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Winners Never Cheat: Everyday Values We Learned as Children (But May Have Forgotten)

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Overview

Next time someone tells you business can't be done ethically -- corners must be cut, negotiations can't be honest -- hand them Jon Huntsman's new book. He started with practically nothing, and made it to Forbes'list of America's Top 100 richest people. Huntsman's generous about sharing the credit, but in the 21st century, he's the nearest thing to a self-made multi-billionaire. Now, he presents the lessons of a lifetime: a passionate, inspirational manifesto for returning to the days when your word was your bond, a handshake was sacred, and swarms of lawyers weren't needed to back it up. This is no mere exhortation: it's a practical business book about how to listen to your moral compass, even as others ignore theirs. It's about how you build teams with the highest values, share success, take responsibility, and earn the rewards that only come with giving back. Huntsman's built his career and fortune on these principles. You don't live these principles just to 'succeed': you live them because they're right. But in an age of non-stop business scandal, Huntsman's life proves honesty is more than right: it's the biggest competitive differentiator.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780131863668
  • Publisher: Pearson Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 5/20/2005
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

JON M. HUNTSMAN is chairman and founder of Huntsman Corporation. He started the firm with his brother Blaine in 1970. By 2000, it had become the world's largest privately held chemical company and America's biggest family owned and operated business, with more than $12 billion in annual revenues before going public in early 2005. He was a special assistant to the president in the Nixon White House, was the first American to own controlling interest of a business in the former Soviet Union, and is the chairman of the Board of Overseers for Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, his alma mater. Mr. Huntsman also served on the boards of numerous major public corporations and organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Red Cross. The Huntsman businesses fund the foundation that is the primary underwriter for the Huntsman Cancer Institute, a leader in the prevention, early diagnosis, and humane treatment of cancer. He resides with his wife, Karen, in Salt Lake City, Utah, where his oldest son, Jon Jr., was elected governor in 2004.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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Read an Excerpt

PrefacePreface

I'm a trial lawyer and the book you're about to read could put me out of business. Nobody would be happier about it than me.

Over the past 30 years, I have taken some of America's biggest corporations to court, calling them to task for behavior that threatened people's health and livelihoods. From asbestos makers to tobacco purveyors to computer manufacturers, I have fought to make big companies more accountable in their business dealings.

Ordinarily, you would not expect a trial lawyer to be particularly close with the CEO of a big corporation. So when people hear that Jon Huntsman and I are good friends, and have been for 15 years, they tend to scratch their heads. In the ecology of the business world, aren't we natural enemies? Don't our respective jobs put us at odds with each other? The answer to both questions is no. And the reason is simple: Jon Huntsman is not your average CEO.

Jon is a true rarity in the corporate world: a hugely successful entrepreneur whose conscience is as sharp as his business sense, whose word is known as an unbreakable bond. From his very first job, picking potatoes in rural Idaho at age eight, to his current position of running the world's largest private chemical company, he has always put ethical concerns on equal, if not greater, footing than his business concerns.

I could give you a laundry list of things Jon has done—donating record-setting amounts to cancer treatment and research, tithing to his church, giving millions to colleges and universities—but that still wouldn't give you a clear idea of why he's so unusual. His ethics go far deeper than simply making donations and glad-handing for good causes. They are at the core of his being. They are, for him, a way of life.

In Plato's seminal work, The Republic, he gives us the notion of the ideal leader: the "philosopher-king." This is the man who possesses the perfect marriage of a philosophic mind and an ability to lead. As Plato wrote: "I need no longer hesitate to say that we must make our guardians philosophers. The necessary combination of qualities is extremely rare. Our test must be thorough, for the soul must be trained up by the pursuit of all kinds of knowledge to the capacity for the pursuit of the highest—higher than justice and wisdom—the idea of the good."

Jon Huntsman has pursued "the idea of the good" all his life, and as the continued health of his companies show, he's more than able to lead. But the true test of ethics comes not when a person gives with nothing to lose. It comes when he gives with everything to lose. That's why Jon Huntsman is the right man to do this book. And there's no question that he's doing it at just the right time. In this age of Enron, Tyco, insider-trading scandals, and rampant corporate malfeasance, we need Jon Huntsman's voice and leadership more than ever.

