Hermann Simon

In business management, it is easy to fall victim to the buzzwords or trends of the day when historical understanding and consciousness are lacking. When that happens, authors and thinkers purport to create something new, when they are really only serving old wine in new wineskins. This recalls the comments of the philosopher George Santayana that history will repeat itself for those who do not … [ Read more ]

Hermann Simon

History does not repeat itself, nor does it follow given laws, as Karl Marx or Oswald Spengler have suggested. Nevertheless, it can be said that the human being has changed very little during the known course of history. We gain, therefore, valuable insight when we interpret current developments and the future in light of historical analogies.

Ahmet Aykac

If one looks at the Western experience, one can distinguish several clear epochs: Antiquity, the Feudal order, and the capitalist order in the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution. In Antiquity slave ownership was the source of power; those who owned the people had a right to the fruits of their efforts. In the Feudal period, the source of such power was the land; those who … [ Read more ]

Henry Mintzberg

If you want the imagination to see the future, then you better have the wisdom to appreciate the past. An obsession with the present—with what’s “hot”, and what’s “in”—may be dazzling, but all that does is blind everyone to the reality. Show me a chief executive who ignores yesterday, who favors the new outsider over the experienced insider, the quick fix over steady progress, and … [ Read more ]

Peter Senge

From both a practical and theoretical standpoint, senior executives are expected to provide insight and vision about how the world is evolving over the next 10 to 30 years. But Americans probably have less sense of history than almost any culture on the planet and we seem to be, if anything, hell-bent on having even less sense of history. Understanding the past is yet another … [ Read more ]

Douglas Rushkoff

The Industrial Age was based on a new relationship with time. Instead of paying people for the things they produced, we began to pay people for their time. The Industrial Age also brought a new kind of time-based money. In order to transact, merchants and companies needed to borrow coin, and then pay it back with interest. In a sense, it is money with a … [ Read more ]

Otto Neugebauer

The common belief that we gain “historical perspective” with increasing distance seems to me to utterly misrepresent the actual situation. “What we gain is merely confidence in generalization that we would never dare to make if we had access to the real wealth of contemporary evidence.

Harry Truman

There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.

Mark Twain

History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

Will Durant

One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.

Niccoló Machiavelli

Wise men say, and not without reason, that whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who have been, and ever will be, animated by the same passions and thus they must necessarily have the same results.

David McCullough

A sense of history is essential to anyone who wants to be a leader, because history is both about people and about cause and effect. The American historian Samuel Eliot Morison liked to say that history teaches us how to behave–that is, what to do and what not to do in a variety of situations. History is the human story.

History also shows how the … [ Read more ]

Darrol J. Stanley

“History is economics in action,” as Karl Marx noted. Marx, who got almost everything else wrong but most likely got this right, connected economics to everyday reality.

In their famous book The Lessons of History, Will and Ariel Durant explain that economics in action is the contest among individuals, groups, classes, and states for food, fuel, materials, and economic power.

David Edgerton

When we think about technology, we immediately think about invention and innovation and the future, and not about how things come into use. We’re always so enthusiastic about what’s going to happen in five or 10 years’ time. But we lack an explicit history of technology, by which I mean a history of the vast number of products that are in use at any particular … [ Read more ]

Soren Kierkegaard

Life can only be understood by looking back, but can only be lived by looking forward.

Hermann Simon

It can be said that the human being has changed very little during the known course of history. The statements by Plato, Aristotle, or Seneca about the human being, his/her behaviour and conduct, are as accurate today as they were in ancient times. We gain, therefore, valuable insight when we interpret current developments and the future in light of historical analogies.

Peter Drucker

The greatest weakness of American business is that it knows no history.

Watts Wacker

The information society is completed — it’s actually been around about 90 years. Now we’re beginning the post-information society. In Alvin Toffler’s terms, any time one of these new ‘waves’ comes in, like when the agricultural economy started giving way to the industrial economy, you have an ‘epoch of uncertainty.’ Now we’re at a point where the uncertainty may never stabilize — there is … [ Read more ]