Thought Leaders and Their Writings
I enormously respect, appreciate, and am grateful to those who write and selflessly share their ever unmatched creations, imaginings, insights, foresights with the world. They do the hard work; they dive deeper and deeper into life, human soul and psyche and bequest their life’s work to us, their precious treasure. Selecting a few giants from an ocean filled with incomparable talent is inherently unfair and arbitrary. But that is exactly what I have done with hopes of forgiveness for my omissions and failings. The selected thought leaders have in some way added my understanding of leadership, culture, and strategy domains – my areas of special interest.
1. Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- The Brothers Karamazov (One long passage in that, entitled, The Grand Inquisitor, is filled with insights into how the world really works).
- Crime and Punishment (a psychological masterpiece).
- Arthasastra, translated by Patrick Olivelle. It is a no-nonsense, realistic, objective approach to human nature and governance. The policy prescriptions for leadership and strategy are contextual to the era.
3. Niccolò Machiavelli
- The Prince. It is similar in many ways to Kautilya’s Arthasastra, but less harsh.
4. Marcus Aurelius
- The Emperor’s Handbook. This Roman Emperor left his mushing for living and governance. He wrote, “Bear in mind that the measure of a person is the worth of the things he/she cares about;” and “Are my guiding principles healthy and robust on this hangs everything.” Clayton Christensen expands on the latter in his book, How you will measure your life?
6. Alessandro Manzoni
- The Betrothed. A psychological masterpiece only Manzoni can write.
7. Victor Hugo
- Les Miserables – Everyone’s all-time favorite.
8. Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle)
- The Red and the Black
- The Complete Essays of Montaigne, translated by Donald M. Frame. A simple guide to everyday living.
10. Friedrich Nietzsche
- Twilight of Idols
- Beyond Good and Evil
- Human, All Too Human
- Ecce Homo
- On the Genealogy of Morality
11. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- Sorrow of a Young Werther
- Elective Affinities
12. Guy de Maupassant
- Peirre et Jean
- A Woman’s Life (Une Vie)
1. Jagdish Sheth and Andrew Sobel
- Clients for Life (A great book for general advisors and consultants; it has influenced me tremendously)
2. Clayton Christensen
- How will You Measure Your Life? (Thought leadership with ethics and spirituality)
3. Nitin Nohria
- The Arc of Ambition
4. Theodore Levitt
- Ted Levitt on Marketing (What an original thinker!)
5. Peter Drucker
- The Effective Executive
- Management Challenges for the 21st Century
6. George J. Stigler
- University of Chicago Selected Papers Series:
- a. The Proper Economic Role of the State
- b. The Intellectual and the Market Place
7. Milton Friedman
- Capitalism and Freedom