Leadership Lessons from the Ancient World / Edition 1

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In ancient times, no less than today, the nature of good leadership was the subject of intense debate. And in addressing the critical issue of how to develop leaders capable of handling the tough challenges of the future, this book starts from the premise that you can do no better than consider how the very same challenges were met by the greatest leaders of the past.

Leadership – Lessons from the Ancient World explores eighteen key themes, from risk-taking to empowerment, using well-known historical leaders to highlight the timeless principles underlying each one. Combining a wealth of management experience with a fascination with what defines and creates effective leadership, the authors – a classical historian, a chartered manager and a trainer in a multinational company – examine the actions of each leader in the context of their own time, connect their stories to current theory and provide an up-to-date case study to help readers apply the principles to their own practice. A final chapter sums up the lessons of the book, and suggests the direction that leadership development should take in order to cope with the challenges of globalization and technological advance.

If you want to know how the courage of Ramesses II saved Egypt, or how Alexander the Great built the world’s first multi-ethnic kingdom, it’s all here. From the earliest civilisations of the Middle East and China to the Fall of Rome, enjoy eighteen critical lessons on leadership – played out in the ancient world, and still relevant to business today.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470027097
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 8/25/2006
  • Series: J-B Foreign Imprint Series - EMEA Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.41 (w) x 7.89 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Arthur Cotterell, former Principal of Kingston College in London, has spent many years combining senior educational management with historical research. He is the respected author of more than thirty books, and is now writing on the Chinese empire, from the history of which he considers one can learn as much about leadership as from Ashridge or Harvard.

Roger Lowe, Vice Principal for Planning and Resources at Kingston College, is a chartered manager with experience of management training in both the public and private sectors. For Roger, the lessons of ancient leadership in this volume are particularly relevant at a time of globalization and technological advance.

Ian Shaw is a training and development manager with Nestlé Purina Petcare. Having worked in a variety of large and small companies, his current work is strongly focussed on leadership development. It is his firm belief that leadership development will play a key role in sustaining commercial success over the next decade.

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Table of Contents



1. Courage: the daring of Ramesses II at Kadesh.

2. Risk taking: Thutmose III’s handling of his forces.

3. The ability to motivate: the military revolution of Wuling.

4. Creating a compelling vision: the commoner emperor Liu Bang.

5. Developing people: the Han emperor Wu Di’s approach.

6. Focusing on results: the strategy of Themistocles.

7. Integrity: the political supremacy of Pericles.

8. Taking decisive action: the critical decisions of Epaminondas.

9. Influencing people: Alexander’s multi-ethnic kingdom.

10. Leaving a legacy: the abdication of Candragupta.

11. Representing the business: Hannibal’s invasion of Italy.

12. Creativity: the resourcefulness of Zhu Geliang.

13. Learning: Li Shimin and Wei Zheng.

14. Change: Sulla’s constitutional reforms.

15. Networking: Cicero’s efforts to find allies.

16. Dealing with conflict: the policies of Vespasian.

17. Empowerment: Diocletian’s imperial reforms.

18. Recognising achievement: the triumph of Belisarius.

19. Leadership gambles: shifting the odds in your favour.

Suggestions for further reading.


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