The Ten Commandments for Business Failure

The Ten Commandments for Business Failure

by Donald R Keough


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Don Keough—a former top executive at Coca-Cola and now chairman of the elite investment banking firm Allen & Company—has witnessed plenty of failures in his sixty-year career (including New Coke). He has also been friends with some of the most successful people in business history, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Jack Welch, Rupert Murdoch, and Peter Drucker.

Now this elder statesman reveals how great enterprises get into trouble. Even the smartest executives can fall into the trap of believing in their own infallibility. When that happens, more bad decisions are sure to follow.

This light-hearted “how-not-to” book includes anecdotes from Keough's long career as well as other infamous failures. His commandments for failure include: Quit Taking Risks; Be Inflexible; Assume Infallibility; Put All Your Faith in Experts; Send Mixed Messages; and Be Afraid of the Future.

As he writes, “After a lifetime in business I've never been able to develop a step-by-step formula that will guarantee success. What I could do, however, was talk about how to lose. I guarantee that anyone who follows my formula will be a highly successful loser.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781591844136
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/28/2011
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 1,211,818
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Donald R. Keough is chairman of the board of the investment banking firm Allen & Company. He served as president, chief operating officer, and a director of The Coca-Cola Company from 1981 to 1993. He was reelected a director of the company in 2004. He has served on many prominent boards of directors including those of Berkshire Hathaway, McDonald's, The Washington Post Company, Home Depot, H. J. Heinz Company, and The University of Notre Dame.

Table of Contents

Foreword   Warren Buffett     ix
Introduction     1
Top of the List: Quit Taking Risks     11
Be Inflexible     25
Isolate Yourself     45
Assume Infallibility     59
Play the Game Close to the Foul Line     67
Don't Take Time to Think     81
Put All Your Faith in Experts and Outside Consultants     97
Love Your Bureaucracy     115
Send Mixed Messages     133
Be Afraid of the Future     151
Lose Your Passion for Work-for Life     173
Acknowledgments     187

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The Ten Commandments for Business Failure 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
librisissimo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Substance: Very worthwhile information not only for business leaders and managers but for any type of project or relationship; especially applicable to politicians. Read in conjunction with Phil Vischer's biography "Me, Myself, and Bob" to see many of the "failure principles" in action. Reverses Tolstoy's dictum that (paraphrasing) happy families are all happy in the same way, and unhappy ones in many different ways. Keough says that there are many paths to success, but most failures incorporate his ten rules.Style: Casual and informative.Notes: The Ten Commandments for failure are: Quit taking risks, be inflexible, isolate yourself, assume infallibility, play the game close to the foul line, don't take time to think, put all your faith in experts and outside consultants, love your bureaucracy, send mixed messages, be afraid of the future, (#11) lose your passion for work and for life.Note that being flexible is good, but not if it includes waffling on your principles (and know what those are).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KVJr-Reader More than 1 year ago
The book is roughly all about what you shouldn't do in business and it keeps your reading because it is just so ironic. It has great insight on what you shouldn't do in your own business, personal or large business. I personally used it for my research paper and I thought it was great to use. i really could have used it for most of my paper but I chose not, because now that would be plagiarizing. Good book and I recommend it for all you business readers.