Fiction Books that Teach Valuable Lessons to Managers

Stories, or narratives, can teach valuable lessons to managers who have to act in times of complexity and unpredictability. These stories do not have to be descriptions of real life events, such as the story of what led to the sinking of the Titanic. Even fiction can provide these valuable insights. Here are some examples on good fiction that teach valuable human lessons to managers.

Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton:
Shows how your business will become a disaster to the environment and communities if you do not really know what it is you are managing. Is about failure to manage complexity.

1984, George Orwell:
Bluntly describes how corrected (fake?) news, thoughtcrimes, newspeak and unscience-based governance lead to eradication of creativity and to sustained war, inequality, food insecurity and unhappiness.

The Lies that Men Tell, Luis Fernando Verissimo:
The disarming and hilaric account of how men think and cause a mess. Laughing your butt of guaranteed. Counterweight to the heavy stuff mentioned in this article. NB: Original Portuguese titel: As Mentiras que os Homens Contam.

Foucault’s Pendulum, Umberto Eco:
How men manage to find the root cause of the problem based on completely erroneous assumptions and facts-unbased theories. Daydreaming and not seeking feedback from facts and reality may kill you. A modern whodunnit. Original title in Italian: Il pendolo di Foucault.

Blindness, José Saramago:
How survival instinct releases the animal and falsehood in people when the the basic conditions for communities and social behaviour are scratched away. Original Portuguese title: Ensaio Sobre a Cegueira.

The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco:
How men manage not find the root cause of the problem while following the facts and deducing logically from those. Following the rules may kill you. A medieval whodunnit. Original Italian title: Il nome della rosa.

Youth Without God, Ödon von Horváth:
About the difficulties of maintaining your ethical conscience and wider views when working in an environment completely lacking those qualities. Original German title: Jugend Ohne Gott.

Prague’s Cemetary, Umberto Eco:
Manage your intelligence rigorously and check your sources if you do not want to be misguided by the interest-led advice and information from your stakeholders. Original Italian title: Il cimitero di Praga.

Love in Times of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez:
Declare your love to the person who deserves it, and ollow your passion. To do so is inevitable. Original Spanish title: El amor en los tiempos de cólera.

2 thoughts on “Fiction Books that Teach Valuable Lessons to Managers

  1. The instinct to survive … never to be underestimated :-). At the same time, this hard-coded behaviour is often not working anymore in the modern society. It needs to be channeled better in order for it to be usefull and have purpose, that is, partly, the “urban survival” stream which has been going on for many years. E.g….why learn to make fire with sticks if you basically never in the forrest and have 10 lighters available. “Blindness” seems an interesting read, I will pick it up.

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