Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Bard For All Reasons?, August 21, 2000
This review is from: Shakespeare in Charge: The Bard's Guide to Leading and Succeeding on the Business Stage (Hardcover)
The use of Shakespeare for subjects beyone the English Lit. classroom is a favorite of mine, so I was well-disposed to this book, one of the authors of which is a former disarmerment negotiator (Kenneth Adelman). My mile reaction is based on my belief that much of the book is either common-sense stuff that you don't need Shakespeare to know (do you need a book to tell you to look both ways before crossing the street?), or the anologies are streched a bit. Using, "The Taming of the Shrew" to teach contingency planning and salesmanship is streching the point a bit. I believe that Shakespeare (who wrote his own plays, no matter what Joe Sobran thinks) could well have injected his religous and political views into his writing, but the idea that he ever gave a thought to making points about business practice may be streching it. The best chapter is the one on "Julius Caesar," which involves charachers leading organizations and struggling for control of an organization - Rome - in crisis. For this chapter alone the book is worth having. The chapter on "Henry IV, Part I" is also good, as are the examples from "Hamlet" and "King Lear," although the authors miss what may have been the real point of the latter play. The good chapters are the ones that examine the decisions of leaders, usually kings, in confronting change, crisis, and opportunity. The weaker sections are the ones that strech anologies, as noted above. a point to remember with using these examples is that the leaders in the dramas are usually political, vested with monarchical authority. Their calculations can be transliterated into those of an executive, if one exchanges subjects for employees, customers, etc., but not always with the relationships and nuances of meaning intact. A better use of Shakespeare is inthe arena of public administration/political science, with Bloom and Jaffa's "Shakespeare's Politics" being an excellent example. While I would read this book again, it must be remembered that common sense needs no classic for illustration, and that it might be possible to construct almost ant absurd scaffolding upon Shakespeare, with less regard to meaning and intent that ought to be the case. -Lloyd Conway
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