Since its hardcover publication in 1997, If Aristotle Ran General Motors has been one of the year's most talked about books, not only in the United States but around the world, where it has been translated into many languages. Author Tom Morris has emerged as one of America's most popular motivational speakers, bringing his inspirational message of ancient wisdom in modern business to thousands of employees at major companies like AT&T and Merrill Lynch. In 1998 Morris will give more than 100 keynote speeches at corporate seminars to further establish If Aristotle Ran General Motors as a must-read for anyone doing business today.
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About the Author
Tom Morris was a philosophy professor at Notre Dame for fifteen years. He is the author of True Success: A New Philosophy of Excellence and chairman of the Morris Institute for Human Values in Wilmington, North Carolina, where he makes his home.
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If Aristotle Ran General Motors
The New Soul of Business
By Tom Morris
Henry Holt and CompanyCopyright © 1997 Tom Morris
All rights reserved.
The Intellectual Dimension at Work
The first universal dimension of human experience is the intellectual dimension, that aspect of our nature which aims at truth.
Every human being has a mind. Each of us has an intellectual dimension to his experience. We need ideas as much as we need food, air, or water. Ideas nourish the mind as the latter provide for the body. In light of this, it's clear that we need good ideas as much as we need good food, good air, and good water. And, finally, what we need is truth.
The soul is unwillingly deprived of truth.
Truth is just that mapping of reality that corresponds to the way things are. Put another way, it is the relationship of accuracy that holds between a good map and the territory it represents. Aristotle wrote about truth, in contrast to falsehood, in this way: "To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is so, is false; while to say of what is so that it is so, and of what is not so that it is not so, is true." Perhaps this is enough to make you glad that you're reading me rather than Aristotle. Truth is our lifeline. Truth is our guide. The truth about truth is simple.
No one can navigate well through life without an accurate map by which to steer. Knowledge is the possession of such a map, and truth is what that map gives us, linking us to reality. The absolutely vital importance of knowledge in any business is beginning to be widely recognized. For discerning the needs of clients, monitoring the moves of competitors, benefiting from the experience of associates, and serving others well, it's hard to see how there could be anything ultimately more important than truth.
But it may be that the simple importance of truth is still far from widely enough appreciated. It's often been said that people nowadays must view truth as precious, they use it so sparingly. Even this little witticism contains some insight.
As hypocrisy is said to be the highest compliment to virtue, the art of lying is the strongest acknowledgment of the force of truth.
— WILLIAM HAZLITT
People who tell the truth, however difficult that may be, obviously have a high regard for its importance. But even people who lie to you indicate in a backward sort of way their partial, and deeply flawed, recognition of at least some of the power of truth: They think of it as too powerful to be entrusted to you.
Is truth both important and powerful in our corporate endeavors? And, if so, then how should we treat the truth? How, correspondingly, should we treat each other with regard to the truth? These are some of the questions we'll address both in this chapter and in the next one.
Those who know the truth are not equal to those who love it, and they who love it are not equal to those who delight in it.
Truth and Respect
We all have minds that must be respected and used. The first implication of this is that mindless work cannot be satisfying. No human being is a machine, and yet that's exactly what much of the economic theory and management practice of the last hundred years has tended to assume.
Don Petersen, past president of Ford Motor Company, tells an interesting story. Once when he was visiting a stamping plant in Buffalo, New York, a huge bear of a man came up to him and said, "You know, I want to tell you one thing. I used to hate coming to work here. But lately I've been asked what I think, and that makes me feel like I'm somebody. I never thought the company saw me as a human being. Now I like coming to work."
One of the most ennobling gestures any of us can make toward another human being is to ask her, sincerely, what she thinks about what we are doing together. What is her take on the truth? When we ask, wanting to hear, we treat the other person with a fundamental respect, and this behavior is then much more likely to be mirrored back to us.
We should cultivate an environment in which people are not afraid to tell us the truth. We need the truth if we are to steer safely through the difficulties we may face as we move into the future, and we're unlikely to get enough of it unless others are open to sharing it with us. Too many frontline workers and managers are reluctant to pass on a hard truth to the person they report to, because they are working in a corporate culture where it's not clear what the value of truth is.
I search after truth, by which man never yet was harmed.
