What Would Alexander Do?

Alexander on Leadership 0

In the run-up to the publication of Masters of Command on Tuesday, I’ll ask each of the book’s three masters for the lessons of his leadership. Today I speak to the ghost of Alexander the Great.

Good morning, Your Majesty. What makes you a greater leader, O King, than Hannibal or Julius Caesar?

“I made many Alexanders. From Ptolemy and Pyrrhus to Pompey and Trajan. Hannibal and Julius Caesar were just two of those who followed me.”

So you were first, O King, but what makes you the best?

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What Would Alexander Do? 0

He was short and well built. You would call his face strong rather than handsome. His neck was cocked slightly to the left; his eyes gleamed. Long blonde hair framed his head and even when he stood still, it appeared windblown. There was something catlike about his posture, as if he longed to uncoil by jumping on a horse and riding away. He was the ghost of Alexander the Great.

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What Would Alexander Do? 2

The Greek government nowadays is desperately broke. One answer to its troubles is to borrow money, while the other is to declare bankruptcy and start all over. Either possibility is imposing a strain on the world’s financial system, because if Greece falls, it might take the European banks that lent it money along with it.

But bad as that would be, it wouldn’t match the results of the most important case of “sovereign debt” – to use the current euphemism for a government out of money – in Greece’s history. That took place over 2000 years ago, in 336 B.C.

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