I hope Jon's book will remind us all that, like him, you can do well and do good at the same time. As a trial lawyer, I want every businessperson in America to read this book and take to heart Jon's example. Maybe then my fellow trial lawyers and I would have nothing left to do.

There's nothing I'd like better.

—Wayne Reaud

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents

Preface by Wayne Reaud.

Foreword by Larry King.

1. Lessons from the Sandbox.

Everything we need for today’s marketplace we learned as kids.

2. Check Your Moral Compass.

We know darn well what is right and wrong.

3. Play by the Rules.

Compete fiercely and fairly–but no cutting in line.

4. Setting the Example.

Risk, responsibility, reliability–the three Rs of leadership.

5. Keep Your Word.

It’s high time to corral the corporate lawyers.

6. Pick Advisors Wisely.

Surround yourself with associates who have the courage to say no.

7. Get Mad, Not Even.

Revenge is unhealthy and unproductive. Learn to move on.

8. Graciousness Is Next to Godliness.

Treat competitors, colleagues, employees, and customers with respect.

9. Your Name Is on the Door.

Operate businesses and organizations as if they’re family owned.

10. The Obligation to Give Back.

Nobody is completely self-made; return the favors and good fortune.

Conclusion: The Bottom Line.

Acceptable moral values are child’s play, not rocket science.

Afterword by Neil Cavuto.

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Preface

Preface

I'm a trial lawyer and the book you're about to read could put me out of business. Nobody would be happier about it than me.

Over the past 30 years, I have taken some of America's biggest corporations to court, calling them to task for behavior that threatened people's health and livelihoods. From asbestos makers to tobacco purveyors to computer manufacturers, I have fought to make big companies more accountable in their business dealings.

Ordinarily, you would not expect a trial lawyer to be particularly close with the CEO of a big corporation. So when people hear that Jon Huntsman and I are good friends, and have been for 15 years, they tend to scratch their heads. In the ecology of the business world, aren't we natural enemies? Don't our respective jobs put us at odds with each other? The answer to both questions is no. And the reason is simple: Jon Huntsman is not your average CEO.

Jon is a true rarity in the corporate world: a hugely successful entrepreneur whose conscience is as sharp as his business sense, whose word is known as an unbreakable bond. From his very first job, picking potatoes in rural Idaho at age eight, to his current position of running the world's largest private chemical company, he has always put ethical concerns on equal, if not greater, footing than his business concerns.

I could give you a laundry list of things Jon has done—donating record-setting amounts to cancer treatment and research, tithing to his church, giving millions to colleges and universities—but that still wouldn't give you a clear idea of why he's so unusual. His ethics go far deeper than simply making donations and glad-handing for good causes. They are at the core of his being. They are, for him, a way of life.

In Plato's seminal work, The Republic, he gives us the notion of the ideal leader: the "philosopher-king." This is the man who possesses the perfect marriage of a philosophic mind and an ability to lead. As Plato wrote: "I need no longer hesitate to say that we must make our guardians philosophers. The necessary combination of qualities is extremely rare. Our test must be thorough, for the soul must be trained up by the pursuit of all kinds of knowledge to the capacity for the pursuit of the highest—higher than justice and wisdom—the idea of the good."

Jon Huntsman has pursued "the idea of the good" all his life, and as the continued health of his companies show, he's more than able to lead. But the true test of ethics comes not when a person gives with nothing to lose. It comes when he gives with everything to lose. That's why Jon Huntsman is the right man to do this book. And there's no question that he's doing it at just the right time. In this age of Enron, Tyco, insider-trading scandals, and rampant corporate malfeasance, we need Jon Huntsman's voice and leadership more than ever.

I hope Jon's book will remind us all that, like him, you can do well and do good at the same time. As a trial lawyer, I want every businessperson in America to read this book and take to heart Jon's example. Maybe then my fellow trial lawyers and I would have nothing left to do.

There's nothing I'd like better.

