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Heroic Leadership
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By Chris Lowney

What can a 450-year-old religious organization teach us today about molding effective organizations, including for-profit businesses? Plenty, according to the author, a former novice in the order who left to pursue a successful career in finance.

That organization is the Society of Jesus, better known as the Jesuits. They seek to mold members who have these four characteristics:

  • Self-awareness, or understanding one’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Ingenuity in responding to new challenges and unfamiliar situations.
  • Love, or putting the well being of others first.
  • Heroism, or readily taking personal risks for the greater good.

The author illustrates these “four pillars” through a series of fascinating historical vignettes, such as the story of early Jesuits who became trusted advisers to a Chinese emperor. Then, after each story, he draws practical conclusions for people today. This is a very well written and instructive book that bridges genres with amazing success.

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