Leadership Requires Philosophy

“For I believe a good king is from the outset and by necessity a philosopher, and the philosopher is from the outset a kingly person.”


In today’s chapter, author Ryan Holiday talks about philosopher kings, and how important philosophy is to the success of leaders. Marcus Aurelius was one of those philosopher kings!

But people often think of philosophy as some ‘foo-foo’ thing that doesn’t belong in practical decision making. They dismiss philosophy as a bunch of head-in-the-clouds thinking that doesn’t have any practical application to the hard decisions that leaders must make on a daily basis.

The truth is that we’re all leaders, whether we realize it or not. We lead companies, we lead teams, we lead our families sometimes. We lead our friends, our community groups, our peers, ourselves.

And philosophy is absolutely key to give us the critical thinking and moral understanding that are needed to lead others, and lead our own lives. Without philosophy, we’d be robbed of that deeper, fundamental understanding of the human mind and soul which is so critical to making the right decisions.

Strong leaders require the continuous study and application of philosophy to guide them through their most difficult and trying moments. They understand that they can’t just leave these challenging decisions and inflection points to chance — they need that compass that philosophy provides to them.

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