Dan was interviewed for The Books That Changed My Life: Reflections by 100 Authors, Actors, Musicians and Other Remarkable People in April 2016. In the excerpt that follows, Robert Reiss of The CEO Show and Forbes learns more about Dan's selection as the most influential book on the subject of business leadership.
Robert Reiss: Dan, I know you’re a student of business leadership. What book have you found the most influential on the subject of business leadership?
Dan Hesse: Interesting you should ask. I was recently interviewed for The Books That Changed My Life: Reflections by 100 Authors, Actors, Musicians and Other Remarkable People. I didn’t choose a book about business or a business leader (I noticed that Tommy Hilfiger chose Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson), but chose the first book I can remember reading which shaped my views on leadership, The Republic, by Plato, which I read as a college undergraduate.
Plato’s observations were impactful in many ways. The Republic is largely Plato’s account of discussions between Socrates and other learned Greeks. Up to this point in my life, my rationale to be good or kind were based on our family’s religious beliefs, a means to an end (going to Heaven vs. Hell).
The men who Socrates was talking to also viewed being just or good as a means to an end, arguing that the only reason just people act so is out of fear of being caught or punished, that they would be better off materially if they could be unjust and get away with it. Or, people act justly because of the benefits to honor or reputation.
Socrates uses logic (the famous “Socratic Method”) to explain why justice, and the search for truth and “the Good” are worthwhile for their own sake, not for gains on earth or in an afterlife. He explains how only the just person can be truly happy.