The Art of Leadership: Contents

A very short summary of all parts

Photo: Jordan McGee/Unsplash

What is leadership? Why is this important? How do you lead successfully? The Art of Leadership provides timeless answers to these eternal questions. It is a modern reading of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching — a guide for leaders in ancient China. “Purpose is a surer path to productivity than pressure. Pressure keeps knocking you off the path. Purpose keeps bringing you back onto the path” Kent Beck Other reading and viewing formats.

Purpose: sections 1, 4, 6, 14, 21, 25, 32, 34, 35, 39, 40, 41, 42, 51.
Integrity: sections 10, 13, 16, 19, 23, 28, 33, 38, 54, 55.
Leadership: sections 5, 7, 12, 15, 17, 18, 20, 22, 26, 27, 49, 57, 58, 59, 60, 62, 65, 66, 70, 71, 72, 74, 75, 81.
Correlative pairs: sections 1,2, 20, 22, 26, 28, 31, 36, 39, 41, 42, 45, 50, 56, 57, 58, 63, 64, 76, 77, 78.
Action without pressure: sections 2, 3, 11, 29, 37, 43, 47, 48, 63, 64.
Moderation: sections 8, 9, 24, 36, 44, 45, 46, 50, 52, 53, 56, 73, 76, 77, 78, 80.
Conflict: sections 30, 31, 61, 67, 68, 69, 79.

Contents: A very short summary of all parts (3 min read)

Introduction: How to make a difference (4 min read)

Sections 1–6: Purpose (7 min read)
Guide to the essence. Beyond labels. Maintaining harmony. Purpose. Bellows. Nourishing purpose.

Sections 7–13: Attending to Needs (6 min read)
Attending to people’s needs. Being like water. Accomplish and withdraw. Respectful intent. Emptiness brings usefulness. Belly over eyes. Beyond yourself.

Sections 14–19: We Did It Ourselves (6 min read)
Beyond grasping. Beyond knowing. Return to the roots. We did it ourselves. Without purpose. Plain silk and uncarved wood.

Sections 20–23: Grasping the Whole (6 min read)
Daring to unlearn. Great effectiveness. Grasping the whole. Flowing with purpose.

Sections 24–30: Self-Organisation (8 min read)
Following purpose. Self-organisation. Balancing. Self-knowledge. Returning to simplicity. Intent to control will fail. Avoiding pressure and control.

Sections 31–37: Knowing Yourself (6 min read)
A great victory is a funeral. Knowing when to stop. Knowing yourself. Flow. A great vision. Subtle illumination. Transformed.

Sections 38–43: Effectiveness (8 min read)
Effectiveness. Wholeness. Returning. Square without corners. Shady and sunny. Water and stone.

Sections 44–49: What is Enough? (5 min read)
Knowing what is enough. Flawed perfection. Knowing that enough is enough. Succeeding without pressure and control. Unlearning. Integrity is compassion and trust.

Sections 50–55: Integrity (5 min read)
Truly set on living. Integrity. Back to the beginning. Thieves’ purpose. Well planted, well embraced. The baby’s integrity.

Sections 56–61: Living with Change (6 min read)
Beyond love and hate. Conditions for self-organisation. Living with change. Leading motherly. Cooking small fish. Lying low.

Sections 62–66: Serving Without Interference (8 min read)
Caring for all. Serving without interference. Minor changes, major consequences. Reaching great harmony. Going lower.

Sections 67–73: Effectiveness Without Contending (6 min read)
Compassion, frugality, modesty. Effectiveness without contending. Moving without formation. Unprincipled knowing. To think you know. Feeling safe. Brave caution.

Sections 74–81: Balancing (9 min read)
Fearing death. Respecting life. Real strength. Balance. The softest succeeds. Harmonising hatred. Freedom. Learning beyond principles.

Glossary: Explanations of key terms (23 min read)

Acknowledgements: Standing on the shoulders of giants (3 min read)

Sources: Where to learn more (4 min read)

Other Reading and Viewing Formats

This is provided as Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International by the author, Erik Schön.




From hacker, software researcher and system engineer to leader, executive and strategizer. Writer: #ArtOfLeadership #ArtOfStrategy

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Erik Schön

Erik Schön

From hacker, software researcher and system engineer to leader, executive and strategizer. Writer: #ArtOfLeadership #ArtOfStrategy

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