and psychotherapy professionals at his Center for Family Process. His groundbreaking volumes Generation to Generation, and A Failure of Nerve, which exposed the connections between emotional processes at home and at work in religious, educational, therapeutic, and business systems, has become a modern classic. He lived in Washington, DC.

How to Use This Book



Editors’ Preface

Week 1: Introduction

Week 2: Self-Differentiated Leaders

Week 3: Imaginative Gridlock

Week 4: The Spirit of Adventure

Week 5: Emotional Barriers

Week 6: The Counter-Evolutionary Age

Week 7: Emotional Regression

Week 8: The Specter of Chronic Anxiety

Week 9: Characteristics of the Chronically Anxious

Week 10: More Characteristics of the Chronically Anxious

Week 11: The Fallacy of Expertise

Week 12: Data and Leadership in Medicine

Week 13: Data and Management

Week 14: A New Worldview of the Brain

Week 15: Map 1: The Triune Brain

Week 16: Maps 2 & 3

Week 17: Map 4: The Brain and Other Bodies

Week 18: The Fallacy of Empathy

Week 19: Empathy vs. Responsibility

Week 20: Hostile Environments

Week 21: Malignant Cells

Week 22: Organisms

Week 23: Institutions

Week 24: Survival in a Hostile Environment

Week 25: Imaginative Capacity and the Odds for Survival

Week 26: The Fallacies of Self

Week 27: More Fallacies of Self

Week 28: A Natural History of the Self

Week 29: Differentiation

Week 30: The Politics of Self

Week 31: The Impact of Togetherness on Self

Week 32: The Power of the Immune Response

Week 33: Differentiation as an Emotional Concept

Week 34: Take Five

Week 35: Columbus as a Leader

Week 36: A New Way Forward

Week 37: Systems Thinking

Week 38: The Nature of Institutions

Week 39: Emotional Triangles

Week 40: Types of Emotional Triangles

Week 41: The “Laws” of Emotional Triangles

Week 42: How Emotional Triangles Operate

Week 43: The Interlocking Nature of Emotional Triangles

Week 44: Stress in Emotional Triangles

Week 45: The Togetherness Position

Week 46: A Cross-Cultural Phenomenon

Week 47: Conflicts of Will

Week 48: The Power of Presence

Week 49: Leadership Through Self-Differentiation

Week 50: Management

Week 51: Times of Crisis

Week 52: A Year in Review


  • Congregational Vitality
  • Organizational Health
  • clergy resources
  • leadership self-help
  • anxiety
  • self defining
  • emotional maturity
  • regulation

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