Principles and Practice

Written by Marc Neilsen on December 2nd, 2009

I really enjoyed Charles Koch’s The Science of Success for a number of reasons, but the book’s most important strength was the unification of both principle and practice. Throughout the semester, we have poured over philosophical concepts and attempted to interpret their practical significance. What are the real world consequences of this idea? How can we integrate this theory into our own lives? This seemed to be one of the most important aspects of my Koch Scholars experience. After all, what is the point of knowing something if it doesn’t have any application?

The Science of Success integrates basic principles into a real world situation through the development of MBM (Market-Based Management). Of course MBM isn’t an automatic “silver bullet” to any problem in any society, but the fundamental ideals which shapes MBM can be understood and utilized by practically any society or organization.

Recently while in a class devoted to Middle Eastern politics, we were discussing the possibility of establishing free markets in the Middle East. As was realized in Iraq early on during the American occupation, capitalism as we understand it, often clashes with the local culture of another society. Therefore, attempts to truly liberalize Middle Eastern markets have been incredibly challenging. Nevertheless, what is often misunderstood is that the principles which contribute to our conception of capitalism, are almost universal. Self-interest and incentives are two tools, for example, which are commonly found in any society across the globe. The object is to utilize such principles in a cultural context (i.e. China’s slow move towards free markets).

The Science of Success seems to support such a notion. Principles should be universal and practically utilized. And whether it is the entrepreneur, the employer, the employee, the politician, or the every-day citizen, the bond between essential principles and their practice can lead to great accomplishments and lasting value.


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