What can a rabbi teach you about business? JewCentral.com reviews Moshe Kranc’s “The Hasidic Masters’ Guide To Management” a book that teaches business and life lessons through short stories of the Hasidic rabbis.
In graduate school professors were enamored with Sun Tsu’s Art of War. “How could modern top business school professors of today think so highly of a 2500 year old book- written originally in Chinese!?!” I questioned. But with time I grew to realize the brilliance of Sun Tsu- his classic advice has withstood the test of time; after all leadership and human relations haven’t changed.
With this in mind I was intrigued when a new book touting the management philosophies of the great Hasidic rabbis appeared. Hasidism, the eighteenth century Jewish mystical movement, revolutionized and revitalized the Jewish world with rabbis as the undisputed leader of the community. The rabbi’s lessons prove to be timeless for both business and everyday life.
Each chapter addresses a particular theme with lessons breaking down one aspect on how to effectively achieve success in that theme. With Dilbert cartoons and quotes of management guru Peter F. Drucker in addition to captivating stories there are many alluring elements to keep the reader’s interest. Although at times the stories don’t fully relate to the lesson being taught, the messages are concise and logical. Each story is followed by an explanation of the takeaway points and ends with a practical “In Today’s World” section to apply the lessons to everyday life.
Rest assured this book will not teach you about dressing like a Hasid and all the finer points of Hasidism. But it will teach you the spirit of Hasidism and Judaism as a guide when it comes to “bain adam l’chaveyro” (interpersonal skills). In effect the book teaches you one of the two most important lessons any MBA gets – interpersonal skills, not sheer brains, are the key to business. (The other important lesson is of course, who you know.)
The management concepts aren’t going to challenge any existing theories but the format makes it easy to think about it and inspires you to make changes. After all, when you read a book to learn something, the key is what you can take out of it and use in everyday life.
This book is filled with good advice and interesting stories. My advice to readers of this fine book is that the book not be read in just one sitting, which would be easy because it is a fun read. There are good lessons that can easily be lost in the numerous attention grabbing stories. Not more than one chapter should be read at a sitting. This allows the lessons to sink in and to be used in everyday life.
Overall Mr. Kranc, a descendant of Rabbi Jacob Kranc, the renowned Magid of Dubno also known as “the Jewish Aesop”, writes an interesting book that transcends religion and can help make you just a little bit better. This book would make an excellent Chanukah gift for that hard to please person who is looking to improve.
Perhaps The Hasidic Masters’ will give Hasidic Rabbis the popularity of the current kabala trend. So Nu, who would you rather learn from an ancient Chinese warrior or a Jewish Rabbi?