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Taurus Leaders: Value Statements
The Human Story Is an Enduring One
Taurus movie impresario George Lucas insists that his Star Wars movies are not about space gizmos. In an article written by entertainment editor Rob Lowman, which appeared in the Los Angeles Daily News (May 15, 2005), Lucas comments, “I have been saying this ever since day one, when people were saying [Star Wars] was all about spaceships. You could do it with chariots and tell the same story.”
Right or wrong, the idea that human existence is the perennial reliving of a single archetypal drama underlies the Taurus leader’s approach to life. In the Taurus worldview there are big enduring Shakespearian (who most literary historians believe was born a Taurus) themes that inevitably dominate our energy and our consciousness. In addition to Star Wars, Taurus-produced movies such as Gone With the Wind (David Selznick), Citizen Kane (Taurus Orson Welles portraying Taurus William Randolph Hearst) and King Kong (originally produced by David Selznick; big budget remake created on the watch of United Artist’s Stacey Snider), reveal the compelling Taurus fascination with big-picture themes, such as power, ambition, greed, hate, beauty, love, and heroism.
It is within this conceptual context that the Taurus leader always seems to be dealing with the issue of long-term success—and two strategic beliefs tend to present themselves. The first of these is that meaningful human existence is predicated upon our ability to manifest such timeless virtues as bravery, sacrifice, patience, loyalty, faith, kindness, and generosity in our daily lives. The second of these is the recognition that life is indeed hard and that occasionally stopping to do a little rose smelling—having a nice supper, taking a bubble bath, catching a fish, telling a joke, flirting with the deliveryman, giving peace a chance—is the only way to remain balanced and sane.
Plain old-fashioned hard work, though, takes a particularly compelling place in such an earnest and traditional worldview. Edward De- Bartolo is said to have commented that one should always work harder than one plays. And Jack Eckerd grew to be so fed up with what he perceived as a declining American work ethic that he co-authored a book about it, Why America Doesn’t Work (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1991), in which he comments, “Meaningful work is a fundamental dimension of human existence, an expression of our very nature.”
This is a good thing to know if you happen to work for a Taurus.
Success Is Built from the Ground Up—Literally
If you are a typical Taurus leader you likely believe that God is an architect. This is not a sign of disrespect. On the contrary, it is hard for a Taurus to imagine that anyone would prefer to think of God as some sort of nebulous abstraction dealing primarily with ephemeral things, such as an afterlife.
In a discussion of great Taurus business leaders, it’s hard not to notice how many of them have made their fortunes from moving dirt and building something. Edwin DeBartolo and Jack Eckerd mined the gold of suburban shopping centers; Henry Kaiser built massive roads and dams before turning his attention to the urban development of Oahu. The great architect I.M. Pei designed or refurbished some of the world’s greatest buildings, including museums ranging from the Louvre to the National Art Gallery to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Even William Randolph Hearst, whose original wealth came from his father’s mines (and if a little metaphorical license may be allowed), mined the nation’s “dirt” and published it into a business empire.
Even those Taurus leaders whose enterprises are not directly connected with building or land development tend to have serious outdoor interests, including farming, ranching, riding, fishing, hiking, gardening and, yes, even conservation. Particularly well-regarded in naturalist circles is William Hewlett, who once sued the developers of the Squaw Valley ski resort for cutting down a hidden copse of trees and who donated a sizable tract of Lake Tahoe beachfront to the U.S. Forest Service to protect it from condo development. And there’s just something quintessentially Taurean in the fact that Netscape founder Marc Andreessen was born to an agricultural seed salesman and an employee at outdoor outfitter Lands’ End.
If one takes the classical sense of history vested in most Taurus leaders along with their appreciation of the land, it is not surprising to discover an affinity for significant historical edifices, particularly those with a sense of natural setting and housing important creative works. I.M. Pei’s work has already been mentioned, and the lives of Taurus leaders are filled with projects such as Henry Kaiser’s Hawaiian Village and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences founded by Edwin Land. Ultimately, though, the essential Taurus architectural icon is likely the castle.
It’s easy to see where Queen Elizabeth fits into such an observation, but the most compelling example of the castle phenomenon is reflected in the life of William Randolph Hearst. His 165-room, 127-acre San Simeon estate, now a designated historical landmark best known as Hearst Castle, was every bit, as one observer has described it, the kingdom of a feudal lord. In its day the most prestigious site for Hollywood hobnobbing, the estate at one time boasted the world’s largest private zoo and what was estimated to be the world’s priciest private collection of art.
As famed playwright George Bernard Shaw once commented, no doubt to Hearst’s inestimable delight, the estate was “the place God would have built if he had the money.”
Let Your Creed Be Social Responsibility
To a Taurus leader philanthropy is rarely an afterthought. While they are certainly not alone among business leaders in donating to good causes, there is a passion and purity to the good works of Taurus that is unique among astrological signs. Theirs is an innate appreciation that serious material resources and long-term commitment, not just good intentions or splashy publicity, are required to help remove some of the of the hardship from humanity’s shoulders.
One finds ample evidence of this in the Herculean efforts of The Gerber Foundation, The Kaiser Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation, and the George Lucas Educational Foundation. William Kaiser’s Kaiser Permanente pioneered the inestimably important field of nonprofit HMOs. Jack Eckerd’s Eckerd Youth Alternatives has touched the lives of 60,000 at-risk children and is reported to be the nation’s biggest nonprofit organization for troubled kids.
Beyond the quantification, however, one takes the sense that Taurus has a builder’s sense regarding what material is really important, and a true benefactor’s soul regarding what must be addressed for society to benefit in the long-term. How indicative of the Taurus character that Netscape founder Marc Andreesen made the Mosaic program, on which Netscape is based, free to all comers, and that his current project, a Web-based social networking project called Ning, is also free to all. And there is Polaroid’s Edwin Land, who in funding the new home of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences saw the value of a welcoming space where scientists and humanists could freely communicate, calling it “a house of beautiful ideas.”
The final words in this chapter shall also be given to Edwin Land. A long-term advocate of public television, Land once explained in Congressional testimony why the medium had such promise. It encapsulates the best of the Taurus leader’s worldview:
We need to search for ways to tell young people what we come to know as we grow older . . . the permanent and wonderful things about life.