— MARCUS AURELIUS
In a recent book in which he profiled three of the top corporate CEOs recognized as masters at company renovation — Jack Welch (General Electric), the late Mike Walsh (Union Pacific Railroad), and Percy Barnevik (Asea Brown Boveri), Tom Peters points to eleven traits that seem responsible for their success. One of these eleven qualities, he says, is that these individuals appear to have "a visceral affinity for truth." The capacity to handle the truth, the ability to get at it, and the skill to use it well brings with its exercise great power. We aren't likely to be expert at exercising that capacity unless we place a certain value on the people around us. And this is an important issue in renewing corporate spirit.
A few years ago I met Tom Chappell, founder of Tom's of Maine, a highly regarded personal care products company. In the course of a morning together sitting and talking on the front porch of a beautiful house in Vermont, I heard one of the most interesting leadership stories in contemporary American business.
Tom had established his company on strong moral principles, but as the business grew and more people were hired for their technical expertise in managing that growth, Tom began to feel that the company was drifting away from its founding vision. To regain his grip on those values that ought to govern business lives, he decided to take a sabbatical of sorts and go for part of each week to the Harvard Divinity School, where he enrolled as a student. Now, notice clearly, we're talking about the Harvard Divinity School, not the Harvard Business School. The company's board thought Tom had lost his mind. They didn't understand that he was just trying to find his soul.
One of the most important discoveries he made in his studies was the writings of Martin Buber, an influential Jewish theologian who lived from 1878 until 1965. In his book I and Thou, Buber explains that there are basically two fundamental relationships that can exist between you and another individual entity in this world. First, there is the I–It relation. This is a way of relating to something as a thing, or object, whose only value is extrinsic, or instrumental. When you stand in the I–It relation to something, you value it only insofar as it serves your purposes. This is the relationship you have toward a cup whose only value consists in its ability to hold the water you're drinking and to convey that drink in an efficient way into your mouth. This is the relationship you have with a copy machine whose only value is to duplicate documents, or to a computer that is no more than what it does, or rather, allows you to do.
The second basic relationship, Buber calls the I–Thou relation. This is the fundamental stance that one human being ought always to take toward another person, a relationship of respect in which the other individual is viewed as having intrinsic value, value in and of himself or herself, regardless of whether that individual can produce any further value for you.
If you have some respect for people as they are, you can be more effective in helping them to become better than they are.
— JOHN GARDNER
In the tradition of the great German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), Buber holds that one human being should never treat another person only as a means to some extrinsic end but primarily and always as an end in himself. We should never use other people precisely in the way that we use objects. This of course doesn't mean that you can't ask another person to bring you a document, make a phone call, or run some numbers for you on a new account. What it means is that you should never view other people as having value only for what they can do for you.
The I–Thou stance is one of respect and dignity. That's why we are using the somewhat archaic word "Thou." It's commonly used in English to translate one of two German pronouns for what's called grammatically the second person. The English "you" is used to translate the more familiar of the two terms, which connotes a casual sort of friendliness, whereas the other German term, which conveys a more formal dignity or respect, is rendered by "Thou."
When Tom Chappell came to understand this distinction, he realized that his company had drifted into an I — It relationship with its customers, viewing them as if their only value was the money they could provide. And if that's how we view our customers, he concluded, why should they want to give us their money? Tom used the work of Buber, as well as that of other philosophers and theologians, to turn things around and change people's attitudes within the company so that they could become the exemplary organization they are now known to be. The whole story is told in an exciting and masterful way in Tom's recent book The Soul of a Business.
Veracity is the heart of morality.
— T. H. HUXLEY
For our purposes at present, the powerful point is this. When we do not create an environment in which truth is respected, we do not have a working environment in which people are being respected. The only way to enter a truly I–Thou relationship with those around us is to seek from them, and give to them, the truth about what we are doing together. This is the only way to treat coworkers. And this is the way to treat both suppliers and vendors on one side, and all our customers or potential customers on the other.
To the extent that you are truthful with another person, you show that individual respect. When you sincerely ask the other person what she thinks, you show respect as well. Any time you genuinely seek a customer's input, and really listen, you treat that customer as a Thou. This is at the heart of a morally sound relationship. And, done in the right spirit, it is always appreciated. Given and received properly, a concern with sharing truth inevitably helps to generate a spirit of cooperation crucial to good working relations over the long run.
