Leadership through Literature


Business school libraries and airport bookstores are filled with books on how to be a good leader. But of course, to be a good leader is an ancient question that no single “how-to” book can ever answer. In this workshop, I will show how questions of leadership have appeared throughout the history of literature, which provides an invaluable guide for understanding the principles—and the procedures—of how to lead effectively. How can leader inspire their workers?

What role do values and ethics play in creating the great leader? What mistakes should leaders avoid? How can their dreams become the ones of their workforce? By looking at “case studies” for leadership in a range of texts, from Homer and Shakespeare to Melville and Toni Morrison, I will distill the wisdom of leadership in literary history to a practical set of tools.