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If Harry Potter Ran General Electric:…
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If Harry Potter Ran General Electric: Leadership Wisdom from the World of…

by Tom Morris

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Of the books I've read so far this year, this was the slowest going, not because it was the most dense, but because it was the driest. The fault may well be mine and not Morris's; I have always had a tendency to lose my place when reading most philosophy texts, perhaps because I accept their premises about as much as I accept the premises of religions (which is to say, not much).

Make no mistake, this is a management book only superficially. Yes, it uses examples from Harry Potter in ways I generally agree with, at least until a certain level of interpretation, and nominally associates them with business. Yes, it talks about management, but primarily in the sense that a discussion of morality and values is a discussion of management. Throughout, Harry and Dumbledore are held up as virtuous, and specific examples from corporate America are also held up as virtuous. The book would really benefit from a solid chapter on failures of virtue, including corporate examples. This option may be precluded by the business/management genre.

I was left with the sense of emptiness that I often have after reading books on management, industrial/organizational techniques for motivating workers, or discussions of institutional planning and infrastructure that rely overmuch on terms like "vision statement." Had the book been entitled The Philosophy of Harry Potter, and the relatively scant business comparisons dropped, I might have liked it more. However, there are already two books about Harry Potter and Philosophy: Harry Potter and Philosophy and The Wisdom of Harry Potter: What Our Favorite Hero Teaches Us about Moral Choices, which is really about Harry Potter as an exemplar of stoicism, and is reviewed below in mid-April-ish, q.v.

What I found most interesting was to read this now that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has been published. It's entertaining to read the discussions of Dumbledore's decision-making in light of what we learn in that book. ( )
  OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
An interesting perspective on the Harry Potter books. Lots of leadership insights. ( )
  bridgetrwilson | Mar 27, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385517548, Hardcover)

J. K. Rowling’s novels about Harry Potter and the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry have captured the imaginations of people everywhere. In If Harry Potter Ran General Electric, bestselling business author Tom Morris (If Aristotle Ran General Motors) uncovers the values and timeless truths that underlie Rowling’s hugely popular books and illuminates the lessons they offer to all of us in our careers and daily lives.

But, you say, Harry Potter lives in a world of magic. What can we possibly learn to apply to our own careers and everyday lives? Morris shows that the most difficult problems Harry and his friends face are rarely solved by the use of magic alone. Rather, they are conquered by intelligence, reasoning, determination, creativity, friendship, and a host of other classic virtues–the very qualities, in fact, that make for success in every aspect of our lives.

Blending an array of provocative examples from the novels with thought-provoking commentary on contemporary management practices, If Harry Potter Ran General Electric offers readers a master’s course on leadership and ethics, told in an engaging and insightful way.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:17 -0400)

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