Cautionary Tales – The French Knight’s Guide to Corporate Culture

France, 1346. The army of King Philip VI is the preeminent killing machine in Europe. He is accustomed to crushing any force foolish enough to oppose it, and now fully expects to destroy a motley band of English invaders in a field near the village of Crécy.

Unless night falls, Philip’s army lies broken and bleeding in the mud. Something went wrong? The French knights seem to have failed to update their corporate culture.

Cautionary Tales is written by me, Tim Harford, with Andrew Wright. It is produced by Ryan Dilly with support from Courtney Guarino and Emily Vaughn.

Sound design and original music by Pascal Weiss. Julia Barton edited the scripts.

Thanks to the Pushkin Industries team, including Mia Lobel, Jacob Weisberg, Heather Fein, John Schnaars, Carly Migliori, Eric Sandler, Emily Rostek, Royston Beserve, Maggie Taylor, Nicole Morano, Danielle Lahan and Maya Koenig.

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Further reading and listening

Thomas Schelling Micromotives and macrobehavior

Warren Ellis Crecy

Lynn White Jr. Medieval technology and social change

Andrew Ayton and Philip Preston Battle of Crécy

Saul David Military mistakes

Julian Humphreys Battle of Crécy History Extra

Boris Groisberg, Jeremiah Lee, Jesse Price and J. Yo-Jude ChengLeadership Guide to Corporate CultureHarvard Business Review

Marty Baron presentation at the Reuters Institute