What forces have shaped humanity most?

Daniel Quinn Mills is the Albert J. Weatherhead, Jr. Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus.  His tenure at Harvard lasted from 1976 to 2007.  He consults with major corporations and governments and lectures about management, leadership, strategy, economics and geopolitics.   He is an expert on the differences between Asian and Western leadership styles.  An American, Mills is also a member of the Innovation Council of Malaysia, a ministry level council chaired by the Prime Minister.

Mills has been interested in early stage businesses and as a director and investor has helped develop several firms.   He has been a director of a publicly listed company, chairing its audit committee for several years.  A thought leader, Mills has written books on leadership, geo-politics, investments, capital markets, business strategy, network organizations, demographics, marketing, empowerment, and union relations.  His most recent book is Master of Illusions:  Presidential Leadership, Strategic Independence and America’s Public Culture, published in 2007 by Cambridge University Press.   The book explores America’s role in the world in the aftermath of the second Iraqi War.

Widely and often quoted as well as seen in the national media, Mills has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, and been quoted in articles in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and Business Week.  He is a fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources.

  • Transcript


Question: What forces have shaped humanity most?

D. Quinn Mills: The most important thing that shapes humanity is human nature. In my view, it is a complex combination of good and bad--of altruistic impulses and impulses that are fundamentally selfish and difficult, and that's the most important thing. Now, in addition to that, shaping the history of the recent past by which I mean the last few thousand years, rapid growth the technology, which is very important, the improvements in our learning and skills and that things, so that the population has grown enormously. It's very interesting about that. When I was born, and I am not that old, there were about two billion people in the world. When I die, I expect it will be eight. So, that will have been a four-fold increase and enormous numbers. I think we underestimate how significant that has been, but those are the major factors I think that so there are demographics, there are technology and there are our basic nature. Those would be the factors I say that really shape us.

Recorded on: 9/27/07