Quirky Books: If Aristotle Ran General Motors by Tom Morris

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

If Aristotle Ran General Motors by Tom Morris

Tom Morris has a joint PhD in religion and philosophy from Yale and wrote "If Aristotle Ran General Motors: the New Soul of Business." Professor at Notre Dame for fifteen years and keynote speaker for business conventions across the United States of America this book is highly recommended to anyone in business.

Focusing on "soft skills," also known as micromanagement, it is an excellent resource for various ideas for personal and professional life. Often business refers to hard and liquid assets as investments; however, Morris sees investing in people as the core component of growth and stabilization of a company.

Some of the ideals are presented in his own words though citing commonly known methods, such as, Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs. The cross-function of truth, beauty, goodness and unity satisfies the multidimensional needs of various people.

Clearly associates critiqued his work before it was release. A brief disclosure statement informs readers changes should be affordable and always consider the "bottom-line" when making improvements. A person does not have to spend money or embrace every aspect; they only need to ponder assumptions when creating a strategic plan for reaching company goals.

One passage I found useful is in Part IV: Unity. An old man discusses how when he and his friends retired, three of them passed away within a year. He felt this reason was because he found volunteer work, while his friends no longer felt useful:

When we cease to feel useful, we cease to feel valuable. We no longer feel alive.

This is a broad, yet pertinent point about life. Either we find ways to be useful; ways of being useful find us, or we lose willingness to continue.

While considered a continuation of improving business processes, a person may feel impeded upon or not understand the concepts. Compelled to clear up some points competition is not a win or lose situation. Ranking systems between peers is as effective. Competition is how people hone skills. In addition, Absolutism is similar to Fatalism. He clings to Absolutism, while dispelling Nihilism and Relativism.

Published writers are encouraged to have a point-of-view to generate curiosity, controversy and establish an assertive voice. Focus assists in relaying information. Seeming "wishy-washy" confuses the reader, so I empathize with the aggressive defense of his beliefs.

Morris is not a business professional. He has experience as a professor and extensive knowledge of philosophy and religion. Everyone should read this book. The application is broad and versatile. His perspective is genuine; therefore, not every suggestion is great for every person. Yet, differing perspectives generate insight when refining an approach.

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