Inspiration from the Founding Fathers and Mothers

Posted 07.03.2008

Paul Giamatti in HBO's John Adams

Earlier this year, HBO broadcast the mini-series John Adams, based on David McCullough’s Pulitzer Prize winning biography. If you didn’t see the series, your July 4 gift to yourself should be to rent or buy the DVD’s and watch it.

Apart from the beauty of the production, I was awed by the sheer courage and sacrifice of both the founders of the United States and their families. Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney as John and Abigail Adams All of this comes to life in the portrayals of John and Abigail Adams, Franklin, Jefferson, Washington and the rest. At such a distance, it’s easy to forget or overlook the enormity of the risk these people took in challenging the dominant empire of the era. They literally had no clue of the impact of the countless decisions they had to make starting with a declaration of independence.

In business it’s common to find oneself in situations where decisions have to be made with imperfect knowledge or information. Immersing ourselves in history can refresh our perspective about the comparative magnitude of the decisions we face and inspire us to make the best choices we can given the knowledge and the values we have. Do yourself a favor and watch or read John Adams. Happy Fourth!