Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Duke '15
As requested (you'll note I jump back and forth in a sentence):
As the old adage goes, “Respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth”, meaning that we cannot always trust those in power to always act in favor for the greater good.
Quote seems to be by Einstein, which would be good to mention. If a quote can reasonably be attributed to a famous dead guy, you should do it even if it's wrong (Lincoln, Churchill, Newton, Caesar, MLK Jr, FDR, Gandhi, etc are good). "Act in favor for" would probably sound better as "act on behalf of".
Therefore, the questioning of authority is pertinent as our leaders may not always conduct the best decisions.
"Conduct" isn't used necessarily for "decisions". I'm often guilty of this myself, but using "the... of" makes for a rather lengthy subject for a sentence. "Therefore" is a stronger word than you ought to be using here since the only evidence you've provided thus far is a quote. Conclusive words like that are best saved for the end. Another thing to note is that "the questioning of authority" and "pertinent" don't balance out very well. When parallel clauses are taught in English class, it's typically only about matching tenses and such, but beyond proper syntax there's an aesthetic side to the language as well. The things you're saying about something should be more detailed than your elaboration on that thing. "Bob is old" is fine. "American actor, director, and producer Robert De Niro is old" feels like it's missing something. "Bob, whose full name is Robert De Niro, is an American actor, director, and producer" has enough meat on both sides to sound more complete as a sentence.
Numerous historical figures have displayed obdurate attitudes when given positions of authority, leading to decisions that may be detrimental to society.
I looked at another essay that used "obdurate" and had to look it up. I suppose it's an "SAT word". That's not bad, per se, but I don't think I've ever seen it used in literature. Maybe that's on me not having read enough. Anyways, "numerous" is a tricky word. For me, at least, it sticks out in most sentences. "Detrimental" is another. They're both great words, sure, but I personally would use "many" and "negative" or "bad".
For instance, Chairman Mao Zedong is a prime example of the flaws that result from an ignorant public.
This doesn't follow from your previous sentence. Your opener is about stubborn authority figures, not a necessity of public awareness.
During 1956, Mao launched the Great Leap Forward (GLF) in an attempt to modernize China and possibly even overtake advanced economies such as the United States and Great Britain.
"(GLF)" isn't used anywhere else in the essay, so it's not needed. "Possibly even" is ambiguous. Does it mean that Mao was looking to modernize China and hoped possibly to overtake the US and Britain or that it was clear that Mao wanted to modernize China and you believe that he may have also had the goals of overtaking the US and Britain? It's hard to avoid this ambiguity, so I'd just use "eventually" since you're talking about an attempt. You can attribute practically anything to a historical figure's thoughts and your readers won't care.
Many were fervently for this ill thought out plan and blindingly accepted Mao’s plan.
You're repeating the same statement twice. It's a nice structure though, I'd say "The citizens of China fervently supported their Chairman and blindingly accepted Mao's ill-thought-out plan." If you want to reference the same person repeatedly, you've got to cycle usages of their name. Dr. Bob Smith can be "Smith", "Dr. Smith", or "the doctor". Alternate the name with pronouns. For example: "Doctor Smith found himself... He was thinking of, but... Smith's wife didn't approve since... Smith, truthfully, didn't care... He would oftentimes..."
Lamentably, Mao had actually no experience in economic planning but refused to consider the opinions of his economic advisors.
"Unfortunately" is a fantastic word that's unfortunately very underused. "Lamentably" somewhat implies that somebody's lamenting. Unfortunately just implies general misfortune which is exactly what's going on here. The proper conjunction here is "and". First off, the sentence begins with "lamentably", which means you need to describe lamentable things. Mao having no economic experience and Mao not consulting economic advisers are both in fact quite lamentable. You'd say "My life is terrible. This happened and this happened and that happened". You gotta pile it on.
Unsurprisingly, the plan ended into widespread famine that devastated China.
I think it's been long enough that you should mention the GLF by name again, especially considering that your last sentence was about Mao's shortcomings. "Ended in" instead of "into". I think the next sentence should be added on the end of this one: "devastated China leaving over 10 million dead due to starvation or disease".
According to recent statistics, more than 10 million people died due to starvation or disease.
See above. Also, if you're not going to mention the actual source, there's no use in mentioning what you're according the numbers to. Make a source up if you want. "A recent study published by the Harvard Business School", "A 2010 paper in Nature", "A report by the New York Times" are all incredibly legitimate sounding and your reader doesn't care enough to challenge it.
Hence, this tragedy clearly demonstrates that questioning authority is crucial to a successful decision.
When using a word, it's good to consider all the possible meanings. "Hence" means both "As a consequence; for this reason" and "In the future (used after a period of time)". Clearly you mean the first, but the second meaning still exists and will be in the back of the reader's mind. I'd just start with "This tragedy..." and avoid hence. Connecting words are more often than not used as a crutch for a lack of flow. If you can avoid them, you'll force the content of your essay to be tied together much better.
More recently, during the 2008 financial crisis, we clearly see the flaws of leadership, most notably during the gradual collapse of the Lehman Brothers.
