It’s easy to retreat into echo chambers that reinforce our own opinions.

K Street Coaching® believes we must address head-on ideas that unsettle us. The Moral Compass Executive Seminar series facilitates uncomfortable conversations using literary, historical and philosophical texts as our focus.

Moral Compass Executive Seminars ask us to step back, slow down, and measure our lives against age-old ideas in a collegial, challenging setting. This fall, we will examine life through the lens of Sima Qian’s history of the Qin Dynasty:

A man has only one death. That death may be as weighty as Mount Tai, or it may be as light as a goose feather. It all depends on the way he uses it. — Sima Qian’s letter to Ren An

“It was a great discussion, and quite magical when one thinks of how such a small group of strangers could generate such a range of observations about an ancient text in such a short period of time.”

Sima Qian, Letter to Ren An (11 pages), Monday 9/25, 12-1 pm

The year is 99 BC. The city is Chinese Han Dynasty capital Chang’an. Court astrologer Sima Qian knows where all the bodies are buried. When he speaks up in defense of a general who has been defeated and captured by Xiongnu barbarians, Emperor Wu is furious. He sentences Sima Qian to death.

But Sima Qian is driven by higher principles. A civil servant lacking the means to commute his sentence by paying a fine, Sima Qian submits to castration and imprisonment. And there he writes. And writes. And writes.

These writings today survive as the Records of the Grand Historian. This fall the Moral Compass Executive Seminars will explore Sima Qian’s biographies of the short-lived Qin Dynasty covering the years 221-206 BC. The tales of honor, intrigue, and consolidation of power will provide a startling set of lenses through which to view contemporary life. We will start by discussing Sima Qian’s letter from prison explaining his monumental undertaking to his dear friend Ren An.

All readings in this series are selected for impact and brevity to fit our busy Washington schedules. Seminars take place at 1875 K Street NW.

Register now for free:

For a list of past seminars, please click here.

Sign up now to receive email updates and learn about the latest Moral Compass Executive Seminars.