Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Nugget of Truth

One would think that Cyrus the Great's philosophy on empire administration has little to do with Keith Ferazzi's perspective on success in the professional world. Nor would one think that Ghengis Khan's tactics for nation building would have anything in common with Fareed Zakaria's take on how America should move forward in a world where its share of power is increasingly smaller. Well, maybe one would, but nevertheless, not only do those two pairs relate, but they relate to each as well.

Along with myriad views of other writers, philosophers, leaders, intellectuals etc. From the reading of thousands of pages of text on Genghis Khan to the post-American world, I feel as though I have distilled one nugget of advice. President Kennedy said it best when he declared, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." The idea of giving to receive is so powerful, and so uninstinctual that those who have mastered its application have risen to the highest levels of politics, business, etc.

Keith Ferazzi boasts that he has thousands of people, who he could contact with his blackberry no less, who would jump at the chance to grant him favors, advice, etc., not because they owe him, but because they would jump at the chance to help someone who had helped them, or has expressed a willingness to help them in the future. Cyrus the Great built his empire by conquering great swaths of land, and then, over decades, building up his subject nation's infrastructure to create such and unprecedented level of growth and prosperity that they came to love their benevolent rulers. In return he was able to build the most powerful empire to ever originate in the Middle East. Likewise, Genghis Khan presided over the greatest spread of knowledge and trade ever experienced from China to the east end of the Mediterranean, cities in between boomed, and descendants of his ruled well into the 20th century. Fareed Zakaria is a staunch believer in the need for America to cease the forced spread of the "American Way", and to start asking countries, "what can we do for you?"

It seems as though many of the same people have stumbled upon the same universal truth, that living only for yourself, and trying to claw your way alone to the top is far less effective than working with, and for, those around you to succeed.