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Politics and Conscience: Dag Hammarskjöld on the Art of Ethical Leadership

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“It is difficult to hear the low voice of reason or see the clear little light of decency, but, of course, both endure and both remain perfectly safe guides.”—Dag Hammarskjöld Dag Hammarskjöld served as secretary-general of the United Nations from 1953 until his tragic death in a suspicious plane crash in 1961. During those years he saw the fledgling international organizat “It is difficult to hear the low voice of reason or see the clear little light of decency, but, of course, both endure and both remain perfectly safe guides.”—Dag Hammarskjöld Dag Hammarskjöld served as secretary-general of the United Nations from 1953 until his tragic death in a suspicious plane crash in 1961. During those years he saw the fledgling international organization through numerous crises with skill that made him a star on the international stage. As readers of his now-classic diary, Markings, are aware, Hammarskjöld understood political leadership as an honor calling for resourcefulness, humility, moral clarity, and spiritual reflection. In this accessible handbook, acclaimed biographer Roger Lipsey details the political and personal code by which Hammarskjöld lived and made critical decisions. What emerges is the portrait of a man who struck a remarkable balance between patience and action, empathy and reserve, policy and people. Structured through short sections on themes such as courage, facing facts, and negotiation, Politics and Conscience offers a vision of ethical leadership as relevant today as it was in Hammarskjöld’s time.


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“It is difficult to hear the low voice of reason or see the clear little light of decency, but, of course, both endure and both remain perfectly safe guides.”—Dag Hammarskjöld Dag Hammarskjöld served as secretary-general of the United Nations from 1953 until his tragic death in a suspicious plane crash in 1961. During those years he saw the fledgling international organizat “It is difficult to hear the low voice of reason or see the clear little light of decency, but, of course, both endure and both remain perfectly safe guides.”—Dag Hammarskjöld Dag Hammarskjöld served as secretary-general of the United Nations from 1953 until his tragic death in a suspicious plane crash in 1961. During those years he saw the fledgling international organization through numerous crises with skill that made him a star on the international stage. As readers of his now-classic diary, Markings, are aware, Hammarskjöld understood political leadership as an honor calling for resourcefulness, humility, moral clarity, and spiritual reflection. In this accessible handbook, acclaimed biographer Roger Lipsey details the political and personal code by which Hammarskjöld lived and made critical decisions. What emerges is the portrait of a man who struck a remarkable balance between patience and action, empathy and reserve, policy and people. Structured through short sections on themes such as courage, facing facts, and negotiation, Politics and Conscience offers a vision of ethical leadership as relevant today as it was in Hammarskjöld’s time.

46 review for Politics and Conscience: Dag Hammarskjöld on the Art of Ethical Leadership

  1. 4 out of 5

    ***Book Lady ***

    A look into the life of a Great man. The title speaks to the content. In 137 pages the author covers his subject well and conveys the fact that this was an enlightened man. One who saw the world in a different way. If you are interested in conflict resolution and an ethical approach to leadership, then this book should speak to you. It is timely material today, as it was when Hammarskjold lived and died.

  2. 5 out of 5

    A. Blumer

    I gotta say, Hammarskjold's words never failed to leave me with a sense of hope... which was much needed after/during the insanity of the last few years. Dag here was the Secretary General of the UN from 1953 till 1961 when his plane was shot down in Zambi over political unrest. He is still the youngest person to have had that position at 47 years old. "Mankind will reach its goal if we pay the price extracted by reality." "...dialog requires a few things: objectivity, willingness to listen & consi I gotta say, Hammarskjold's words never failed to leave me with a sense of hope... which was much needed after/during the insanity of the last few years. Dag here was the Secretary General of the UN from 1953 till 1961 when his plane was shot down in Zambi over political unrest. He is still the youngest person to have had that position at 47 years old. "Mankind will reach its goal if we pay the price extracted by reality." "...dialog requires a few things: objectivity, willingness to listen & considerable restraint. These are all human qualities. Not one of them remarkable, but all are called for." "We are on dangerous ground if we believe any individual, any nation, or any ideology has a monopoly on human dignity, righteousness, and liberty." "Is it possible to both remember and yet work toward a new creation? More than once in recent history we have done so--we know how, though the bitterness of past atrocities are slow to leach out and certain memories are ineffaceable." Roger Lipsey: "Either the game of Nationalist goes on to an unforeseeable conclusion, or the higher duty of creative action finds purchase with leaders in whom 'The People' have places their trust and hope."

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jim Gallen

    “Politics & Conscience” is a fascinating dive into the deep waters of the late United Nations Secretary General (1953-1961) Dag Hammarskjold’s ethical leadership. While this work contains biographical facts, it is not a biography but an examination of the principles Hammarskjold followed in dealing with the diverse pressures of international politics. Drawing on speeches, diaries and letters written by his subject, author Roger Lipsey crafted his chapters around topics that illustrate the qualiti “Politics & Conscience” is a fascinating dive into the deep waters of the late United Nations Secretary General (1953-1961) Dag Hammarskjold’s ethical leadership. While this work contains biographical facts, it is not a biography but an examination of the principles Hammarskjold followed in dealing with the diverse pressures of international politics. Drawing on speeches, diaries and letters written by his subject, author Roger Lipsey crafted his chapters around topics that illustrate the qualities that made Hammarskjold a success. Chapters focus on what we make of fate, the tug of war between truth and the maintenance of office, the need to face facts, chains of causation, dialogue, negotiations, the healing power of time, perseverance, courage, the maturity of mind, the truth of evil, and humility This small book provides in insight into a soul molded by Christian scripture and classical tradition supplemented by Asian thinkers and exchanges with artists, such as John Steinbeck, scientists, philosophers and others. I found much practical teaching on these pages. We learn that “The only reply to distrust is candor” that impatience can be a goad, but not a guide and a reminder that “Time is a great healer.” Hammarskjold’s rules for negotiations provide guides for anyone who strives for agreements with others. I find “Politics & Conscience” to provide an introduction to an aspect of the history of the 1950s frequently over looked. The author has written a biography “”Hammarskjold: A Life” which I have never read but now want to. It compels the reader to slow down and think about the principles we should follow in our personal and vocational lives. It is small enough to be read quickly, but should be read deliberately, taking time to digest the lessons it offers us. I did receive a free copy of this book through the Amazon Vine Program.

  4. 5 out of 5

    JoAnn

    To be fair I have been a fan of Dag Hammarskjold since a young adult! He is an impressive person - wish we had politicians like him still. This book is a good reminder about how servant leaders lead.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Susanne

    Thoughtful and well considered. Worth the time. Such a shame he was lost too soon.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Eric

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    Kat

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    Emily Lyons

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    jennet wheatstonelllsl

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    Adria Batt

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    Fabiola Rivera (Amrit Sukhmani Kaur)

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    Lady Goodman

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    Micielle

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