—Wayne Reaud

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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Introduction

Foreword

Jon Meade Huntsman may well be the most remarkable billionaire most of America has never heard of. Legendary in petrochemical circles, he operates around the globe in a quiet, determined, respected, and caring manner. For nearly two decades, he found himself in the upper tier of Forbes magazine's list of wealthiest Americans, but it wasn't always that way.

Jon is the embodiment of the American Dream. His was a journey from hardscrabble beginnings to chairman of America's largest family-owned and -operated business and the world's biggest privately owned petrochemical company. (In early 2005, he took the sprawling Huntsman empire public.)

As is the case with each Horatio Alger character, Jon Huntsman was afforded nothing but an opportunity to compete on the field of dreams. The rest—vision, determination, skill, integrity, a few breaks, and ultimate success—was up to him.

He won that incredible race fair and square, fulfilling his dream with moral principles intact, his word being kept, dealing above board and fairly with colleague and competitors alike, and displaying a demeanor of decency and, above all, generosity.

All this, to me, is the essence of Jon Huntsman. It is why he has written this book and why it is worth your time to read it.

His career was launched with an undergraduate degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, an education made possible by a chance scholarship from someone who already had it made. Jon went on to build an empire and render an accounting for the favors and breaks he received along the way.

You may not haveheard of Jon Huntsman, but the folks he has assisted over the years sure have.

Ask patients at the Huntsman Cancer Institute and Hospital, a world-class research and patient facility in Salt Lake City exploring how we might prevent and control the dreaded disease, especially hereditary cancers. The Huntsman family has given a quarter of a billion dollars so far to that effort and vows to double that amount in the coming years. Jon lost his mother, father, stepmother, and grandparents to the disease. He himself has had cancer and beaten it. Twice.

Ask students and faculty at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, where he became chairman of the Board of Overseers. His gift of $50 million made possible Huntsman Hall, a state-of-the-art business school complex, and the nation's leading international undergraduate program. Remembering what the chance for a college education meant to him, he has awarded several million dollars in scholarships over the years to employees' children and random students.

Ask the people of Armenia. Now there's a story is worth telling.

On the evening of December 7, 1988, Jon and Karen Huntsman were watching the news in the living room of their striking Salt Lake City home. He was chief executive officer and chairman of Huntsman Chemical Corporation—an upstart in the stodgy and traditional chemical industry.

The lead story that nightly news was unsettling: An earthquake had devastated much of Armenia. Jon was riveted by the scenes of destruction unfolding before him: factories and apartments in rubble, roads and railways little more than twisted pretzels of concrete and steel, school buildings flattened, frantic survivors clawing through debris for loved ones.

A year earlier, Jon Huntsman probably could not have located Armenia on the map, but in the six previous months he had negotiated with Aeroflot, the airline of the old Soviet government, to manufacture in a new Moscow plant plastic service ware for in-flight meals. In the process, he became the first American permitted to own a majority interest in a Soviet business. He had become fascinated with the USSR bear, and now disaster had struck one of its satellite states.

"We have to do something," he said to Karen that night. He was taking the suffering before him personally. That's how Jon Huntsman is.

The aid that followed ranged from expertise and resources for a modern cement factory that would produce concrete that could withstand most quakes to food and medical equipment to apartment complexes and schools—all as gifts to a grateful, battered nation.

Before he was finished 15 years later, the Huntsman family had infused $50 million of its money into Armenia, visiting the nation two dozen times. Yet, on that December 1988 night, he had no ties to that region of the world. He had not a single business tie. He didn't know the name of a single victim. But the name Huntsman is not unknown in Armenia today, where he is an honorary citizen and recipient of the nation's highest award.

Who is Jon Huntsman? Ask those who have been helped. Ask the communities around the globe where Huntsman Corp. does business. They will tell of the deep, personal interest he has in their fortunes, their families and their futures.

Perhaps that generosity is the residual of growing up on the other side of the economic tracks. If so, it is only part of his philanthropic equation. Jon also subscribes to the obligation of everyone to be generous. Throughout the ages, charity has been a cornerstone of most world cultures.

The gospel of giving according to Jon holds that every individual—whether financially stretched or of means, but especially the rich—is duty-bound to return a portion of his or her blessings.