Knowledge and the Need for Truth
Truth is the foundation for trust, and nothing is more important for any business endeavor than trust. Trust is an absolute necessity for truly effective interpersonal activity.
If people who have to work together in an enterprise trust one another because they are all operating according to a common set of ethical norms, doing business costs less.
— FRANCIS FUKUYAMA
It's said often that we are moving quickly into an information economy. We need to think about the relevance of this to how we treat each other in the course of doing our work. Do we provide the people who work around us with all the information they might benefit from having? Or do we withhold information until we perceive an absolute need for its dissemination?
We are rightly concerned these days about greater efficiency in our businesses. We've increasingly come to understand how important this is to sustainable competitiveness. We need to ferret out and eliminate sources of waste and inefficiency wherever they exist. But here we come to something almost never discussed when efficiency is analyzed. There is probably no greater source of wasted time and energy in modern corporate life than the distraction that arises when truth is not readily available in the workplace and speculation, gossip, and rumor rush in to fill the void.
Without all the facts relevant to their jobs, people feel lost and sense a lack of control over their lives and destinies. Nature does abhor this kind of vacuum. Human beings can't stand to feel helpless, so to compensate, they latch on to the first notion around that looks like relevant fact. And then the speculation or gossip spreads like fire, consuming the hearts and minds of the people it touches.
Nothing is swifter than rumor.
Human beings can't do without truth. If they don't have the genuine article, they'll fall for anything that passes for it. And this can create serious problems for any company.
As the Spanish-born Roman poet Martial wrote in the first century, "Conceal a flaw and the world will imagine the worst." Whenever you confront a problem, you confront the need for truth. The people who work with you can't be their best if they are busy imagining the worst concerning the state of the company, what you think of their performance, or what the future might hold. Truth, even hard truth, if passed on with as much understanding, kindness, and sensitivity as possible, is always the foundation for solving any problem in a sustainable way.
Such is the irresistible nature of truth that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing.
— THOMAS PAINE
A neighbor of mine worked at General Electric for many years, reporting directly to Jack Welch. It was his job to go in to GE businesses that were underperforming and either turn them around or shut them down. He tells me that the most effective policy was to announce to everyone right away why he was there, what the whole situation was, and what needed to be done if they were to survive as a business. Making available the truth, however difficult, always bolstered morale and gave the people involved their best shot at success. When his counterparts in other companies avoided doing this, he inevitably saw a mess of speculation, gossip, and despair, with sinking morale, decreasing productivity, and inevitable failure as the result.
In his book The Corporate Coach, James B. Miller tells the story of his remarkable company Miller Business Systems and Business Interiors, often cited as having one of the highest customer-retention rates among similar companies in the country. Early on in the book, he advises what to do when a problem will affect a customer. He says, "Go to the customer with the truth." Simple. And effective. He goes on to warn against any other strategy and says straight out, "Nothing but the truth will do" (his emphasis).
Soon after writing these words, I had a small personal experience that illustrates this point. I took my family out for lunch at one of their favorite restaurants. After placing our order, we seemed to have an unusually long time to chat and admire the decor. Usually prompt service complements the good food in this establishment, and as the minutes dragged on I began to wonder whether the young man who took our order had been a mischievous college kid pulling a prank with his best waiter impersonation. And we sat. Finally, as he dashed by, I asked this gentleman in the nicest of ways when I might expect to receive my soup. He looked astonished, as if we were speaking for the first time, said "Just a minute," and disappeared again. Was he going to talk to a fraternity brother in the back of the restaurant pretending to be a chef? In a moment the manager appeared, apologizing that our order had somehow been lost in the kitchen, and telling us that the meal would be on the house.
That one act of telling us the truth and taking responsibility for the consequences transformed us from casual sometime visitors into very loyal customers. The manager didn't have to come out. I had not made a fuss. Even if I had complained and asked to see him, he could have tried to excuse the delay with a flustered allegation of busyness and brushed us off. He didn't. He told the truth. And, of course, it isn't irrelevant that he also paid for the meal. But even without that additional kind gesture, the Rockola Café would have won us over in a new way. The manager went beyond the call of duty to repair a possibly damaged relationship, told the truth, and thereby brought it about that the relationship would grow to a new level.
