Second hand Management and Literature books
Although literature may appear to be an unlikely source for a CEO seeking a long-term competitive advantage, experts indicate that the link between literature and successful business management is not as far-fetched as it may look. The reason for this is that great management requires managing people, and good literature and management books are among the best sources of insight into human behavior and sound judgment. These books may be costly, but with the advent of the web market, you can simply find affordable second hand literature books and second hand management books.
Running a business successfully in today's continuously changing, fiercely competitive business world is no easy task. The distinction between success and failure is becoming increasingly minor. Executives require all the assistance they can get, even if it means obtaining these from used online book retailers. Literature, which includes everything from ballads, epics, fables, and myths to novels, plays, poetry, and short tales, is an odd source of assistance. Technical writing and journalism aren't counted, but most CEOs receive more than their fill there anyhow.
Executives who used Coles Notes or Classics Comics in their high school or college literature classes may or may not have deceived their professors. Regardless, they lost a fantastic opportunity to expand their business management skills. It's not too late! Beyond the latest on business conditions, quality control, risk management, brand loyalty, and goodwill amortization, executives will find real value in reading. Some of these versions may not be readily available in new publishing, but they are inexpensive when purchased used, and can be found easily through secondhand online businesses such as Usedbooksfactory in India.
The connection between literature and good business management is not as improbable as it may look. Management is displaying decision-making, execution, and succession planning by getting things done that are worth doing through people and then seamlessly handing over the reins when the time is appropriate. When executives are asked why they aren't receiving the results they want, the answers almost always revolve around people. Superiors, colleagues, lower-level employees, consumers, suppliers, shareholders, bankers, regulators, the media, or even antagonists and competitors may be among the "people." But it's always the people!
This is where literature comes in. Literature is about people and what makes them tick—what they are, why they are, what they do, why they feel the way they do, and how they change. Character development, insight into human behavior, thorough appraisal of events, and sensible judgment about possibilities, choices, and consequences distinguish good from terrible literature more than literary method, story, or theme. When you give a CEO insight, judgment, and the ability to read people and situations, he or she is usually off to a good start. It is misreading people and situations that gets most businesses into problems, not a lack of information.
Aside from that, how about learning a little more about human behavior through an old secondhand literature book? You might wonder how that is possible when the author has completed all of the content. Some of the anecdotes and small scribblings from the sides of the old second hand literature book page may have been left by book enthusiasts who wished to learn more about human behavior by reading a literature book. This could have been an unnoticed notion by the author, but they realized it and opted to record it elsewhere in the book. Old literature and secondhand books are rich when it comes to talking about the past.
To put it another way, literature is about the full range of human emotions, including courage, generosity, honesty, honour, justice, kindness, patience, hubris, ego, jealousy, greed, deception, overreaction, and ambiguity. Literature develops the possible repercussions of each of these characteristics through story and picture. Whatever challenge the CEO is confronted with, there is a literary counterpart where everything turns out well or terribly depending on how people and situations are handled. a better understanding of how to persuade others. A well-read executive may have a greater understanding of the possible outcomes of certain actions. When the stakes are highest and the worst in a person is most likely to emerge, the well-read CEO may have a better awareness of his or her own proclivities. A well-read executive may have a better feel of how people would act in certain situations. A well-read leader may also have a better understanding of how to influence others.
Communication is how executives lead. If there's one thing literature is, it's communication—from the writer to the reader. Literature has a lot to offer executives who want to improve their communication abilities. If literature is about communication, well-read CEOs frequently leave notes on papers buried inside old, second-hand literary books they've read, thus leaving a message for the next reader.
One reason executives should study literature is to get a competitive advantage. Another, perhaps even more compelling purpose is to unwind and reconnect with oneself. The challenges on the executive in the twenty-first century are enormous: Quarterly earnings growth is never quite enough; shareholders always want more; change is relentlessly accelerated; uncertainty and unpredictability are constantly rising; competitors are only getting tougher and smarter; ever more stressed and anxious employees; nonstop hard choices; constant travel; terrible hours; never enough time for family, friends, recreation, reflection, and solitude.
(Don't forget that in a used book of literature or a management book, you might come across another character who writes down his or her views with a pencil in each new chapter.) What executive doesn't need to get lost for a few hours? There are a lot worse places to lose yourself than in a good book. Above all, executives are pragmatic. We believe that the barrier between many of them and literature is not a lack of value, but rather a lack of knowledge on where to begin. Courses in high school and college are light-years distant. It can be difficult to know what to read and how to read it. If connecting with management is a goal, it can be much more difficult. But, thanks to online secondhand management books, you don't have to be concerned; you can get near to everything you desire. Let's look at two books that might be useful.
Two novels are used as examples of literature and management.
Harold Bloom, How to Read and Why, Scribner, 2000, and John O. Whitney and Tina Packer, Power Plays, Simon and Schuster, 2000, are two books that the executive who wants to dive into literature should order. They're fantastic!
How to Read and Why
Read Harold Bloom first. He accomplishes something very remarkable: he teaches you how to read for optimum benefit, understanding, and pleasure in straightforward English. Most things, from riding a bicycle to maintaining a stock portfolio, are considerably easier to learn if you have a little guidance from someone who understands what they're doing—a professional. What makes you think reading is any different? Yes, See Spot Run helped a lot of businessmen learn to read. Bloom, on the other hand, will teach you how to read!
