Kingdomality, or What Won’t They Make a Self-Help Book Out Of?

Apparently, this is a million-selling business phenomenon that I’ve never heard of, which isn’t that strange, since we academics hardly ever hear of anything business-related.

It’s called Kingdomality, and according to its subtitle, it is an “Ingenious New Way to Triumph in Management,” and who am I to argue with a subtitle? I found out about it through an emailed link to their medieval-themed personality test.

According to the authors, there are twelve personality types. I’m the “Shepherd.” Here’s how they describe it:

Your distinct personality, The Shepherd is to tend to your human flock. You understand the needs of those for whom you are responsible. Shepherds are vigilant and reliable. You realize your obligation and commitment to the well being of those entrusted to your care. Shepherds are very dependable. You engender a feeling of comfort and stability to those within your charge. On the positive side, Shepherds can be empathic, caring, understanding, practical and realistic. On the negative side, you may be manipulative, close-minded and sentimentally rigid. Interestingly, your preference is just as applicable in today’s corporate kingdoms.

On the one hand, this is the most perfectly medieval sentiment I’ve ever seen in the business world (and counting this one I’ve seen… one). One of the main tenets of late medieval England (the narrow part of the medieval world I’m familiar with) was that humanity could be divided up into three orders, and that individuals had no important personality outside of their narrowly defined social role. A miller is a miller, a wife a wife, a knight a knight, etc. (Obviously, it was a load of crap even then, but I digress.)

On the other hand, don’t they actually mean Parish Priest instead of Shepherd? What an amazing whitewash of the Middle Age’s Chistian component–unless they really mean that a medieval shepherd was as likely to farm humans as sheep.

Since I’m not actually going to buy this book, I’m limited to reviewing the parts that are free and on the web. The whole thing looks to be pretty standard “the middle ages was a time of tiny kingdoms, brave knights, and ferocious dragons” drivvel. Maybe I should write a medieval self-help book. Unleashing Your Inner Arthur? The Once and Future Middle Manager? Get Medieval on Your Synergies? The Round Table Approach to Conference Calls? There must be a million ways to make money off the middle ages, and here I am languishing in academia.

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