In business, as in every other facet of life, relationships rule the world. A relationship built on falsehood is like a house built on sand; one built on truth is like a fortress anchored in rock. In his important recent book Relationship Marketing, Regis McKenna has pointed out that the corporate fads of the eighties are finally being superseded by a new wisdom. He believes that, instead of continuing to see companies lurching from one purported quick fix to another to improve their business position, we'll now begin to witness something very different. Henceforth, he says, "Companies will seek to achieve a superior position by building solid relationships with their customers: relationships based on trust, responsiveness, and quality." As we've seen, it's the first item in this list, trust, which is impossible over the long term without the deeper foundation of truth.
Excerpted from If Aristotle Ran General Motors by Tom Morris. Copyright © 1997 Tom Morris. Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Preface: Reinventing Corporate Spirit,
Introduction: Business Excellence and the Human Quest,
PART I: TRUTH,
1. The Intellectual Dimension at Work,
2. Truth and Lies,
3. The Truth About Excellence: A Powerful Idea,
PART II: BEAUTY,
4. The Aesthetic Dimension at Work,
5. Creativity and the Meaning of Life,
6. The Beauty of Business,
PART III: GOODNESS,
7. The Moral Dimension at Work,
8. The Challenge of Ethical Action,
9. Wisdom, Virtue, and Corporate Strength,
PART IV: UNITY,
10. The Spiritual Dimension at Work,
11. Uniqueness and Union,
12. Usefulness and Understanding,
Epilogue: Creating Corporate Excellence,
On Friday, October 3, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Tom Morris, author of If Aristotle Ran General Motors.
Moderator: Welcome to the barnesandnoble.com Live Events Auditorium! Tom Morris is joining us live to discuss his new book, If Aristotle Ran General Motors. Mr. Morris is participating from home this evening, by telephone. Welcome, Mr. Morris! We're glad you could join us. How are you this evening?
Tom Morris: I'm doing very well, thanks.
Erin Baker from Manchester, VT: How will your template for returning the human soul to business work in the world of telecommuting? What's your take on the nature of new media?
Tom Morris: Good. Well, some of the issues of workplace beauty need to be taken care of by the telecommuter herself Give yourself a beautiful place to work. Too many of us don't take seriously our need for a nice space when we work out of the home. Some of the other issues I discuss, like the issues of truth, goodness, and unity, are also very important for the telecommuter, who has to think about how her expressionless words come across to someone reading them on a monitor.
Joy B. from NYC: Hi, Tom. I have tell you that I like going to work and leaving all issues at home -- I like to work like a machine for eight hours and then escape to the real human world of friends and family. Is there something wrong with this?
Tom Morris: Even a human machine needs the lubricant of kindness and goodwill. If we face daily resistance and hostility, we can't be our best, even if we do efficient, machinelike work. I bet you are much more than a mere robotic worker! Sounds like you just like efficiency and a special emotional space within which you do your work. I'm concerned with helping people make that space as good as it can be.
Matt from the office at night: Do you consider your book a self-help book? What's your opinion of Stephen Covey?
Tom Morris: I consider it to be a personal-growth book, something beyond self-help but concerned with the self in relation to others. I believe Stephen Covey began opening up the issues of personal values and relationships to application in the workplace.
Gerald McPhee from downsized America: How would you rate the impact of feather-rufflers like Michael Moore?
Tom Morris: I think Michael has caused a lot of people to think more deeply of the human impact of the decisions that are supposed to be purely business decisions. In a sense, Gerald, I think Michael helps us see that no decision is ever just a purely business decision. I believe Michael is a little crabby but lots of fun.
Brian from Hoboken: In the late 1970s, how much did the Japanese affect the U.S. auto industry? Would the Big Three have gotten their act together without this competition?
Tom Morris: I think the Japanese played an important role both in scaring the U.S. auto industry out of some of their inertia and in helping us to see new truths about people working together. They weren't the saviors of world business, as often advertised, but they did help us to new insights.
Steven Hall from IL: What has been your own experience in business? What prompted you to write this book?
