People Are Stupid But Harmless

It is very embarrassing to share, but this incident changed my understanding of how the world works.   When I was in high school, I was a member of the Disco Club.  I learned all the moves.  I wore elephant bell jeans: the cuffs slapped each other everywhere I walked, providing everyone a distant warningContinue reading “People Are Stupid But Harmless”

Kiss a Leper: Leadership and Self-Contrarianism

This post is part of my leadership lessons from history series. Leadership requires courage of conviction. Working up to that strength requires overcoming your personal fears. The Franciscans are a Catholic order that is impressive by many standards.  They somehow continually convince people (currently 14,000 friars) to give up every personal comfort.  They sponsor numerousContinue reading “Kiss a Leper: Leadership and Self-Contrarianism”

Great Leaders Reward Merit

Life as a nomad on the steppes of Central Asia must have been grim in the year 1200.   The climate is cold and dry.  You would spend everyday seeking grass for your animals to eat.  You hoped another tribe didn’t destroy your tribe and take your children as slaves. Your tribe was everything.  TheyContinue reading “Great Leaders Reward Merit”

Great Leaders Tell Great Stories

Medieval nobles were horrible, violent people.  They would beat peasants for fun and trample crops of poor people during their jousting matches.  They burned peasant homes for sport.  Why?  Because they could.  They were the warrior class and had the weapons.   In the early middle ages, a knight was someone who had money toContinue reading “Great Leaders Tell Great Stories”

Leadership and Alliances

During World War I, the British Navy killed an estimated 750,000 civilians—normal people—by starving them to death with a blockade.  That is just one estimate, but even 10% of that number is unimaginably heinous. The lesson of the day: Choose your allies carefully. In the early 1900s, Germany felt alone in the world.  They wantedContinue reading “Leadership and Alliances”