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Lead With Wisdom: How Wisdom Transforms Good Leaders Into Great Leaders

Friday, December 20, 2013 8:08 am EST
"Wisdom is big and old, but it should stay accessible and fresh."

When Mark Strom was a bricklayer’s labourer, he was in the business of mud. Not experienced enough to lay the bricks with that perfect combination of moist-but-firm mortar and trowel finesse, he learned to appreciate the value of a good mix.

In Lead with Wisdom, the Australian philosopher, historian, businessman–former brickie and truckie–uses the analogy of mud to describe the elements of wisdom as they contribute to the human structures we build; and to leadership in particular.

Strom masterfully cobbles ancient imperial and social history and philosophy, with contemporary business, corporate culture and the academy of management, via an unlikely mix including the Apostle Paul, eastern traditions, and nineteenth and twentieth century philosophers of knowledge.

Strom is a former CEO who now advises CEOs to go and walk with their executives. With a PhD in the history of ideas working with one of the world’s leading historians, he also happily gives his time to primary school teachers. He brings a strong critique of corporate structures; yet consults at the highest level of the world’s most prestigious professional services companies.

In Lead with Wisdom, Strom shows himself to be a master of the contradictions, eloquently identifying and diffusing the tensions between people and systems, leaders and the led, control and community–as they have evolved in contemporary business, government and social enterprise.

For anyone bemoaning the binary limitations and fragmentation of management and its language, this book returns people and story to the core of enterprise. And it is simple stories and their capacity to create, relate and solve that sit at the heart of this book.

Strom sees wisdom as reading the patterns of life with discernment, and acting on this understanding with integrity and care. For our benefit he discerns the patterns of naming, conversation, influence and character, then the arts of story, brilliance, promise and grace; and the skills of each. His exploration shines a light in every corner of human enterprise to dignify and demystify. As he says, “Wisdom is big and old, but it should stay accessible and fresh.”

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