Summary of The Samurai Leader

Leading with the Courage, Integrity and Honor of the Samurai Code

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The Samurai Leader book summary
Why twenty-first century managers need seventeenth-century Samurai ethics and discipline.


7 Overall

7 Applicability

6 Innovation

6 Style


Author Bill Diffenderffer clearly and usefully applies the ideas and practices of Japanese Samurai warriors, and, more generally, of Zen Buddhism, to business. Some readers may be skeptical about mixing business with religion - especially with a religion that is unfamiliar to many Western readers. However, recommends this book to managers who want to sharpen their focus. Diffenderffer makes a convincing case that the Samurai mindset, conduct and ethical code can transform both your business practices and the practices of those around you. He alternates tales about Samurai principles with examples of contemporary managers who act upon them. The result is a very readable book - but that’s actually one of its weaknesses. As Diffenderffer applies - and popularizes - Zen and warrior concepts, he moves away from some of their more complex, but nevertheless valuable, elements and risks diluting their meaning. Still, you’ll find plenty left to ponder.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What the Samurai code is;
  • What some of its beliefs are; and
  • How to apply the Samurai code to your business practices.


The Code of the Samurai
The Samurai warriors of seventeenth-century Japan lived during a time defined by complex political maneuvers and frequent combat. To stay focused, they needed guidance. Thus, they developed a code of behavior that served as their touchstone. It emphasized strict...
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About the Author

Bill Diffenderffer is CEO of Skybus Airlines, a former vice president at IBM and a former senior vice president at Continental Airlines.

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