Study literature to succeed in business

“Arguably, literature and the humanities have a lot to say about the world of business and the world in general. Ask most business leaders what keeps them up at night, and the answer will rarely be issues of process, technology or numbers – although all of that is certainly complicated and challenging. Rather, what leaders struggle with usually comes down to the people stuff. And by that they mean the complex and often contradictory nature of human beings. …

Insights from literature and the humanities are particularly valuable when trying to understand behaviour that doesn’t seem to make sense in a classic economic analysis. Examples of people being confusing in the world of business abound, whether dealing with colleagues, partners or customers. …

As a way of approaching complex reflection, nothing beats the fragility, the openness, and the contradictory nature of the literary text.

A more sustainable business is surely a more human business. If we continue to ignore human complexity, and human motivations beyond profit, eventually people will turn their backs on commerce. It is already starting to happen.”


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