Martin Gutmann Profile

  • Martin Gutmann is the best-selling author of The Unseen Leader: How History Can Help Us Rethink Leadership.

  • Professor of Management at the Lucerne School of Business.

  • His teaching, research and speaking explores how the past can help us explain contemporary challenges around subjects such as leadership and sustainability.
  • When Martin is not writing books, working with leaders and teams from various corporate and non-profit organizations or speaking at events, he is a Professor at the Lucerne School of Business and a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Management, Technology and Economics at ETH Zurich (where he was the founding Managing Director of the Swiss School of Public Governance from 2016-2020 and launched a program for future global public sector leaders).

    Martin is a regular keynote speaker and podcast guest, primarily in continental Europe, the UK and the US, but occasionally further afield as well.

    Martin has a Ph.D. in history from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, USA, an Executive MBA from IE Business School, Spain and higher education teacher’s training from Harvard University, USA and ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

    Martin doesn’t tweet or post on Instagram but if he did, it would probably be about his fruitless quest to bake the perfect sour-dough bread, his obsession with all things mountain (running, biking, skiing and climbing) and the various shenanigans of his three kids.

    Martin Gutmann Speaking Videos

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    Martin Gutmann's Speech Descriptions

    Why we celebrate the wrong leaders (and what to do about it)

    What history can teach us about leadership today

    Leadership in the age of poly-crisis and AI

    Dealing with complexity—in history, today, and in the future

    Sustainability—perspectives and actions for leaders

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    Books by Martin Gutmann:

    The Unseen Leader: How History Can Help Us Rethink Leadership

    The Unseen Leader delivers one simple but immensely powerful point: we need to radically rethink how we discuss leadership.

    In this book, American historian Martin Gutmann passionately challenges the received wisdom that history’s great leaders were individuals with a proclivity for action and brash words. Drawing on extensive historical scholarship and contemporary leadership theory, Gutmann delves into the journeys of four unknown or misunderstood leaders who achieved remarkable successes in vastly different environments—the Polar North, the deserts of Arabia, the sugar plantations of the Caribbean, and Second World War London. What emerges is an entirely new narrative on leadership. Contrary to the perception of heroic protagonists forging ahead boldly, history’s truly great leaders were often precisely those who didn’t need to generate excessive noise or activity. Instead, they skillfully minimized dramatic circumstances. Their stories challenge our present-day conception of leadership and can inspire the leaders of tomorrow.

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