Jan 042006

Book Short: Fables and Morals

Book Short:  Fables and Morals

Courtesy of my colleague Stephanie Miller, I had a quick holiday read of Aesop & The CEO: Powerful Business Lessons from Aesop and America’s Best Leaders, by David Noonan, which I enjoyed.  The book was similar in some ways to Squirrel, Inc., which I recently posted about, in that it makes its points by allegory and example (and not that it’s relevant, but that it relies on animals to make its points).

Noonan takes a couple dozen of Aesop’s ancient Greek fables and groups them in to categories like Rewards & Incentives, Management & Leadership, Strategy, HR, Marketing, and Negotiations & Alliances – and for each one, he gives modern-day management examples of the lessons.

For example, in the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, the lesson clearly is to strike while the iron is hot, or that a good plan executed today is better than a perfect one that’s too late.  Noonan gives the example of Patton’s capture of Messina, Sicily during World War II.

And in The Hare & The Tortoise, where of course the moral is that slow & steady wins the race, Noonan gives the example of how New York Knicks coach Rick Pitino inspired Mark Jackson, who was chosen 18th in the NBA draft, to win the rookie of the year award in 1987 by helping him gain confidence by building on his strengths.

All in, a good read, even with that painful reminder that the Knicks used to have a decent basketball team.

  • Anonymous

    One day a fox was travelling through the forest, when she entered into a clearing and saw a rabbit busily working a typewriter. Naturally, this unusual phenomenon intrigued the fox. So she approached the rabbit and instead of immediately eating the her, asked what was going on.
    “I’m typing my thesis,” said the rabbit.
    “What is the topic of your thesis,” asked the fox.
    “It’s called Why Rabbits Eat Foxes.”
    “That’s crazy,” said the fox, “everyone knows that foxes eat rabbits, not the other way around.”
    “Why don’t we step into my den and discuss this,” the rabbit said, and the fox agreed. Time passed. Soon the rabbit emerged from the den, but the fox did not.
    The following day, a wolf came into the same clearing. Same story, except this time the thesis title was Why Rabbits Eat Wolves. Same outcome: the rabbit came out of the den but the wolf did not. The day after, there was a similar occurance with a weasel.
    All this time an owl had been watching all this, she wondered why all the other animals had not come out, and said to herself “I must see what is going on here.” So the owl crept up very quietly to the entrance of the rabbit’s hole and peered in. After her eyes became accustomed to the darkness, she saw in one corner a neat pile of fox bones. Nearby, another pile of wolf bones. And in the middle of the den was an enormous, mean-looking Lion, who was just finishing a nice weasel dinner.
    Moral: It is not the thesis topic that matters; it is choosing the right advisor

  • Anonymous

    One day a fox was travelling through the forest, when she entered into a clearing and saw a rabbit busily working a typewriter. Naturally, this unusual phenomenon intrigued the fox. So she approached the rabbit and instead of immediately eating the her, asked what was going on.
    “I’m typing my thesis,” said the rabbit.
    “What is the topic of your thesis,” asked the fox.
    “It’s called Why Rabbits Eat Foxes.”
    “That’s crazy,” said the fox, “everyone knows that foxes eat rabbits, not the other way around.”
    “Why don’t we step into my den and discuss this,” the rabbit said, and the fox agreed. Time passed. Soon the rabbit emerged from the den, but the fox did not.
    The following day, a wolf came into the same clearing. Same story, except this time the thesis title was Why Rabbits Eat Wolves. Same outcome: the rabbit came out of the den but the wolf did not. The day after, there was a similar occurance with a weasel.
    All this time an owl had been watching all this, she wondered why all the other animals had not come out, and said to herself “I must see what is going on here.” So the owl crept up very quietly to the entrance of the rabbit’s hole and peered in. After her eyes became accustomed to the darkness, she saw in one corner a neat pile of fox bones. Nearby, another pile of wolf bones. And in the middle of the den was an enormous, mean-looking Lion, who was just finishing a nice weasel dinner.
    Moral: It is not the thesis topic that matters; it is choosing the right advisor

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