Arthashastra by Kautilya
Translated into English from Sanskrit by R. Shamasastry
Bangalore Government Press 1915
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Chanakya lived from 350 to 283 BC and was a scholar, teacher and guardian of Emperor Chandragupta Maurya, founder of the Mauryan Empire.
Written in Sanskrit and consisting of 15 chapters, 380 Shlokas and 4968 Sutras, the Arthashastra can best be described as a treatise on ancient administration with key themes on economic policy, military strategy, penal laws and kingship.
It is also one of the earliest texts that clearly sets out the duties, responsibilities and core competencies of kingship. Often clustered in a literary genre known as Mirror for Princes, where polical ideas are expressed in the form of advice to rulers, it hás some key leadership messages which are relevant for the modern day business setting. According to the Arthashastra, effective leaders:
have core values around duty, self-discipline, self-learning and social responsibility
set the right tone for others to follow
exercise compassion, benovalance and forgivenss
are highly motivated and energetic
have key qualities and attributes around valor, maturity, intelligence, consistency, truthfulness, clarity, assurity, virtue, humbleness, foresight, relection, inquiry, listening and rightousness
are thoughtful and perceptive decision makers who readily seek counsel and deliberate on decisons but are also quick witted and decisive when they need to be
are trained from an early age