My Harry Potter week coincided with Lumos 2006, an academic symposium held in Las Vegas this weekend for fans of the book series. I didn't attend -- knew nothing about it until it was sold out, and lacked the time anyway -- but I did notice that Dr. Tom Morris lectured on "The Amazing Practical Wisdom of Harry Potter."
I'd feel jealous if I hadn't already read his book, If Harry Potter Ran General Electric. It's not so much speculation of how a teenage wizard would chair a Muggle corporation as it is a thesis on how J.K. Rowling's books provide good examples of leadership and innovation.
Not surprisingly, Morris spends much of the book pointing out the strong leadership qualities of Albus Dumbledore, who leads by example and inspires the kind of loyalty that CEOs dream of.
Harry, in turn, develops his own leadership skills by emulating the headmaster, adopting a sense of ethics and earning the respect of his fellow students despite his own adolescent flaws.
The book is both business management theory and literary scholarship, and it performs both roles well. Sadly, though, it never answers the question: how many Muggles does it take to screw in a light bulb?
I should mention that Morris previously wrote If Aristotle Ran General Motors. So he has the makings of a pretty good book series. Now what? I suggest future titles:
If Wolverine Ran Gillette
If Calista Flockhart Ran Hormel
If Plato Ran Play-Doh
If Captain Jack Sparrow Ran Napster
If Abraham Lincoln Ran Enron
If Magic Johnson Ran Magic Johnson Theatres
If Dracula Ran the American Red Cross
If Legolas Ran Sephora
If Lady Godiva Ran Godiva
If Jean-Luc Picard Ran General Foods International Coffees*
* I know it's obscure, but can anyone explain the connection in this last title? The first reader to do so will receive 100,000 Brevity points.