the guardian Fri 03 April 2009
Funnily enough, super-violent Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan here teaches us many of the same business lessons as Steve Jobs: care about detail, hire the best people you can, and "cultivate humility" (OK, that one doesn't really apply to Steve). Perhaps the most intriguing anecdote describes Genghis's realisation that "his vision of national unity" could not be achieved with the "illiterate nomads" under his command, so he hired a scribe to establish a system of writing for his language, in contrast to his bozo predecessor Attila the Hun, whose unlettered empire fell to pieces. This is a racy read with a nutritiously scholarly aspect, even if Man does sometimes struggle to defend his subject's record of killing millions of people - at least it wasn't "genocide", the author protests, but merely hard-nosed strategy; though how this fits with the author's admiring description of his subject's "emotional intelligence" and "empathy" is a little difficult to understand. We await the inevitable management-theory book on the inspirational genius of Adolf Hitler.