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How charisma shapes our world

King Penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) Adult with chicks, South Georgia Island.
Kevin Schafer / Getty Images
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King Penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) Adult with chicks, South Georgia Island.

What exactly is charisma? You know it when you see it, but is it possible to measure? Is it something you can learn, or just something you’re born with? This hour we look at the impact of charisma in our world, especially in politics. Plus, in the world of wildlife conservation there’s a term for those animals everyone cares about: “charismatic megafauna.” What are the impacts of decisions about conservation or leadership coming down to a nebulous trait like charisma?


  • John Antonakis: Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Faculty of Business and Economics of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Russ Schriefer: Founding Partner of Strategic Partners & Media, a public affairs political consulting firm. He is Senior Strategist for the Tell It Like It Is SuperPac that supports Chris Christie for President
  • Sophie Monsarrat: Rewilding Manager with Rewilding Europe, who used to be a researcher who studied charismatic megafauna, among other topics

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Colin McEnroe and Cat Pastor contributed to this show.

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Lily is the senior producer for The Colin McEnroe Show. She first worked at Connecticut Public as an intern, in 2014. She has previously worked for WBUR, KUNC, and as a producer for the New England News Collaborative's weekly show Next.