Title What Philosophy Can Teach You about Being a Better Leader
Author Alison Reynolds, Dominic Houlder, Jules Goddard & David Lewis
ISBN 9780749493165
List price GBP 14.99
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Paperback
No of pages 232
Book size 159 x 235 mm
Publishing year 2020
Original publisher Kogan Page Limited
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
Status New Arrival
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Traditional management practices, rooted in economics and psychology, have led to a focus on numbers and productivity rather than the people who make those numbers happen. This has resulted in trust in leaders and organizations being at an all-time low. What Philosophy Can Teach You About Being a Better Leader expertly counters this thinking and argues that those leaders who will win in the uncertain and complex world of work, are the ones focusing on their workforce and valuing its members as people, rather than just tools within the process.

What Philosophy Can Teach You About Being a Better Leader considers the main questions plaguing today’s leaders through the eyes of four of the greatest philosophers. With the help of Aristotle, Socrates, Kant and Nietzsche, as well as a whole host of other brilliant minds, they smash widely held workplace falsehoods and unveil a new model for empowerment, fulfilment and harmony at work.

What Philosophy Can Teach You About Being a Better Leader is a fascinating account of how we can reconnect company, people and shareholder interests. It answers perennial leadership concerns like questions of people engagement, key performance indicators or even generational differences at work through the lens of philosophy, with its focus squarely on how to live and help others live fulfilling lives at work.


Key Features:

  • Explores how four great philosophers - Aristotle, Socrates, Kant and Nietzsche - would approach questions of empowerment, engagement, leadership, values and performance
  • Explains why modern organizational practices miss what matters the most - their people
  • Reveals how leaders and their people can progress towards being more fully flourishing persons in the workplace by smashing through seven common workplace fictions


About the authors




Introduction: The dehumanized workplace • Why philosophy matters • How we lost our humanity at work • Alienation is the curse of both leaders and led • How this book will work • Note

Chapter 1: Who can reconnect us with our dreams? • Your dream job and funeral eulogy • Psychologists’ advice about the good life • What’s wrong with feeling good? • Doing what’s good for you • Summary • Questions • Notes

Chapter 2: Reason and passion in the humanized workplace • Who was Aristotle? • Aristotle’s middle way • A workplace for slaves? • A workplace for animals? • Nietzsche takes us beyond reason • The end of moral authority • Breaking away from the herd • Life as a work of art • The Nietzschean workplace • Summary • Questions • Notes

Chapter 3: Humanizing strategy • The rise of the strategist • Strategy and inhumanity • Is your strategy about capturing value from others – or creating it? • The Buddha’s strategy advice • A philosophy of connectedness in action • From goal to path • Summary • Questions • Notes

Chapter 4: Creativity and critical thinking • Learning from capital markets • Peter Lynch and asymmetric knowledge • Warren Buffett and market inefficiency • Comparisons and contrasts between Lynch and Buffett • Category mistakes in business • George Soros and human fallibility • Lessons of success from the capital markets • Popper’s logic of scientific discovery • A Popperian theory of corporate strategy, condensed into four maxims • The paradox of good intentions • An open mind • Conclusion • Questions • Notes

Chapter 5: A question of example and fairness • A world divided • Max Perutz and the Cavendish Laboratory • Leading in a spirit of fairness • Plutarch’s exemplum • Organizational behaviour and procedural fairness • Fairness in practice • A dangerous collusion • Questions • Notes

Chapter 6: The gift of authority • Introduction • Tell them we feel un-empowered! • Problem sorted? • What can philosophy tell us about how to use our authority to support empowered people? • The best of intentions • We get it upside down • Authority is a gift • A question of philosophy • Thomas Hobbes – we are born equal • Immanuel Kant – we are duty bound • The categorical imperative and leadership • The chief ethical officer (CEO) • Key ideas • Conclusion • Notes

Chapter 7: Meaning and communication • The great cascade • Why is telling so compelling? • The tyranny of the tangible and the fallacy of control • Mistaken resistance • How we got here – the rise of the omnipotent leader • What philosophy tells us • The stoic philosophy • Understanding how we come to understand • Understanding as a social process • The road to meaning • Commitment to act • Three lessons from David Hume • A new way – sense making not sense giving • Creating a space where anything is possible • Summary • Questions • Notes

Chapter 8: From engagement to encounter • The annual engagement survey • So why this approach? • The focus on engagement • Is your agenda worthy? • The trouble with ‘buy-in’ • Engagement is not the problem • What does philosophy tell us? • An alternative – encounter • How can we embrace encounter? • Implications for leadership • The real work • Changing our practices • Being present – a necessity for encounter • Summary • Questions • Notes

Chapter 9: Values and ethical pluralism • A plethora of values • What is the problem to which a value statement is the solution? • Making it personal • In defence of values statements • Choosing values as though from a menu • The source of moral complexity • Objective pluralism • Pluralism in practice • Moral dilemmas and the middle way • Addressing dilemmas • The method of reconciliation • Conclusions • Questions • Notes

Chapter 10: The freedom to do what you can • Be careful what you wish for • What can philosophers teach us about our freedom to act and our responsibility as leaders? • The incident of the cat and the wheelie bin • Even if organizations were prisons • Socrates – by force of spiritedness • No more sweeteners • The empowered organization • Summary • Questions • Notes



About the Authors:

Alison Reynolds is a business leader and consultant in strategy execution. She is part of the Faculty in Executive Education at Ashridge Business School.

Jules Goddard is a Fellow of the Centre for Management Development at London Business School, where he has taught competitive strategy and creative marketing for 30 years.

Dominic Houlder is an Adjunct Professor in Strategic and Entrepreneurial Management at London Business School. He is internationally recognised as a leading business strategist.

David Lewis is Programme Director for Executive Education at London Business School and a renowned strategy and leadership expert.

Target Audience:

This book explains how to be a great leader in the corporate world through the lens of philosophy.


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