A Company of Citizens

New Book Examines Athenian Democracy as Model for Corporations

Josiah Ober
Tampa, Florida -- One of the cardinal beliefs of THE AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR GREEK LANGUAGE AND CULTURE, AFGLC, is that the study of the ancient Greeks can produce better leaders for today’s America.

AFGLC enthusiastically recommends to its members, friends and supporters of Hellenic Paedeia the recently released collaboration of Princeton’s eminent classicist Josiah Ober, David Magie Professor of Classics, with the leading management consultant, Brook Manville. The title of their book is: A COMPANY OF CITIZENS: WHAT THE WORLD’S FIRST DEMOCRACY TEACHES (Harvard Business School Press, 2003). Many of you remember Professor Ober’s extraordinary keynote address at the AFGLC Educational Forum of 2002, where he proposed a closer look at the political model offered by ancient Athens. Now he has teamed up with Wall Street Journal contributor B. Manville on a revolutionary new look at the Athenian democracy as a model for twenty-first-century corporate structure. Reader reviews at Amazon.com give it a glowing five stars:

“It provides clear, compelling guidance for growing stronger, better-performing companies from within.”

“Through stories that seem ripped from today’s headlines, they show refreshing ways of working together, learning from one another and networking for the good of a … community.”

“Athens discovered that the organizational power unleashed by its system of governance endowed it with a real competitive advantage. That alone is enough to justify a more active experimentation in corporate citizenship today.”

AFGLC’s Ninth Annual Educational Forum (Tampa, February 26-28, 2004) will revisit and pursue the theme of learning from the Greek experience to create better models of corporate and political leadership today. We highly recommend a copy of this mind-opening new book, A Company of Citizens. Then join us in the discussion, as leaders of business and government meet to brainstorm. In the words of a reviewer,

“If people are to seize the moment and become companies of citizens—become contemporary equivalents of ‘Athenians’—they must take responsibility individually and together. They must risk their futures on learning from the distant past so well described in this excellent book.”

As the authors point out, the decision to build the Parthenon, still one of the world's most potent symbols of democracy, emanated from accountable leaders who proposed it in an open forum and had the work plan approved by a citizens' assembly. "It did not spring from the head of an egotistical tyrant," they write. How many corporate decisions today can boast such participative involvement of employees? An excellent review by Financial Times…….. “Ancient Greeks bear gifts to management. “

“An outstanding book – arrives at a critical time of our societies’ needs.”

Chris P. Tsokos, Ph.D
President, AFGLC
1202 Parrilla de Avila
Tampa, FL 33613-5219
Tel: (813)961-1992
E-mail: ctsokos@tampabay.rr.com
Website: http://www.math.usf.edu/~profcpt