"Saw" not "see". I'd actually put the verb first, but that might not sound good to you. "We saw clearly..." is more in line with how I write. Don't do that if it doesn't sound natural to you though. "Flaws of leadership" needs some elaboration to tie it into your overall thesis. "Gradual" and "collapse" connote opposite things. One is slow and one is fast. That's not a bad thing in writing, but it doesn't sound entirely intentional here. "Gradual" could go with "disintegration" or "collapse" could go with "catastrophic". No "the" in front of Lehman.
The main reason of this catastrophic failure was actually due to the naivety of the CEO Richard Fuld who foolishly purchased volatile bonds.
"For this", not "of". "Actually" implies that there's another reason that's been presented that you're debunking, which there hasn't. "Naivete" not "naivety" (French, ugh). Technically, there's the double dots over the i and an accent over the last e. It's ok without though. "The CEO Richard Fuld" would sound better without "the". "Volatile bonds" isn't entirely accurate. I know I've mentioned that you can fudge a lot of things, but the financial crisis is recent enough that the well-read adult that'll be reading your essay might know more than you do. I'd stay safe with "who made foolish bets on the housing market bubble".
Theoretically, the crisis could’ve been avoided if the decision to enter bond markets was debated and questioned by those in lower management.
"Theoretically" isn't equivalent to "hypothetically". Either way, hypotheticals are weak. "The crisis could have...". Contractions aren't too great, especially with "could have" and "could've" which sound similar enough to not break the flow of your sentence. Content-wise, I'm not sure that lower management could have actually done anything if Dick Fuld really wanted it to happen. But still, "was debated and questioned" would sound better as "had been more carefully analyzed" or something of that sort.
If Fuld’s decision had been questioned, the collapse could’ve been avoidable.
A pretty big assumption, nearing the realm of politics, but I don't think your reader will care too much. Again, "could have".
Eventually, employees of the Lehman Brothers united against the CEO and tried to change the fate of the firm but by that time, it was too late.
Needs some elaboration because as far as I know, this isn't entirely true.
Thus, it can be clearly seen that questioning authority instead of ignorantly accepting decisions can help prevent bad decisions from being enforced.
"Clearly" is a strong word. Make sure to stay away from strong assertions until the end. "Questioning authority instead of ignorantly accepting decisions" is a lot of syllables in a small number of words. Nothing wrong with it rule-wise, but it doesn't roll off the tongue. The verb to go with decisions is typically more accurately "made", not "enforced".
In this case, if Fuld’s decision was carefully considered, the Lehman Brothers could still have survived the crisis.
Again, no "the" in front of Lehman. "Still" implies continuity through time of sorts while "survived" is a one time thing. I'd just remove "still".
During the crimean war, many leaders also enforced decisions that led to astounding military failures, most notably the “Charge of the Light Brigade” led by British calvary against Russian cannons.
Capital letters please. Again, "enforced" doesn't go perfectly with "decisions". "Artillery" goes with "cavalry" (not "calvary"), as do "horses" and "cannons". The first set describes the military unit while the second set talks about their constituent members.
This decision was ill thought out and even the soldiers thought the order was absurd.
To be perfectly grammatically correct, you need a comma in front of "and" since you're joining two complete clauses. In reality, this rule is broken many times in literature if the two clauses are similar enough. "The sky was the blue and the grass was green" is basically ok. However, your clauses follow one another (as indicated by "even") which means you need the comma.
However, they ignorantly accepted the order instead of questioning whether if it was necessary or strategically viable which led to the destruction of the brigade.
The soldiers aren't "ignorantly" accepting the order since you mention that they think it's absurd. You can't use "they" either since your previous sentence mentioned more than just the soldiers. It's not ambiguous since "this decision" can't be a they, but it's grammatically improper. Better phrased, this sentence would focus more on the lack of actually questioning the order than the order itself. For example: "However, the soldiers did not end up questioning the order and its apparent lack of strategic merit, leading to the total destruction of the brigade."
Therefore, we can deduce that orders formulated by those in authority must be questioned as they can be fundamentally flawed and lead to disaster.
"Deduce" implies a mystery of sorts and "formulated" implies a mathematical or scientific process of creation, neither of which are entirely accurate. Don't be afraid to use simple words. I'd use "ought to" instead of "must".
As seen in history as well as literature, decisions formulated by those in authority may not be the most effective and must be questioned by others.
You haven't mentioned any literature, so you can't say that here. Again, "made" would be perfectly ok in place of "formulated". "The most effective" feels like it ends too early. I'd say "As seen throughout history, decisions made by those in positions of authority need to be questioned. A position of authority does not guarantee that one's decisions are effective or well thought out."
This unique perspective is essential in articulating errors and can easily make decisions more effective and possibly easier to carry out.
As a side note, "unique" is a very nice looking word. It's not perfect here though, and nor is "articulate". Continuing from what I wrote earlier: "... well thought out. This questioning attitude is necessary and can lead more effectively and efficiently to a better outcome."