Satya Nadella said reading his late mom's diary entry about a Danish philosopher reminded him what leadership is really about
Satya Nadellasaid reading a diary entry from his mom reminded him what leadershipis really about.
- Microsoft's CEO wrote for Fast Company about a quote from philosopher Søren Kierkegaard that was in the diary.
Leaders can find inspiration in many places — and for Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, that includes his late mother's diary.
Reading a passage in which his mother quoted Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard reminded him that leaders must "learn from the past and be inspired by what's possible in the future," he wrote in a column on Monday. This was at the "core of leadership," he said.
In the column, for Fast Company, Nadella discussed some of the
Nadella said he was first introduced to the philosopher while reading his mom's diary. She was a Sanskrit professor, and some of her entries covered her thoughts on both western and eastern
Nadella recommended reading Clare Carlisle's biography of Kierkegaard — "Philosopher of the Heart: The Restless Life of Søren Kierkegaard" — as a way for managers to find out more.
"Carlisle observes that Kierkegaard did not find life to be linear: 'We circle back in recollection and race forward in hopes, fears, and plans,'" Nadella wrote.
"That's an insightful way to capture what leadership is about — creating clarity, generating energy, and driving success," he wrote.
He recommended the book alongside other ones he's read over the last year. The list included a book about the concept of "creative destruction," which is the idea that by destroying existing processes you can build better ones, as well as a 1969 book by the architect R Buckminster Fuller.
Like many execs, he's known to read widely — and encourages his staff to do the same. He's been known to quote children's fantasy tales, and has said a book by UK professor Colin Mayer changed his views on capitalism.
Nadella's empathetic leadership style has been widely commented on since he became CEO of
Microsoft chairman John Thompson has previously highlighted Nadella's leadership as justification for the CEO's $42 million paycheck.
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