Even Trivial Incidents Can Spark Disaster When Wise Leadership Is Absent

The astute observer of affairs will keep his finger on the pulse of unfolding events.  He will make his observations, draw his own conclusions, and adjust his behavior accordingly.  It is of no use to pretend that something is not what it clearly is; to live in denial is to live with a suspended sentence hovering over one’s head.  For when the conditions are right for a fire, any spark can be the cause of a conflagration.

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The Life And Travels Of Leo Africanus

The diplomat and traveler now known as Leo Africanus was born Hasan Ibn Muhammad al-Wazan al-Fasi (حسن ابن محمد الوزان الفاسي‎) in the early 1490s in Spanish Grenada; of the exact date we are not certain.  This period was not a favorable one to be an Andalusian Arab in Spain, as the last vestiges of the old caliphate were being pushed off the Iberian peninsula by the nascent Castilian kingdom.  When Granada passed into Christian hands, Leo’s family found it expedient to move to Fez in Morocco, and there he received a good education.

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Military Adventurism Brings Disaster To The Reckless

In the year 1260, Tuscany was engulfed in war.  The cities of Florence and Siena were engaged in mutual hostilities.  About twenty-five miles from Siena was located the small town of Montalcino, which happened to be a friend and ally of Florence.  The Sienese hoped that by staging an attack on Montalcino they might be able to compel the Florentines to send an expedition for its relief–an expedition that, they hoped, they could lure into a trap.  To this end, the Sienese government publicly announced their intention to move against Montalcino, and watched to see what the Florentine response would be.

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The Porfirio Insight: Knowing Where You Came From, And Where You’re Going

This is the third podcast I’ve done on Michael Porfirio, aka The G Manifesto.  They’ve proven to be extremely popular.  In this latest episode, we talk about the “Porfirio Insight”: the ability to step outside yourself, take stock in your life, and see where you are headed.  It’s all about the journey, and whether the trip has been a memorable one. We’ve all only got one life to live…so you’d better make it count.

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The Fall Of Singapore: The Price Of Inept Leadership

It is a pleasant thing to recall our victories.  Far less pleasant is to be reminded of our defeats.  And yet there is something sublime in the recounting of a disaster; provided, of course, one does not have to be on the spot at the time of its unfolding.  Catastrophes provide more fertile material for instruction than do successes; and the conscientious historian should make a strenuous effort to discover why they unfolded as they did.

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Be Scrupulous About What You Write: The Lesson Of Rhazes

Abū Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakariyyā al-Rāzī (known in the West by his Latinized name Rhazes) is considered one of the most original and accomplished of the medieval Muslim physicians.  An impressive list of achievements is linked to his name: he pioneered the study of pediatrics, ophthalmology, synthesized laboratory acids, composed treatises on smallpox and measles, wrote voluminously in a number of scientific fields, and had extensive practical experience with treating patients.

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