Summer reading: Turn the Ship Around!

Book cover for Turn the Ship Around Turn the Ship Around! A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders
L. David Marquet

WHY–We live in a world filled with anger and grievance over conflicting notions about the relationship between individuals and communities. That relationship is defined by notions of liberty, a word that is not a synonym for freedom, for liberty requires duties. But “liberty” is not the same in time. In classical antiquity, fascism, and post-communist autocracies, the individual is subordinate to a community, so liberty reflects the collective’s freedom from impurity or attack. In modern times, commerce supersedes violence as a way of allocating goods, so liberty is defined by the actions and desires of individuals. Give too much leave to individuals, and you get nihilism and fragmentation. Give too much leave to community, and you get stultification and totalitarianism. Thus, we must learn to live within a dialectical tension. And you will need to understand its contradictions so as to cut its Gordian knots. To that end, two readings on theory and one on practice.

YIN–A liberal comparison of ancient versus modern liberty: Benjamin Constant’s 15-page essay titled “The Liberty of Ancients Compared with that of Moderns” (1819).

YANG–A deeply conservative version of the same: Leo Strauss’ 49-page essay titled “The Liberalism of Classical Political Philosophy” (1959.) (electronic copy requires CalNet authentication)

BANG–A book about how a commander on a nuclear submarine changed a top-down martinet culture into a community of leaders: L. David Marquet’s 274-page book titled Turn the Ship Around! A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders (2013).

Professional Faculty
Haas School of Business

That’s it for this year’s Summer Reading! Tune in again next year!