Leadership lessons in Shogun, #1

Remember, this is set in feudal Japan, where absolute obedience to authority was expected, on penalty of death.

Toranaga: “[Another person] says that the Netherlands were vassals of the Spanish king until just a few years ago. Is that true?”

Blackthorne: “Yes.”

Toranaga: “Therefore, the Netherlands – your allies – are in a state of rebellion against their lawful king?”

Blackthorne: “They’re fighting against the Spaniard, yes, but – ”

Toranaga: “Isn’t that rebellion? Yes or no?”

Blackthorne: “Yes. But there are mitigating circumstances. Serious miti- ”

Toranaga: “There are no ‘mitigating circumstances’ when it comes to rebellion against a sovereign lord!”

Blackthorne: “Unless you win.”

Toranaga looked at him intently. Then laughed uproariously. “Yes, Mister Foreigner…you have named the one mitigating factor.”

Highly applicable in professional settings. You can go always go ahead with the idea that you think is great, but everyone else tells you is stupid.

You just better be right.


3 thoughts on “Leadership lessons in Shogun, #1

  1. Sounds like choosing dubious chess openings too. “That system is unsound.” “I know, but I keep winning with it.”


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