Stories, or narratives, can teach valuable lessons to managers who have to act in times of complexity and unpredictability. These stories do not have to be descriptions of real life events, such as the story of what led to the sinking of the Titanic. Even fiction can provide these valuable insights. Here are some examples on good fiction that teach valuable human lessons to managers.
Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton:
Shows how your business will become a disaster to the environment and communities if you do not really know what it is you are managing. Is about failure to manage complexity.
1984, George Orwell:
Bluntly describes how corrected (fake?) news, thoughtcrimes, newspeak and unscience-based governance lead to eradication of creativity and to sustained war, inequality, food insecurity and unhappiness.
The Lies that Men Tell, Luis Fernando Verissimo:
The disarming and hilaric account of how men think and cause a mess. Laughing your butt off guaranteed. Counterweight to the heavy stuff mentioned in this article. NB: Original Portuguese titel: As Mentiras que os Homens Contam.
Foucault’s Pendulum, Umberto Eco:
How men manage to find the root cause of the problem based on completely erroneous assumptions and facts-unbased theories. Daydreaming and not seeking feedback from facts and reality may kill you. A modern whodunnit. Original title in Italian: Il pendolo di Foucault.
Blindness, José Saramago:
How survival instinct releases the animal and falsehood in people when the the basic conditions for communities and social behaviour are scratched away. Original Portuguese title: Ensaio Sobre a Cegueira.
The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco:
How men manage to not find the root cause of the problem while following the facts and deducing logically from those. Following the rules may kill you. A medieval whodunnit. Original Italian title: Il nome della rosa.
Youth Without God, Ödon von Horváth:
About the difficulties of maintaining your ethical conscience and wider views when working in an environment completely lacking those qualities. Original German title: Jugend Ohne Gott.
Prague’s Cemetary, Umberto Eco:
Manage your business intelligence rigorously and check your sources if you do not want to be misguided by the interest-led advice and information from your stakeholders. Original Italian title: Il cimitero di Praga.
Love in Times of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez:
Declare your love to the person who deserves it, and follow your passion. To do so is inevitable. Original Spanish title: El amor en los tiempos de cólera.