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Lessons in Leadership from the Classics: East Meets West offers participants a rare opportunity to examine leadership lessons from the past in the context of the present. Together we delve into four texts from distinctive cultural and historic traditions and, by placing them in dialogue with one another, deepen our understanding of them as we connect their principles to today’s world.
Each morning, we examine leadership from the points of view of Plutarch (The Life of Alexander the Great), Confucius (Analects), Sun Tzu (The Art of War), and Machiavelli (The Prince). These sessions are “great books” discussions structured in the traditional St. John’s seminar method: we read and discuss the works closely, with the intention of learning from—rather than about—our authors.
To that end, we consider the range of practical leadership tactics and techniques as applied by the four authors, surveying military and political strategies for building consensus, motivating allies, combating opposition, bolstering tradition, and innovating in the face of changing circumstances.
During our afternoon sessions, we apply lessons in leadership to real-world situations through a variety of exercises and activities, utilizing video clips, contemporary case studies, writing exercises, brief debates, and the application of psychometric tools. Throughout, we consider the historical and critical contexts that shaped the life and thought of our four authors.
Join us for an intensive examination of Western and Eastern classical traditions, one that illuminates the enduring principles of leadership and the ways in which they relate to our own moment in time.
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