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From the 1990s a new development has taken place within the framework of ‘Shakespeare in popular culture’, and more specifically of so-called ‘Self-help Shakespeare’, namely what Douglas Lanier has termed ‘the Shakespeare corporate-management manual’. What underlies them all is the notion that, if Shakespeare is famous for portraying universal human nature, he has a good deal to teach the world of business and management. To this effect, they provide quotations and discussions of a number of plays, particularly Henry V, Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, Julius Caesar and The Merchant of Venice. The value and usefulness of these manuals have been contested, but they could also be objected to as regards the scant attention paid to some other Shakespearean plays, such as Timon of Athens and Troilus and Cressida. It is our contention that, if we were to accept and follow the logic and aims of their authors, Troilus and Cressida could be at least as relevant to business and management as those other plays. This is so not only in its implications for managerial leadership and decision-making, but also on the grounds of more abstract but applicable notions of value and marketability, which are both defended —and opposed— in the play. This paper will seek to explain these notions both in an early-modern context and in their possible relevance to modern entrepreneurial activity.
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