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Nightly Business Report Presents Lasting Leadership: What You Can Learn from the Top 25 Business People of our Times by Robbie Shell, Sandeep Junnarkar, Susan Warner, Jeffrey Brown, Mukul Pandya

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8. Fast Learners

Leadership and learning go hand in hand. This is hardly a new insight. In Plato’s dialog, The Republic, he wrote that learning was crucial for the Guardians, who held the reins of power in the utopian city state. Plato prescribed a tough regimen of intellectual and physical education for them from childhood, so they could grow to become leaders. The reason is simple: Leaders cannot guide their constituents unless they deepen their own knowledge through learning.

To be true to their function, however, leaders must be fast learners—in a way that does not necessarily refer to formal education or bookish knowledge. The need for rapid learning arises because all leaders—regardless of their domain—deal with realities that are in ceaseless ...

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