Tom Morris: I grew up in a business family, engaged in many kinds of business activities. I started college as a business major wanting to enter corporate life, but I was sidetracked into the Big Questions that bit into me and wouldn't let go. Now, by being asked to be the philosopher for every business imaginable, I've been getting a crash course in every industry in America. It seems to me that American business is full of intelligent people.
Lynton from the book business: So, having just been published, what's your take on the environment of the publishing business? What was your experience like?
Tom Morris: It's nice to be a noncelebrity author whose book has actually been getting some attention! I think the book business, like every other business, needs to understand human nature more deeply and make use of it. It's a very interesting and very crazy business. I'm treated very well by Henry Holt, my new publisher.
Ned S. from Leroy Street: Was NAFTA a necessary step towards economic stability in the U.S. for the '90s? I don't fully understand.
Tom Morris: The jury is still out on NAFTA. We're groping our way forward concerning how to handle many issues of global business. Moving toward boundaryless business dealings is going to be even more complex than taking on new technologies. We're going to hit plenty of speed bumps along the way, but there's really no turning back.
Sinbad from Vermont: I read an article recently that praised the business tactics and company policies of Tom's, up here in Maine. Does your book touch upon this company?
Tom Morris: Yes, it does. I met Tom Cheppell, founder of Tom's of Maine, about six years ago and heard firsthand all they were doing to make their business a genuinely humane enterprise. In the new book, I profile innovative decisions Tom has made, in a section on truth and in a section on beauty.
Brian Marker from Hoboken, NJ: Do you think it's possible for sympathy in the office to become a problem? Shouldn't there be a boundary between personal life and what you bring to the office?
Tom Morris: You can certainly be too soft-hearted, just like you can be too hard-hearted. In some circumstances, the best thing is tough love. But overly compartmentalizing our lives can be dangerous -- we may wear different hats at home and at work, but we wear them on the same head.
Alex Davies from Queens, NY: What was your reaction to the UPS labor strike? I personally feel that the management of that company handled it very poorly. Do you agree with me that the next challenge to big business will not be economic hardship, but rather worker unhappiness? Thank you.
Tom Morris: I do agree, Alex. I think if Aristotle ran UPS and if Plato ran the union, such a confrontation would not have developed in the first place. They would have made sure that everyone saw the big picture and that everyone shared in the positive consequences of good business strategy and good work. I think you're right that worker happiness and satisfaction will be the next big issue business will have to face.
Steve from Chicago: Silicon Valley often boasts a "new" way of doing business. What do you think of the technology revolution and their business practices?
Tom Morris: I think the computer guys and women have shown us how dedication, craziness, intellect, and fun can create an exciting, explosive mix. Not every company can work like a Silicon Valley start-up, but we can all learn a few lessons from these wild organizations about turning people loose to be the best they can be in all their eccentricity and about all the genius they sometimes cultivate.
Mike Applegate from Oak Park: What's your opinion on these huge consulting firms that recruit college kids and pay them big money but make them work long, tedious hours? I know some, and they're all burned out!
Tom Morris: It's too bad that we have companies in every industry who put young recruits through the equivalent of fraternity hazing, dumping too much work too fast on people who don't have the seasoned skills to handle it. Some of the big consulting companies can be great places for a smart young person to experience a steep learning curve, and that can be great when they are not pushed too much.
Tim from school: I see that you worked as a professor. Did you find that the academic environment was as ruthless as the corporate world? Could it, too, stand to improve?
Tom Morris: Yes! The fiercest battles are often fought over the smallest stakes. Unfortunately, the university world is not a bastion of enlightenment.
Marina from Naples, FL: Hi, Mr. Morris! Do you think the recent boom of the market and the revival of '80s indulgence will prevent a return to the basic human principles outlined in your book?
Tom Morris: I hope that it may have the opposite result. Some people tell me that with the economy doing so well and with the economy flowing, they feel like they have the opportunity to become a bit more reflective and to turn their attention to issues often neglected in times of economic difficulty, when all the pressure is on getting the profit up. I hope we all will begin to think more deeply of the human issues of work, so when the inevitable times of difficulty return, we will be in a firmer footing to weather those storms well. I think managers can do humane business while driving their BMWs.
Frank from New York: Your approach seems rather utopian, in that it assumes all participants in the workplace are open to the ideas of integrity and openness you endorse. There is a lot of tension and turf-war disputes. How does your book reconcile this?
