Taking Issues

School Of Bard Knocks

Shakespeare waxes poetic on business matters.

First came Tom Peters. Then Steven Covey. Et tu, Shakespeare? Thanks to Jay M. Shafritz' Shakespeare on Management: Wise Counsel and Warnings From the Bard (HarperBusiness), entrepreneurs can adopt the Shake-spearean method of solving business questions like "A new computer system: to buy or not to buy?" Here, proof that business advice from any other master rarely sounds as sweet.

  • On dressing for success: "Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy/But not express'd in fancy, rich, not gaudy/For the apparel oft proclaims the man." --from Hamlet
  • On fortune: "There is a tide in the affairs of men,/Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;/Omitted, all the voyage of their life/Is bound in shallows and in miseries./On such a full sea are we now afloat,/And we must take the current when it serves,/Or lose our ventures." --from Julius Caesar
  • On business ethics: "This above all: to thine own self be true,/And it must follow, as the night the day,/Thou canst not then be false to any man." --from Hamlet
  • On entrepreneurial angst: "Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown." --from Henry IV, Part II

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This article was originally published in the October 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Taking Issues.

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