Book Review: The Ten Golden Rules of Leadership

The Ten Golden Rules of Leadership: Classical Wisdom for Modern Leaders

By Michael A. Soupios and Panos Mourdoukoutas

129 pages

The big idea: The belief that business leaders could benefit from studying ancient philosophy is gaining more and more traction, with some experts suggesting that students of philosophy are better prepared for the more intangible requirements of leadership (vision, strategy, critical thinking) than those whose backgrounds are limited to business, marketing or accounting degrees. Now, Michael A. Soupios and Panos Mourdoukoutas, experts in political philosophy and economics respectively, have taken on the task of distilling key ancient writings by Plato, Aristotle and others into concise rules a great leader must follow. Their golden rules emphasize the importance of knowing your inner self before leading others, evaluating any information you receive carefully, embracing the value of honest criticism, setting a high standard for your personal conduct and more.

Read it: If you’re feeling short on vision for your company, are not satisfied with your recent decisions, or think that your employees are not sufficiently inspired by your current leadership style, this book might provide some food for thought. It’s also quite short.

Skip it: The book is at its most convincing when it uses real-life examples from the business world to illustrate the value of its leadership maxims. However, this happens very rarely. For the most part, the authors merely skim the surface of the texts they discuss, and deal in high-level statements (“Leaders must perform personality assessments of potential team members,” “Be skeptical of members who routinely endorse and praise your decisions”) that are unlikely to leave you surprised or challenged. You might be better off reading the original philosophers or taking a night class.  CEO


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