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The Alexander Problem

The tension between focusing on the core and setting out for new territory is universal and transcends business phenomena, spanning the affairs of nations to how to live one’s life. The resolution of this tension is also the trigger point for many of the greatest blunders and most brilliant choices leaders have made in the history of business—or for that matter, all history.

Alexander the Great ruled the largest area of the earth ever conquered by a single individual, stretching from Mount Olympus to Mount Everest. Although not everyone’s idea of the model CEO, he amassed his kingdom in less than four years, covering more than four thousand miles by foot, and winning 100 percent of his battles—a remarkable record in such ...

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