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When Giants Stumble: Classic Business Blunders and How to Avoid Them

When Giants Stumble: Classic Business Blunders and How to Avoid Them

by Robert Sobel

Editorial Reviews

Anne Fisher
Anyone who is curious about what sparks spectacular "fires" should get a kick out of the 15 case studies here. In each of them, from Osborne Computer to brewers Schlitz and Pabst to the Penn Central Railroad, Sobel identifies one main failing that eventually caused all the trouble, whether it was hubris, nepotism, willy-nilly conglomeration, or simply what the author calls "ineptitude." ...Don't miss Sobel's analysis of what really brought down erstwhile Wall Street powerhouse Drexel Burnham Lambert "and its chief asset, Michael Milken."
You may come away from these pages feeling pretty smart. In the sly, low-key voice that has characterized all his books (he wrote more than 50 of them before his death in June, at age 68, from brain cancer, Sobel explains precisely why each of his subjects' horrifically bad decisions seemed perfectly reasonable, even brilliant, at the time it was made.
Barron's contributor Robert Sobel's collection of cautionary tales offers a look at 15 product flops, management gaffes and judgment errors of Corporate America, revealing surprisingly sound reasoning behind some of the worst moves in modern history.
Library Journal
Sobel (Coolidge: An American Enigma, LJ 6/1/98), a business historian, educator, and columnist for Barron's, has created a well-written account of 15 former industry leaders, with chapter headings such as "E.J. Korvette: The Blunder of Hubris," "W.R. Grace: The Blunder of Nonstrategic Expansion," and "Drexel Burnham: The Blunder of Isolation." Each chapter begins with a brief history of the company and progresses to the events leading to its setback and/or decline. As Sobel demonstrates, there are important lessons to be learned from these errors. The roots of failure include inadequate funding, changing markets and technologies, competition, government regulations, lack of concern for customers, and too much idealism combined with a lack of expertise in a particular area. Sobel points out that although most of the companies do not still exist in their original forms today, some are still lingering in the shadows. Highly recommended for business leaders and upper-level academic business libraries.--Bellinda Wise, Nassau Community Coll. Lib., Garden City, NY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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Prentice Hall Press
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6.34(w) x 9.18(h) x 1.35(d)

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