Tom Morris: Good question, Frank. I try to avoid being utopian in any general sense. I do think each of us has more scope for ethical decision-making than we are aware of. In Part Three of the book, where I explore whet ethics really is, I go into this very question, as to whether the ethical person is stronger or more vulnerable because of his moral stance. We can be both good and shrewd. Emerson has a great essay about this, about Napoleon, but really about the self-defeating nature of unethically won success. Frank, I admit that there have been times when I have been a morally idealistic, naive idiot. And that's not a winning combination, but goodness does not imply naïveté; done right, it brings strength.
Anne McCullough from Manhattan: What's your advice for approaching an unapproachable boss to ask for a raise?
Tom Morris: OK. Is this like when the irresistible force meets the unmovable object? If the object is unmovable, the force better be irresistible.... The best way is to pretend you are a lawyer and build your case in advance. Put it in writing and make an appointment; be honest about your trepidation but be convincing in your claim that you're valuable to the business. Ultimately, you won't be happy in a place where you're not appreciated
Kerry Nealon from Washington: There's been a lot of talk recently about the workplace being an escape from the more difficult responsibilities at home. Do you see this being a threat to the family?
Tom Morris: In some ways, Kerry, the workplace is the new extended family, the new neighborhood. And I think you're right, that for some people, the pressures of the workplace are simpler than the issues of private life. But work becoming a better place shouldn't be a threat to the family, but at it's best could even help otherwise confused people get back in touch with some of their most basic values. You've put your finger on an interesting modern paradox.
Beverley from the lower Hudson region: You must have a tireless supply of great thinkers and philosophizers to consult. Who, besides Aristotle, provides the most business-savvy insights?
Tom Morris: Yes, Beverley, I have thousands of years' worth of these great thinkers to draw on. I've been particularly impressed with Seneca, Confucius, Lao-tzu, Baltasar Gracián y Morales, and Marcus Aurelius. Those would be great for a starter. And then, of course, there are those many books by Tom Morris! Happy philosophizing!
Moderator: Thanks for joining us tonight, Tom Morris! And thanks to all whoparticipated. Mr. Morris, any final remarks before we go?
Tom Morris: If anyone wants to follow through on these issues, you can contact me through firstname.lastname@example.org. I enjoyed being with you all.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a cute sweet little book. While I think it veers off into the abstract more than is helpful- more concrete examples would have been better illuminating, still a worth a gander to make sure one is on the right track. The material strikes a nice balance between Eastern values and Western thinking.The external world will never move us toward nirvana. It might, on the contrary, drive us crazy. And we can't live happily with our nerves all ajangle. We need some calm. We need inner peace. We need some measure of personal tranquility or we'll never be able to deal well with all that the future may throw at us.Unappreciated people feel little or no sense of loyalty or camaraderie toward those who are ignoring them, and very little responsibility.
It's interesting but not as much of a "how-to" as I had hoped. Morris explores four elements in the context of good business as itemized by Aristotle and others: Intellectual (truth), aesthetic (beauty), moral (goodness), and spiritual (unity).
Morris attempts to bridge an interesting divide. While the recent events in major companies across the country highlight more than ever the need for a renewed interest in the study of ethical behavior, the bridge presented here, while unique, accomplishes the goal in a convincing fashion. The wisdom of the ancients (and some not so ancients) applied to modern business problems is a novel approach. Business, and just about any other form of modern management, typically has a myopic focus. The only focus is earning a profit. When financial security is the primary focus, every moral and ethical obligation soon becomes flawed to achieve that end. To circumvent this attraction to flawed logic, another focus must be determined. If an entity, be it an individual or a transnational corporation, shifts its focus from earning a profit, to reaching for the ancient principles found in philosophy ¿ truth, beauty, goodness, and unity ¿ the actions preformed by that entity will still lead to a profit (at least in most cases) but will do so without violating moral obligations.This book, in fact, illustrates the need for a liberal arts education. It is not enough for students to learn how to balance a ledger, or to create a marketing campaign. These students must be taught to approach each problem they encounter not through the myopic lens of simple profit and self-promotion, but through the multi-faceted, interdisciplinary lens of a liberal arts education. Looking at an issue from a collection of different angles will illuminate the one best course of action.