Paul Ohana & David Arnow

The perfect guide for today!


The bible's vocation

When Deuteronomy calls us to ask our fathers and our elders, it also invites us to engage in a permanent dialog with the texts in order to help us move forward in our daily lives.
Thus, the Bible’s vocation, due to its rich teachings, is to raise doubts and questions and to open up avenues for reflection. It is not only a collection of “tales and legends” of patriarchs and matriarchs. It is our history. That of our ancestors, and ours. The Bible is thus a guide that accompanies us throughout life, in joys as well as in sorrows, in times of action and in hours of introspection.
Obviously therefore, the Bible can inform practices in the business world. That is exactly what we find in this book by Paul Ohana and David Arnow, an exceptionally good case-based approach which discovers striking analogies between biblical characters and current situations and illuminates paths we can follow in our business practices, today and tomorrow.
In that context I would like to mention Moses whom the authors call “a mission driven leader.” The careers of Moses and his brother, Aaron, are linked, through their relationship as siblings, but above all through the responsibilities that have been put upon them by God.
With all the strength of a great leader, Moses guides the Israelites on their way out of Egypt. When they are in the desert, he’s like a CEO who defines strategic objectives, yet does not always quite understand the needs of his people. He does not accept his people’s doubts, setbacks, fears and bouts of ill-humor. Aaron, on the other hand, offers individualized leadership, as would a human resources manager, with a rare ability to listen as he strives for the goal of social peace and serenity.
The alliance of the two brothers is essential in order to solve the problems the Israelites confront. When one acts without the other they sometimes make serious errors. For example, when Moses is receiving the Law on Mount Sinai and leaves the people under Aaron’s control, Aaron acquiesces to their desire to build the golden calf. Likewise, after Aaron’s death, when Moses faces a stream of endless complaints from the people he strikes the rock and as a result never makes it to the Promised Land. So the alliance between the two is of the utmost importance.
In the same way, the balance of strengths and counter-strengths is essential for optimal management in the business world. It helps to guard against an excesses of optimism or pessimism, and leads to wise investment decisions based on a sound assessment of the risks involved.
Together, the three archangels, Gabriel, Raphael, and Michael, constitute a true force. One brings strength, the other, compassion and the last, equilibrium. So too in business, we all must contribute our special talents to help a venture develop and prosper. It reminds me of the motto of the French Air Force which I especially like: “United to Face Anything!” Harnessing a diversity of skills creates enormous power. 
Leadership in the Bible combines the wisdom of the texts with experience in the corporate world. It creates a way to re-read the Bible and make it a permanent source of inspiration for all situations. What touches me in particular is that when I was working on my MBA I drew many connections between the all economic theories and case studies used by the Boston Consulting Group and stories and parables from the Bible or the Talmud. And I was doing it with Paul Ohana’s cousin, Michael Ohana. We had thought about writing a book like the one you have in your hands! We had dreamed of it; Paul Ohana and David Arnow did it.
Reading this book will convince even the most skeptical that the Bible’s wisdom and values can be adapted to today’s global economic world. It will stimulate new questions and a fresh look at the principles of leadership with which you are familiar. Because leadership is an eternal beginning and requires daily redefinition to ensure its sustainability, I invite you to draw inspiration from Moses and Aaron, to maximize profits and business ethics, justice and mercy.

Haïm Korsia 
Chief Rabbi of France