Introduction

IN MY MORE THAN 30 YEARS OF WORK AS A CONSULTANT AND AUTHOR, I’VE LEARNED THAT THE BEST IDEAS ARE FOUND INSIDE COMPANIES. BUT IT WASN’T ALWAYS SO. THERE WAS A TIME WHEN I STRAYED FROM THE REALM OF HANDS-ON PRAGMATISM TO SEARCH THE WRITINGS OF PHILOSOPHERS FOR IDEAS THAT COULD BE APPLIED TO BUSINESS. TO BE HONEST, I THOUGHT THAT QUOTING THE ANCIENTS MADE ME SOUND SMARTER.

One day, while waxing philosophic during a speech in Monterey, Mexico, I encountered a far smarter gentleman of a certain age sitting in the front row. He interrupted me to ask how the philosophy of Mexico’s nineteenth-century ruler, Gen. Antonio Santa Anna, could be applied to management. What could a man both admired and reviled contribute to business? The answer, ...

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