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Effective leaders are able to manage both the day-to-day issues that press in on them and the bigger picture. A knowledge of history shows patterns amidst all the noise of current events and reminds of unusual possibilities.
Bismarck famously said that a statesman “must wait until he hears the steps of God sounding through events, then leap up and grasp the hem of his garment”. And he did that when he manoeuvred across the chess board of Europe to create the new state of Germany.
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Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey, accounted for his limitations by issuing an order to ignore instructions he gave in the evenings – when he liked to carouse with his friends. But history has far more examples of leaders whose convictions of infallibility grow in proportion t...
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Now that I think of it, I was always curious about it. But somehow never got to ask...
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