Think for a minute about the people who attract you most. You want to spend time with them, listen to what they have to say. If they are academics, you want to read what they have written, go listen to their talks, even take their courses. In the particular context of this book, I am thinking of academics in the various disciplines associated with management, but you could be thinking of people in any field or from your personal life – or any number of academics whose stories I did not have room to include.
These people have a light that shines out and becomes a form of what physicists might call a ‘strange attractor.’ It is a light of intellectual curiosity, a willingness to take risks, that guides them through their work and the questions they ask. It is a light that leads them to question the status quo and provide new ways of thinking or operating. It is a light that leads them to want to make the world a better place and, in the case of management academics, to do the research, thinking and theorizing, teaching, and writing that advance that desire. It is a light that enables them to see across boundaries and make connections that others have not made – and then make sense of those connections.