讲故事的人统治世界!我们都可以从阅读伟大作家的作品中学到很多东西

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像沃伦·巴菲特、比尔·盖茨或彼得·蒂尔这样有远见的商业头脑,教会了我们一些常常被大多数人忽略的东西。他们都读了很多书。来自历史、哲学、文学和其他人文学科一些引人注目的想法,可以成为创新和成功的宝贵资源,作为经济、科学和技术更可衡量的领域。
人文学科为任何准备好并愿意研究它们的人提供了丰富的经验和模式。
假设我们想了解更多关于有效决策的知识。在这种情况下,我们可以研究林肯总统是如何在内战期间使联邦保持团结的,或者凯撒为什么越过卢比孔河,或者肯尼迪如何在古巴导弹危机期间使世界免于核末日。
假设我们正在寻找一本极好的领导力手册。在这种情况下,我们应该考虑马丁·路德·金(Martin Luther King Jr.)在《来自伯明翰监狱的信》(Letter from Birmingham Jail)中关于公民不服从的写作,或者马基雅维利(Machiavelli)在《君主论》(the Prince)中关于权力本质的讨论。
这个夏天,我将一遍又一遍地阅读下面的书,让我来告诉你为什么。

柏拉图的《道歉》(约公元前399年)

我经常问自己,我的核心原则是什么?我怎样才能建立起一套道德准则,使金钱或权力的承诺无法破坏它?事实上,这些都是柏拉图的《忏悔录》所回答的问题,因为它告诉我们苏格拉底如何在审判中面对他的指控者,最终被判死刑的故事。苏格拉底教导我们如何精心制定一套经过深思熟虑的道德准则,这就是苏格拉底所谓的“美好生活”的终极源泉。

马基雅维利,《君主论》(1532年出版)

这是一本关于政治权力的精彩著作,可以帮助我们所有人在现代世界中。《君主论》是在佛罗伦萨发生显著变化的时候写成的,马基雅维利试图用任何必要的手段来修补破碎的政治体系。它触及了问题的核心,比如,被人害怕好还是被人喜爱好?或者更有利的是拥有强大的力量,或者看起来强大?

莎士比亚《奥赛罗》

莎士比亚传奇性的《奥赛罗》提醒我们要理解任何一个人;我们必须先听听他或她的故事。

梅尔维尔,《水手比利·巴德》(1924年出版)

我不想剧透,但在生活中,有时候,我们都会像维尔船长一样面临一个可怕的决定。我们应该跟随自己的心吗?或是不应该?
这是我今年夏天要读的四大名著。这些书都是几十年或几个世纪前写的,这可能看起来很不寻常,甚至违反直觉。但我相信最好的书在长期来看仍然是不可或缺的。
这就是为什么,作为有远见的全球公民,我们应该从事伟大的写作。这就是柏拉图相信‘讲故事的人统治世界’的原因。”
我们读名著,是因为它们教我们;谦逊、好奇、合作和视角。
这是我们无法从Instagram、Twitter或Netflix学到的。

 

英文原文
Storytellers Rule the World!
We all can learn a great deal from reading great writers

 

We all can gain from reading great writers.  Some of the most successful business people and entrepreneurs do a lot of reading and thinking.  

 

Visionary business minds like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, or Peter Thiel teach us something that is often ignored by most of us. They all read a lot.   The compelling ideas from history, philosophy, literature, and other humanities disciplines can be valuable sources for innovation and success as the more measurable fields of economics, science, and technology.  

 

The humanities brim with lessons and models for anyone ready and willing to examine them.  

 

Suppose we want to learn more about effective decision-making. In that case, we can study how President Lincoln kept the  Union together during the Civil War, or perhaps why Caesar crossed the Rubicon, or how JFK kept the world out of nuclear Armageddon during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  

 

Suppose we are looking for a fantastic manual on leadership. In that case, we should consider Martin Luther King Jr.’s writing on civil disobedience in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” or Machiavelli’s discussion on the nature of power in The Prince.

 

This summer, I’ll be reading and re-reading the following books, and let me tell you why.

 

Plato, Apology (c. 399 BC)

I frequently ask myself about my core principles or how I can develop a guiding set of ethics that no promise of money or power can corrupt?  In fact, these are some of the questions that Plato’s Apology answers, as it tells us the story of how Socrates faced his accusers at the trial that would end in his death sentence.  Socrates teaches us all about how to craft a thoughtfully considered code of ethics that is the ultimate source of what Socrates called the “good life.”

 

Machiavelli, The Prince (published in 1532)

It is a fantastic text on political power that can help us all in the modern world.  The Prince is written at a time of remarkable change in Florence, and Machiavelli tried to fix the broken political system by whatever means required.    It gets to the core of questions like, is it better to be feared or loved?  or perhaps more advantageous actually to be powerful, or to seem powerful?

 

Shakespeare, Othello (c. 1603)

Shakespeare’s legendary Othello is a reminder for all of us that to understand anyone; we must try first hearing his or her particular story.  

 

Melville, Billy Budd, Sailor (published in 1924)

I won’t spoil the story, but in life, at some point, we all face a terrible decision like Captain Vere.  Should we follow our hearts? Should we not?

 

These are the four classics I’ll be reading this summer.  Perhaps it might seem unusual, even counterintuitive, that each of these books was written decades and centuries ago.  But I believe the best books remain indispensable for the long haul.  

 

That is why, as forward-thinking global citizens, we should engage with great writing.  And that is why Plato believed that ‘storytellers rule the world.”

 

We read great writings because they teach us; humility, curiosity, collaboration, and perspective.

 

That’s something we can’t learn from Instagram, Twitter, or Netflix.

 

 

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Roozbeh Aliabadi 专家专栏
美国AI教育先驱ReadyAI CEO,全球增长顾问公司合伙人,厚仁集团学生领航导师,美国陆军特种部队心理作战司前军官,《论坛报》提名杰出青年公民。
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