By Craig Perrin
I'm tempted to begin this entry, "You'll have to excuse me - I'm from California." As someone trained in interdisciplinary thinking, I'm usually pleased to see connections among things.
Here's an example. My son Greg on his own recently decided to study the Bhagavad Gita, the ancient Hindu text, which I've known since my late teens and read with college students when I taught world religions in my early career. So Greg and I have been discussing how its advice and underlying philosophy might make him a better musician.
There's a connection pleasing to me: between ancient Hindu scripture and violin-playing. And here's a California footnote: The Bhagavad Gita is the only book that resides in full on my hard drive. I find it both soothing and challenging, often on long flights. Then last week I ran into this article in Business Week: "Karma Capitalism: Times have changed since Gordon Gekko quoted Sun Tzu in the 1987 movie Wall Street. Has the Bhagavad Gita replaced The Art of War as the hip new ancient Eastern management text?" https://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_44/b4007091.htm Frankly, I'd never thought of a connection between "the Gita" and business. (How did I miss THAT?) And while the Business Week article dates from 2006, its major points seem even more relevant in our current economic muddle.
Beyond the wonderful points raised in the article, I see other connections with today's business challenges:
- The new picture of 21st-century leadership emerging from AchieveGlobal's worldwide study earlier this year - particularly in the areas of "Society," "Introspection," and "People" - has incredible resonance with ideas in the Gita.
- I've been thinking about a new AG statement on work/life balance. The Gita - with its idea of "work without attachment to the fruits of work," or (in California lingo) "it's the journey, dude, not the destination" - could be the nucleus of a fresh new perspective.
- The mainstream business schools drawing from the Gita - Harvard, Wharton, and Kellogg (none of them in California!) - may be on to something. Could ideas contained in the Gita serve the twin goals of reduced stress in our global recession and reduced risk of repeating the mistakes that brought on the recession?