Harold Bloom is an expert in the field of reading instruction. He is Yale University's Sterling Professor of Humanities, New York University's Berg Professor of English, a former Harvard professor, a MacArthur Prize Fellow, and the author of more than 20 books. He has spent more than 40 years, according to his publisher, "transforming college students into lifelong readers with his unrivaled love for literature." Do not minimize the impact of a lifetime spent in the classroom. Whatever subject you're studying, the light finally shines through, and you realize how individuals learn and don't learn. Bloom is a teacher, and you are a teacher.
In the second sentence, Bloom describes what his book is about. "We have access to an infinite amount of information; where can we find wisdom?" You can forget about the MBA if you give an executive wisdom! To "weigh and consider"; to "strengthen the self, and to learn its authentic interests"; for "self-improvement"; because "we cannot know enough people profoundly enough"; to "know ourselves better"; and because "we require knowledge, not just of self and others, but of the way things are," according to Bloom.
Bloom's book offers a nice order and organization that will appeal to busy, results-oriented CEOs. He discusses how and why one should read a short story, poetry, novel, or play in successive parts. He walks the reader through many of history's finest works in the process. Bloom teaches with a reference-and-example style that has a refreshing "how to" practicality that is uncommon among famous theoreticians. He is clearly a great academic, but he also has the capacity to communicate with the layperson. Would that more VCR and barbecue instruction manuals were written with such clarity! Bloom will demonstrate how to deal with Austen, Browning, Cervantes, Chekhov, Coleridge, Dickens, Dostoevsky, Faulkner, Hemingway, James, Melville, Milton, Shakespeare, Whitman, and Wilde, among others.
Cervantes and Shakespeare are two of Bloom's favorite authors. "Shakespeare's sole probable counterpart in the imaginative literature of the previous four centuries," says Bloom of Cervantes. "The earliest and best of all novels," according to Don Quixote. Sancho Panza is a match for Sir John Falstaff, and Don Quixote himself is a peer of Hamlet. I'm at a loss for words to express my gratitude." Why should you read Don Quixote? "There are aspects of yourself that you will not fully comprehend until you have a thorough understanding of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza."
Shakespeare is "the best of all dramatists," according to Bloom, because "he reads you more fully than you can read him." Bloom's admiration for Shakespeare is evident in the title of another Bloom book, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, in which Bloom asks how much Shakespeare's characters contributed to our current state.
Some executives might find one of Bloom's Shakespeare views particularly insightful. According to Bloom, everyone in Shakespeare's day has a hard time listening and prefers to talk. Things may have gone out differently if Hamlet, Lear, Antony, and Cleopatra had only listened. As a result, it occurs frequently in business. If you look at a horrible company situation, there's a strong chance you'll discover an executive who didn't listen somewhere along the way. The executive was informed, but he was not heard.
Communication is increasingly a point of pride for business schools. Would that communication training emphasized paying attention and listening as much as speaking and presenting. In a similar line, perhaps learning to follow is just as vital as learning to lead. What executive isn't both a leader and a follower, but leadership receives all the attention?
Three management references from Power Plays should whet your appetite. Consider Othello's implications of a bad choice if your problem is personnel selection. The logical choice for the vacant number-two post is Iago, who is loyal, experienced, and fearless; but, Othello chooses Michael Cassio, a staff member. Iago redefines the phrase "don't get mad, get even." Othello is ruined by him. The wrong appointment was Othello's first blunder; the bigger blunder was keeping Iago around and then failing to manage him correctly. Consider your appointments carefully, as well as what you will do with those you ignore.
If you're having trouble with succession and the use of advice, King Lear is the play for you. Near the close of the play, Lear devises a ridiculous game to select which of his three daughters, Cordelia, Goneril, and Regan, will inherit what in his empire. Kent, his trusted adviser, encourages him to calm down, and he is sacked as a result. Lear persists, disinheriting the deserving Cordelia and anointing the deceitful Goneril and Regan as co-leaders in a hopeless co-leadership that ultimately costs Lear everything. Co-leaders are ineffective. Don't play games with your employees; instead, listen to their advice—why that's you employed them in the first place.
If making a decision is a difficulty for you, Hamlet is the ultimate: "To be or not to be." To be honest, Hamlet isn't dealt a particularly favorable hand. Even though Hamlet was the heir, his father, King of Denmark, dies, and by the time Hamlet returns from Germany, his uncle, Claudius, has married his mother, Gertrude, and installed himself as King. Hamlet is then visited by the spirit of his father, who informs him that Claudius murdered him and that he should seek vengeance. As Hamlet dithers his way to action towards the play's conclusion, catastrophe after tragedy ensues. What are Whitney and Packer's thoughts on Hamlet? It's analysis paralysis caused in part by "conflict in what we call his 'external choice models,'" according to business school instructors.
The meandering of Hamlet and the results of his dithering remind me of a business school lecturer I had in the 1960s. "When faced with a difficulty, the best thing to do is make a good decision; second best is to make a bad one; and worse is to make no decision," I paraphrase. Staff and others require a response; they are not entitled to the exact response they desire, but they are entitled to one."
High technology, particularly e-business, which is the focus of this edition of the Ivey Business Journal, seems a world away from literature. However, sophisticated technology is only one more item that executives must deal with. Literature can teach executives a lot about management if they read it carefully. Read How to Read and Why and Power Plays to see what you're missing out on. Read, relax, learn, grow, and become a better person.