Jeffrey Pfeffer’s Required Reading

Theodore Kinni, Strategy+Business, Aug 27, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I don't see how reading a few pop philosophy business books gives you "a clear-eyed understanding of the world and how it works." So what would I recommend instead of these parochial choices? How about these:

Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu - take the time to understand this and distinguish between the trappings we add to our understandding of the world as compared to the very simple reality underlying it

The Art of War, Sun Tzu - this classic is the textbook for competitive environments and makes it clear that being successful is as much a result of discipline and strategy as it is pure power

Discourse on Method, Rene Descartes - there are more modern books on scientific reasoning, but this work is a grounding on the mental approach needed to create aa systematic understanding of the world

On Liberty, John Stuart Mill - Mill writes from the perspective of having thoroughly understood Aristotlean and Kantian ethics, and drafts a model for society based on the happiness of the people actually living in it

The Denial of Death, Ernest Becker - this book faces life's ultimate problem head on and talks about how we find a reason to live in a world that is ultimately meaningless

I could add a dozen of so other essential books that will round out your life (including, yes, Machiavelli). But from the perspective of actually leading life and being successful at it, these are probably key.

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