Cyrus The Great

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11/12/2013
Business Ethics

Cyrus The Great

Xenophon's “Cyrus The Great” is an excellent narrative on one of the most profound and inspirational leaders in history. Cyrus' philosophies and ideas on human rights and politics, are referred to by many leaders, still today. These philosophies and ideas can be applied directly to many aspects of business ethics. His perspective on leadership, morals, and governing can also be applied to everyday life, because of the overall benevolent message of his ideas. Cyrus also wrote, what is believed by many scholars to be the first declaration of human rights ever transcribed. Morally, the way Cyrus lived and ruled can serve as a model for the way people should strive to live; especially people in the business world.

“Cyrus The Great” was born around 580 BC in Anshan, Persia, which today, is Iran. He was the son of Cambsyes I, who also served as one of Cyrus' greatest mentors as he was growing up in the Achaemenid empire. Cyrus was actually named after Cambsyes' father, Cyrus I, hence Cyrus II. Cyrus had a rather catered life growing up, but was motivated to earn the respect of his peers. Almost as if he had a chip on his shoulder because he was born into royalty. He quickly learned that the way to transcend himself, was to expand his knowledge. He began to study vigorously and read many books that men of his father's court lent him. He became known by them as the “Well of Knowledge.” Cyrus' mental toughness became a huge part of his military successes because he was able to out-stratagize his enemies.

Cyrus obtained much of his character from his father. He often consulted with him before venturing out on his quests. Cyrus' uncle, Syazarees, first appealed to Cyrus to help lead an army to Media against the Assyrian forces that were threatening to the Achaemenid empire. Cyrus jumped at the opportunity and was chosen by the supreme council lead an expeditionary force into Media. He gathered an army and began his conquests to the east. He went on to conquer the Median empire, the Lydian empire, and the Neo-Babylonian empire. He then established the Persian empire, which extended all the way from Hellespont, which was in modern day Turkey, to the Indus river. Cyrus died in battle in December of 530 BC while fighting the Massageteans, a nomadic tribe along the Syr Darya river. He was buried in his capital city of Pasargadae, in Iran.

I think there are a plethora of reasons as to why this book was chosen for class. First of all, there are many many ideas that relate directly to business ethics, and ethics in general. Leadership, being one of the big ones. But also, morals and ethics play a role on a big stage throughout book, with the way that Cyrus conducts himself as a leader. Cyrus had all the makings of a great boss, in a business sense. Except, it was on a much grander scale that he exemplified his leader-like qualities. He was able to justify the end and the means, by which he got there, because he ruled in a way that was not tyrannical. Unlike many of his predecessors and foes. He conquered other people's, but was still respected because of his moral code and set of ethics. “Cyrus The Great” serves as a guide that shows the ideal way people should try to run a business. Even their lives.

I think what I absorbed most from reading “Cyrus The Great” in a businesses aspect, was how to efficiently and ethically run a business. This is because I looked at all of the things that Cyrus accomplished throughout his campaigns, and they were almost all correlated to business. Just in different forms. For example, the army that Cyrus led, to me, represented the employee stakeholder. They were in a sense, his employees because they were fighting for him and obeying his commands, in order to receive sustenance and rewards. They felt like they had incentives.

Cyrus managed to get all of his 'employees' on board with...
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