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Wisdom From The Ancients: Enduring Business Lessons From Alexander The Great, Julius Caesar, And The Illustrious Leaders Of Ancient Greece And Rome Hardcover – October 2, 2001


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

There's a reason venerable figures like Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Plato, and Julius Caesar remain familiar thousands of years after their heyday: many of their ideas and actions have, quite simply, proven to be timeless examples of managerial prowess. Wisdom from the Ancients, by classics professors Thomas J. Figueira, T. Corey Brennan, and Rachel Hall Sternberg, explores the writings and activities of these and others not as well-known from the days of the Greek and Roman empires to ferret out principles and concepts that are still relevant in today's business world. The nature of leadership, team building, consultation, decision making, compensation, and similar topics are examined through quotes, anecdotes, and even period artwork as the authors attempt to put everything into a context that readers without their academic backgrounds can understand and use. A section on networking, for instance--yes, even these individuals recognized its value--includes references to the likes of Pindar of Thebes (recalling the contributions of a mentor), historian Herodotus (who used the Olympics to widely disseminate his writing), and elegiac poet Theognis (extolling the virtues of eating and drinking with "noble gentlemen" from whom one can learn). Interesting and useful. --Howard Rothman

From Booklist

If you think "business philosophy" is an oxymoron, then settle into a comfortable seat and enlighten yourself with this book, which is a portable trove of information on business wisdom. From Aristotle's view of consulting to Cicero's comments that relate to profit motive, the compilers use quotes from the classical literature of the ancient Greeks and add contemporary explanations that assist in reinforcing the meanings. They often recount concepts that may have been tried and tested long ago. Written for the average reader, this book is not a dry historical tome that may be concise but nevertheless difficult to follow. To the contrary, the compilers take the reader on an enjoyable exploration of business theories and practices for the workplace, and they prove that classics can continue to educate even in today's world. Eileen Hardy
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (October 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738203734
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738203737
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,619,292 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Caution: Some of the translations here are pretty raw in describing sexual matters. If such things offend you, this book may not be the ideal way for you to learn about better business practices.
The ancient Greeks and Romans were very concerned with political, military, and financial effectiveness. Since human nature changes slowly, if at all, we should not be surprised to learn that many ancient leaders and authors had quite a lot to say that is of relevance today. The book's subjects relate to many of the tricky areas of human interaction and psychology. There are sections on leadership, building and losing constituencies, consulting and decision making, strategy, competition, collegiality and teamwork, risk taking, recognizing opportunity, communications, management-employee relations, motivation, hiring and firing, delegation, and handling success and coping with mistakes.
I found the ancient materials very interesting, learning about classical figures I had not heard of before. I would have enjoyed the book even if it had not been presented as a business management book. Since the work is done by classicists, the ancient references are numerous, well chosen and spicy.
As a management guide, the book is not nearly as big a success. However, I did not find it any less good than any of the books I read which regurgitate what other writers have had to say before.
There were no big "ah-ha's" for me. Maybe I've been reading too many management books.
On the other hand, I didn't read anything here that was a bad idea for a business person to think about.
There's some very fine humor in several sections. For example, the "consultants" are usually seers, interpreters of oracles, and advisors.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. B. Goldman on April 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
After taking yet another one of Prof. Figueira's courses on the ancient world, I was pleased to read something that was less overpowering to my mind. I think that Profs. Figueira and Brennan were able to capyture the similarities between our modern world and that of the ancient. They were able to apply concepts that we readily know now, to a world that we won't understand immediately. In particular the emphasis on ancient coinage was employed well.
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By Matajimaya on January 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
We tend to forget that business people and business management always existed. The book here is a selection of texts from ancient authors about their businesses or a problem they had to solve in Greece and Rome. I recommend the book. All lessons are still valid today!
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Wisdom From The Ancients: Enduring Business Lessons From Alexander The Great, Julius Caesar, And The Illustrious Leaders Of Ancient Greece And Rome
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