Learn without thinking begets ignorance. Think without learning is dangerous. ~Confucius
I am almost always eager for two things. The first is to continually improve my leadership skills through as many means as possible. My first choice is generally reading because I can learn from a great many people in a relatively short period of time. The second is to learn from and about people brought up in cultures other than my own.
It’s not that I think people from other traditions have some inherent wisdom or are somehow more intelligent than those growing up a world view similar to mine. I seek out books written by people from other cultures because they will give me a perspective that is decidedly not like mine. Not better than mine. Not worse than mine. Not right. Not wrong. Just different.
I feel it is an important skill to be able to see from a different perspective, a strength to look at a problem with eyes of the West, eyes of the East, eyes of everywhere in between. I think a person that understands there a multiple possible views of life and embraces that knowledge and seeks out the understanding of others is better prepared to travel this lovely little planet, to comprehend all the world has to offer.
It is with this perspective that I read “The Book of Leadership & Strategy: Lessons of the Chinese Masters.” It was formatted similar to the sayings of Confucius or the book of Proverbs in the Bible, phrases or grouping of phrases extolling wisdom. Nothing in the book was shockingly new. Most were variations of sayings I have heard time and again during the course of my life. The book claims these were recorded in ancient times in old China prior to the rise of Confucius. I guess, in that context, the were on the radical side of cutting edge when originally conceived.
I was struck by how congruent the sayings were with the concept of Servant Leadership, the style of leadership I try and emulate. It that respect, these sayings are also radical for modern leadership. And for that ‘radical’ perspective, I recommend this book.