These mens lives have lessons for us today but also in a way parallel the lives of some of the most significant business leaders of the 20th and 21st centuries. Business leaders and generals and political leaders all lead high stress lives. Many people depend on them for everything and their decisions have enormous impact. It is therefore very useful to understand what works and what doesnt.
One of the best things about this book is how it covers so much ground so quickly. It provides an excellent overview of a number of historical periods and places. This part was a very exciting read. I knew little about Xenophon for example and his style of leadership. That was a model which is not often written about. This general style is very important: so many historical figures were also students of history. What happened in the past is the best predictor of what will happen in the future.
A limitation that seemed apparent was that while there are similarities between business and war they are not the exactly the same. Sam Walton is not Alexander the Great. If things go bad for Sam, he loses money. If things go bad for Alexander, he and his soldiers are killed and his country destroyed. There is an important difference. When Hank Greenberg was voted out of AIG by the board of directors because of some of the mistakes he made with management, his penalty wasnt exactly the same as Julius Caesars. Life and death are rarely at stake in the business world (although sometimes they are).
Another limitation is that there is no real discussion of women. If organizations are better able to understand when women leaders are most effective, they may then be able to increase the number of women in the leadership ranks which would result in better organizational performance. Increasing the numbers of women in the workforce is important to organizations around the world. In particular, workforce diversity continues to be a focus of most large corporations. Having a chapter or