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Selected Reviews

Upload (Blackheath Publishing, 2021)

“Upload by Elesa Zehndorfer is a really great debut novel that effortlessly weaves together the realms of science, faith, and psychology into an exciting adventure thriller. From the very first page, the story gripped me with its fast-moving plot and keeps you on the edge of your seat until the final, unexpected twist.

What sets "Upload" apart is the author's deep understanding of psychology, which forms the backbone of the narrative. Zehndorfer masterfully delves into the complexities of the human mind, skilfully exploring the nature of truth and reality. The protagonist, Luke Templeton, embarks on a race against time, not only to stop the impending destruction caused by the deeply corrupt Levanter Corporation, but also to unravel the psychological motivations that drive the characters.

The vivid descriptions of landscapes, from the mountain peaks of Lake Saffira to the seas of the Bering Strait and the unforgiving ice plains of Alaska, transport you to the action. Zehndorfer's ability to evoke a strong sense of place and atmosphere adds depth and richness to the story, making the settings come alive.

This is a psychological thriller that also raises profound questions about the intersection of science, faith, and power. The author's research is evident, as she blends these complex themes into a thrilling and engaging narrative. "Upload" kept me guessing at every turn, with its cleverly crafted plot twists and suspenseful pacing. Elesa Zehndorfer has a true talent for crafting compelling characters that resonate with the reader, and her ability to create tension and maintain it throughout the story is commendable.

In conclusion, Elesa Zehndorfer’s debut novel is a testament to her expertise in psychology and her skill in crafting a gripping narrative. I eagerly anticipate her future works and recommend "Upload" to anyone seeking a thrilling, mind-bending read that pushes the boundaries of reality and leaves you craving more."
(Review by Dr. Michael Drayton, author & lecturer at SAID Business School, University of Oxford).

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Leadership: Performance Beyond Expectations (Routledge, 2022)


"Leadership is a complex and controversial phenomenon. Yet, Elesa Zehndorfer has succeeded in writing a comprehensive and instructive guide to understanding leadership in all its manifestations. Leadership: A Critical Introduction summarizes and critiques the spectrum of approaches to the study and practice of leadership and is a stimulating contribution for the benefit of both scholars and practitioners.'"- Packianathan Chelladurai, Ph.D., LL.D., Distinguished Professor, School of Hospitality, Sport, and Tourism Management, Troy University, Canada (review 1st Ed.)



Evolution, Politics & Charisma: Why Do Populists Win: (Routledge, 2019)

"Evolution, Politics and Charisma: Why do Populists Win? shines compelling new light on the way in which the systematic targeting and manipulation of human physiology remain a cornerstone of all populist political campaigns. Readers wishing to make sense of the populist juggernauts of Trump and Brexit and of the cyclical and formulaic nature of the rise and fall of charismatic populism will find this book particularly appealing.

Elesa Zehndorfer begins by presenting a highly applied explanation of the critical importance of political physiology, physiology theory, neuroscience and evolutionary biology in populist charismatic politics.


She later eloquently explains how manipulation of physiological variables (such as heightened testosterone and dopamine) renders the political rally one of the most powerful weapons in a populist leaders’ campaign.  Weber’s seminal conceptualisation of charisma ‘in statu nascendi’ and Hyman Minsky’s insightful theories of cyclical boom-and-bust scenarios are then juxtaposed alongside physiological theory to greatly amplify our understanding of the powerful biological antecedents of charismatic populism. These theoretical observations are then applied directly to recent high-profile populist campaigns – including the 2016 Trump Presidential campaign and early Presidency – and the Brexit referendum, to elucidating and compelling effect.

