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Interview: Authors of Leaders Assemble! Leadership in the MCU by Sy Islam and Gordon B. Schmidt

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Cosmic Cafe host Ayla Ruby talks with Dr. Sy Islam and Dr. Gordon B. Schmidt about their book Leaders Assemble! Leadership in the MCU (Exploring Effective Leadership Practices through Popular Culture). The book examines what we can learn in the real world about leadership based on the characters, films, and shows within the MCU from Marvel Studios. Dr. Islam and Dr. Schmidt are experts in the field of industrial organizational psychology and they had tremendous insight on how some characters within the MCU lead – and sometimes don’t lead. 

The conversation about leadership in the MCU

[Editor’s note: This interview has been lightly edited for clarity. Heavy spoilers for everything Marvel are discussed below. Audio of this interview is available in podcast form below or most places podcasts are available.]


  • 00:10 – Intros
  • 00:45 – How did you come up with the idea for the book?
  • 04:50 – What was your journey to your fandom? How did it start?
  • 11:55 – What was your prep for Leaders Assemble! Leadership in the MCU?
  • 13:55 – What has been the response from colleagues and students?
  • 18:00 – Was there anything surprising you found about the Marvel Cinematic Universe as you worked on this book? (Black Widow and “The Glass Cliff”)
  • 23:35 – Leadership lessons in Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk
  • 26:00 – Talk about The Eternals
  • 30:25 – Talk about Secret Invasion
  • 34:50 – What is the biggest lesson in leadership people should use in their everyday lives?
  • 38:00 – What’s next for you? Next books they’re working on.
  • 39:45 – Outros

Host: Ayla Ruby 

Theme: “Coffee and You” by Vladislav Kurnikov via Pixabay.

How to read more 

Leaders Assemble: Leadership in the MCU is now available on Amazon and many places books are sold. 

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Ayla Ruby

I am a writer and interviewer based somewhere in the Alpha Quadrant. I love all things nerdy - but Star Trek and Spiderman have special places in my heart. Find me at @TulinWrites on Twitter. And visit my other website for more reviews and interviews:

Ayla Ruby has 170 posts and counting. See all posts by Ayla Ruby