War Stories: MIT Sloan academic’s new book proposes an alternative, sustainable business model to counter our nation’s permanent war footing
Cambridge, Mass., January 13, 2016—Our country’s
emphasis on competition and individual initiative has made us the
standard-setters for a truly global economy. It has also resulted in a nation on
a permanent war footing, threatening to undermine much that we as a nation have
Stories: Fighting, Competing, Imagining, Leading (Business Expert
Press / December 2015), written by Leigh Hafrey, a longtime senior lecturer at
the MIT Sloan School of Management, proposes a new business leadership model
that takes Americans beyond combat and competition as the default setting for
our daily enterprise.
in the history of World War II and the Vietnam era, War Stories traces an arc of military American self-perception on
the screen, the printed page, and in public conversation. Focusing on the past 20 years, Hafrey
illustrates how armed triumphalism informs our nation’s perception of its business
practices. Commercial and military ventures go hand in hand, often to our immediate,
as well as longer-term, disadvantage.
this societal inclination, War Stories
juxtaposes a different, potentially more liberating and productive story.
by chapter, the book stages conversations among military-service veterans, active-duty
officers, business leaders, senior executives, government officials, academics,
and others to capture the spirit of service that motivates them and the
leadership challenges that come with that service. War
Stories then applies practical leadership principles derived from America’s
most cherished founding principles to 21st-century realities. This new model goes
to the heart of any sustainable profession: a service orientation that puts
others' interests ahead of one's own, emphasizing excellence and adherence to a
Stories" is an exercise in cultural criticism, illustrating the effect on
individuals and communities of an economy perpetually flirting with, or engaged
in, conflict. For the business reader,
it emphasizes the need to rethink how we manage our organizations, and how to
advance the cause of ethical business practices that work.
the cultural acceptance of sustainable business practices depends on leaders
who can tell the story of business in society, integrating public, private, and
civil sector imperatives for an audience often eager to engage them.
About the Author
the past twenty years, Leigh Hafrey has served as a Senior Lecturer in
Behavioral and Policy Sciences at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where he
teaches communication, ethics, and leadership in the MBA and other graduate
programs in the United States and abroad. In 2014, he was honored as Teacher of
the Year at the 24th Annual MIT Sloan Excellence in Teaching Awards.
Hafrey taught at Harvard Business School from
1989 through 1993, and served as co-Master of Mather House, one of the
undergraduate residences in Harvard College, from 1993 through 2010. He is a
Senior Moderator for the Aspen Institute, an international educational and
policy studies organization focused on values-driven leadership.
former staff editor at The New York Times
Book Review, Hafrey has published translations from French and German and
reporting, essays, reviews, and interviews in The New York Times and other periodicals, as well as blogs and case
studies for MIT Sloan and various on-line media. Hafrey’s earlier book on story
and storytelling, The Story of Success:
Five Steps to Mastering Ethics in Business (Other Press, 2005), explores
how we articulate ethical norms in and out of the workplace.
holds an AB in English from Harvard College and a PhD in comparative literature
from Yale University.
About the MIT Sloan School of Management
MIT Sloan School of Management is where smart, independent leaders come
together to solve problems, create new organizations, and improve the world.
Learn more at http://mitsloan.mit.edu/