Ultimately, Evolution, Politics and Charisma paints a clear evolutionary picture of the way in which politics is an emotional – not a rational – process, where our emotions are continually targeted to great, and strategic, effect, and where the most recent intersection of technology and physiology has driven the greatest surge in populism ever seen across the Western hemisphere since the 1930’s. Acknowledging this reality opens up exciting vistas in our understanding of the true power of charismatic populism and provides answers as to how its seductive and often dangerous power can be effectively resisted." - Taylor & Francis website



Charismatic Leadership: The Role of Charisma in the Global Financial Crisis (Routledge, 2015)

"Entertaining and highly informative, Zehndorfer shines an intriguing light on the drivers and accelerators of the recent global financial crisis, interweaving academic theory with a painstaking take on key events, figures and organisations. The role of charisma in the perpetuation of market boom-and-bust cycles tends to be overlooked, while this book brings to light its powerful amplifying effect on institutional actors in financial markets. This work provides great value to financial markets professionals and any individual wishing to gain further insight into the origins of the crisis past, and into precursors and certain tell-tale signs of future market dislocations. This book adds great value to the study of financial markets crises and the importance of charisma of key leaders in behavioural finance. A great read.’"- Andrey Panna, Portfolio Manager, Tenax Credit Opportunities Fund, Tenax Capital.

‘Zehndorfer's Charismatic Leadership is the first book of its kind that sought to deconstruct the role of charismatic leaders in fuelling the fires of market fragility and the cyclical boom-and-bust nature of the financial markets. A must read for any scholar or practitioner wishing to gain further insight into the powerful role of charisma in the origination and perpetuation of financial markets crises.’ - Thomas Pang, CEO, Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation Limited, Singapore



Emotional & Irrational Investing: Causes & Solutions (Routledge, 2016)

"The financial markets are a rollercoaster and this book follows the same theme the seduction of money, our ruinous, heady and high stakes pursuit of it, the incredible fortunes and calamitous losses that have been made in its name, the new and significant threat of retail (armchair) investors wanting their piece of the pie, and the perpetual and foolish mismatch that has always existed and will always exist between our evolutionary programming and the design of the financial markets. 

The rationale for this book is clear; behavioural finance and neurofinance have opened the floodgates in terms of recognising the role of emotional investing in cyclical boom-and-bust scenarios but what is still missing is an answer to the question So what do we do about it? This book seeks, in as compelling and entertaining a fashion as possible, to provide that answer. "- Taylor & Francis website



Leadership: A Critical Introduction (2014)

"Zehndorfer’s Leadership: A Critical Introduction will be required reading for my undergraduate students, graduate students, and consulting clients. Readers seeking to better understand the fascinating concept on leadership will be treated to comprehensive overview of this topic, from the trait theory of leadership contemporary concepts like emotional intelligence and authentic leadership. Zehndorfer effectively weaves in case studies, vignettes and concept check exercises to facilitate deeper understanding and learning. This book is a one-stop shopping expedition for researchers and practitioners alike."-  Jim Weese, PhD, Professor and Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

Upload (2021, Blackheath Publishing)

"If you were Rex, Annalise or Spencer, would you risk it all and go against the mighty Levanter? If you were Alexander Van Reese, would you walk the dangerous line of working with the devil to pursue higher ambitions even if it means risking the safety of your own flesh and blood? If you were Professor Grayling, would you take the same path to protect the future you hold dear?

Upload is a page turner from start to finish. Whether you lean towards science or more towards faith, your idea of truth and possibility will definitely be stimulated by what's inside this book. I am a fan from across the miles of who you are as a writer, Ms. Zehndorfer. Looking forward to more books from you."   - Noli Ayo, Bestselling author, Winning Still


"What a brilliant read! I love thrillers, I love adventure and I love a great storyline, so this was always going to be right up my street! It's written with that vivid, striking, intelligent quality that had me completely engrossed from start to finish. The pitching of science and religion in the modern-day pursuit of power while capturing the very best and worst of people on such a visceral level makes for a fiercely entertaining and gripping read. This is going to end up on a screen - I'm sure of it. Trust me and read it before it gets there!"    - Adrian O'Connor 


"Upload is Elesa Zehndorfer’s first novel. I was familiar with her many academic titles already, but was pleasantly surprised by this major shift in genre, style and pace. This book gripped me from the moment I started to read - it is genuinely hard to put down. The characters in the book are very vivid, ranging from dark & sinister, sometimes even deranged, to brave and courageous. Upload is a classic tale of good against evil in a chilling, somewhat futuristic, yet worryingly contemporary, setting. Just brilliant." - Anonymous reviewer 


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