We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

“People don’t want to see themselves as human capital,” says Carol Pearson, dean of D.C.’s Mount Vernon Institute. “We have to figure out how to talk about soul and spirit at the workplace where we don’t have the same religion.” In her book Magic at Work: A Guide to Releasing Your Highest Creative Powers (Doubleday Currency), co-authored by Sharon Seivert, Pearson uses stories about Camelot—particularly those involving Merlin—to suggest that executives can spin negatives into positives with the wave of a wand. “Part of thinking magically is thinking mythically or metaphorically,” continues Pearson, who says she and Seivert take care “to ground [magic] in the realm of actual, ordinary practices.” She says Magic at Work conjures the image of the “ancient medicine man” who tells stories with a moral. Magic is in the tradition of What Color Is Your Parachute?, complete with exercises and self-evaluations that relate management to metaphysics. But followers of Arthurian legend will be disappointed to discover that such Camelot myths are summarized and used only to trigger new-agey discussions. “The leap from the really poetic Camelot story to everyday life might be tough for some people,” Pearson explains. “I wanted to expand on what [the allegory] means in everyday work. Some readers just want to know what to do.” Pearson is among the managers and management consultants trying to expand the problem-solving with explorations beyond the visible. No latecomer to this movement, she has authored several other books, including the The Hero Within, and says Magic builds on her previous works: “It allows me the opportunity to close the discrepancy between what I practice as an administrator and how I actually live my life.”