Jon Huntsman is a different breed. He believes business is a creative endeavor, similar to a theater production, wherein integrity must be the central character. Notwithstanding what you hear on the nightly news or read in newspapers, decent, ethical behavior is not a moral heirloom of the past. He believes in being honest, fair, and gracious—even when it costs him several million dollars.

This book isn't simply a marketplace catechism for moral behavior. In every chapter, there are nuggets of good management techniques for those who run companies or organizations, solid instructions for those in mid-management, and a bigger picture for employees and memberships. With an MBA from the University of Southern California, Jon is not only an entrepreneur extraordinaire but also an experienced CEO who has seen it all.

For the past 35 years, his business has gone from scratch to annual revenues of $12 billion. It wasn't all smooth sailing. He was on the verge of bankruptcy twice, but his reputation for tough-but-fair negotiations, a gracious and sensitive demeanor, an entrepreneurial sense, and a remarkable philanthropic commitment give him a unique perspective from which to offer these rules of the road.

Jon Huntsman is living proof you can do well by doing right. Leo Durocher was quite wrong when he said, "Nice guys finish last." Not only can nice people finish first, they finish better. Jon has little patience for situational ethics in the marketplace or life. He paints proper behavior in bold, black-and-white strokes. He believes in the adage that if you have one clock everyone knows what time it is. If there are two, no one knows the time.

In 2002, I named him the Humanitarian of the Year because of his generosity to others. (Business Week ranks him among America's top philanthropists.) He even surprised me with a large, unexpected contribution to the Larry King Cardiac Foundation to help those who suffer from heart disease. My spouse, Shawn, and I count ourselves fortunate to have been friends of the Huntsman family for many years. I enthusiastically introduce Jon and recommend his take on life to you.

You'll get into Playing by the Rules.

—Larry King


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Sort by: Showing 1 – 4 of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2005

    Highly Recommended!

    No matter what business you¿re in, these principles apply to your work and your life. None of them are new - honor, fairness, honesty and respect are as old as time - but this is a refresher course that reinforces what you already know about morality and ethics. Author and successful business leader Jon M. Huntsman can cite himself as living proof that you don¿t need to compromise your core values to become a success - or even a billionaire. If you¿re a leader or aspire to be a leader in any field, this quick read is well worth your time. We recommend it to help you focus on values that the modern world often tramples. The message is sweet, simple and clear: stick to your beliefs staunchly, even if it costs you in the short term, because character, integrity and long-term results are what really count.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Integrity and Strength of Character -- What is Missing from the Workplace in 2009!!!

    There were a few stories Jon Huntsman narrated in his book, which had a profound impact on the employee, leader, and human being I aspire to be.

    1) Mercy and being Merciful: Winning the prize but being viewed as predatory and without Mercy in the end by all who watched.

    2) Integrity & Covenant: I gave my word and my seal (handshake) on this deal. It took a while to pen the deal, prices went up, but my word does not change. If it does, then I fundamentally change the Respect and Trust my employees, family, and I have in myself.

    3) Lawyers: Advisors period. Although he did not reference it, Michael Corleone made this very clear to Tom Hagen, when he was making the critical decisions and pivotal moves in GF II. "I trust you and know you want to help, but you are a Concigliere, not an Enforcer." Play your position on the team, REAL WELL. Accept the fact, CERTAIN people and positions were never meant to do more than one thing.

    4) Loyalties, Tributes, and Allegiances: There is a whole generations of people who only know about Watergate as a "political blemish" in a President's legacy and America's history. Jon provides an insightful and VALUABLE look at a lesson I learned my first semester of graduate school: know when gratitude for a job or opportunity definitively ends and irrevocable damage to one's integrity begins. If you did not earn it through your honest actions, then it is a "debt" - whether emotional, financial, or sexual, expected to be repaid.

    Thank you Jon Huntsman for the following words of inspiration:
    "Adversity introduces a Man to himself."
    "He proffered blind loyalty to Nixon and demanded the same from his staff. I saw how power was abused and I didn't buy in. One never has to."
    ".Whistleblowers, individuals who usually are neither disloyal nor disgruntled employees. They were frustrated about an internal warning system that wasn't operational or valued."

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted March 29, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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