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President’s Message 
Newsletter "SEI WORLD" Vol.449

Masayoshi Matsumoto President & CEO

Learn the Classics

In present-day society, where a wide variety of events interact with each other in complex ways, there is no telling what will happen tomorrow. There must be many cases where an event in one place exerts some influence over another place in a totally unexpected manner. Although business managers consider and compare as many possible choices as possible, it is impossible for them to predict a situation that may be described by the phrase “Bliss often falls into the hands of an unexpected person,” under the restrictions of a limited amount of time and incomplete assumption and information. In many cases, if a manager judges that the advantage of proposal A outweighs that of proposal B by a ratio of 6:4, the manager will decide to select proposal A, and then make efforts to increase the likelihood of success by correcting negative points while the project is on the move.

The decisions of managers determine their companies’ business results, affecting many stakeholders. In this age of chaos, however, it is never easy to make right decisions. One element that can help guide such managers is liberal arts. Liberal arts, which is more than mere knowledge, shares with us wisdom, ingenuity, self-examination, and lessons that have been accumulated and handed down successively over many generations. The essence of these excellent assets is found in the classics.

I learned that the word “classic” dates far back to the Roman period. In ancient Rome, warships were constructed not with taxes but with donations. Wealthy people who could donate “classics” (meaning a “fleet”) to protect the country in times of crisis over time began being called “classics.” Afterwards, the word further evolved to mean books and other works that provided the power of spirit in times of crisis. This is the origin of the current use of the word “classics.”*

The leaders of organizations need to tackle a wide variety of challenges, most of which are difficult to solve. In addition, problems sometime arise suddenly. However, if they take an interest in classics on a regular basis and learn deeply through such wisdom of the ancients, it follows that they will have many more choices and maintain calm even in times of difficulty. I believe that this is the purpose for enhancing your liberal arts background.

* Daigaku no hansei, Takenori Inoki, NTT Publishing Co., Ltd.; and Dante shinkyoku kogi (Dante’s Divine Comedy, Lecture Japanese Language Book), Tomonobu Imamichi, Misuzu Shobo

Masayoshi Matsumoto President & CEO


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