ALEXANDER THE GREAT'S ART OF STRATEGY: The Timeless Lessons of History's Greatest Empire Builder

Partha Sarathi Bose, Author . Gotham $24 (288p) ISBN 978-1-59240-006-5

Indian-born strategy adviser Bose sees Alexander the Great as a paragon of strategy and leadership for contemporary businesspersons. And apparently, he's not alone: Baz Luhrman, Norman Schwarzkopf, Oliver Stone and Ted Turner all agree the ruler was onto something. Bose here takes readers through the major events of Alexander's life, inserting observations and lessons relevant to business. The history sections—covering Alexander's birth and early education under Aristotle's tutelage to his death and the dissolution of his vast empire—are engaging, though far from comprehensive. While Bose doesn't purport to be a historian, he is a partner and chief marketing officer of an international management consultancy. Despite that, he does a poor job of pulling lessons from the empire builder's biography. For example, "The Art of Deceptive Strategy" describes how Alexander conquered a supposedly invincible band of Indian warriors in 328 B.C. by creating a phantom threat. Bose then describes how, in the 1980s, Ralston Purina created a phantom threat in the pet food industry. The parallel is obvious, but defeating an enemy is hardly the same as creating a market. Moreover, in his enthusiasm, Bose seems at times to be recommending Alexander's most brutal tactics as business strategies. The results can be unintentionally humorous. In a chapter on leadership styles, the historical tidbit "when [Alexander's] closest friend, Hephaistion, died of a fever in Ecbatana, Alexander had the physician treating him crucified" is followed immediately by "Alexander's trusting leadership style evoked fierce loyalty from those around him." Illus. Agent, Rafe Sagalyn. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/03/2003
Release date: 04/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-0-7393-0405-1
Paperback - 301 pages - 978-1-59240-053-9
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