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Words of Wisdom

A 2500-year-old Chinese philosophy holds new meaning for modern-day entrepreneurs.

Paul D'Souza had been trying to contact two prospective clients for more than a week and had all but given up. Then one day over lunch, he felt a sudden urge to try again. "I got the phone numbers, one in Milpitas, California, and the other in New York City, and called these people. They were both in, and ready and willing to talk," says the vice president and partner of Health Innovations, a 15-person health-care consulting firm in Santa Cruz, California.

What may sound like a lucky break is much more to D'Souza, who is a longtime student of the Chinese philosophical system called Taoism. Says D'Souza, "What I call the Tao--intuition or what have you--told me to call these people."

The Tao (pronounced "dow") has been talking to a lot of businesspeople, even encouraging them to write books on applying its principles to management, negotiation, leadership, organization and even sales. As part of what seems like a renaissance of spiritual concerns about work, Taoism stands out as one of the oldest and most widely applied.

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This article was originally published in the November 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Words of Wisdom.

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