Recommended: Yertle the Turtle

“I’m ruler,” said Yertle, “of all that I see.
But I don’t see enough. That’s the trouble with me.”

Dr. Seuss

Yertle the Turtle

Yertle the Turtle

To scan the business management shelves of one’s local bookstore is to rediscover the fun of counting: “Six Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance”, “The 48 Laws of Power”, “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”, “The Five Essential Elements”, “The One Minute Manager”, “10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy” — and that’s just the first page of leadership results on Barnes & Noble’s website.

Although curiously snubbed by the world’s top business schools (et tu, Tuck School of Business?), Dr. Seuss’ Yertle the Turtle remains the seminal volume in math-enabled hubris.

Among the critical learnings to be gleaned from Yertle’s monomaniacal quest for power is the foolishness of defining the boundaries of one’s authority by relative hierarchy rather than absolute responsibility. (Tragically, Yertle’s myopic careerism and obsession with unattainable goals blinds him to the risk of internal dissent, even as his linear organizational structure exposes him to 200 unique points of failure.)

Essential reading for the team-focused manager.

One Comment to “Recommended: Yertle the Turtle”

  1. I was rummaging through Chapters one day and made an interesting discovery. There were shelves and shelves of books on business – how to’s, leadership etc.

    By contrast there was one small shelf with books on ethics. Too bad Yertle didn’t stumble upon this meager collection earlier in his quest for greatness.

    Like it or not ethical, moral decision making provides a strong foundation for success – it does not weaken the drive to succeed it only serves to restate what success in all its shapes can be.

    The world could use more of these kinds of successfulpeople.