Soundview Executive Book Summaries

Don’t Expect a Testimonial from Charleton Heston
September 22, 2008, 10:36 AM
Filed under: Strategic Management | Tags: ,

Maybe half of you will comprehend the joke I tried to make in today’s blog title once I get cracking on mentioning the book I’d like to discuss: The Ten Commandments for Business Failure by Donald R. Keough. Did you get it? If not, spend some time on Google. The answer will come to you eventually.


The reason why I bring up testimonials is because of the sheer force behind the ones touting Keough’s book as a must-have for your bookshelf. These aren’t just your typical thumbs-up from quietly respected thought leaders. Testimonials from Bill Gates, Jack Welch, and former president George H. W. Bush are just three of the handful of positive remarks covering this book jacket. Oh, and did I mention that the foreword is written by the Oracle of Omaha himself, Warren Buffett?


Though the title seems negative, the lessons that Keough sets out to teach are valuable and important, and yes, sometimes it is a good idea to learn from your own—and other people’s—mistakes. Keough should know a business mistake when he sees one: It was under his watch during his tenure at The Coca-Cola Company that New Coke was rolled out and bombed. Keough shares his own stories of business failures, as well as those of IBM and Schlitz Beer to mention a couple. His lessons also stem from his long and diverse career: philosophy major in college, TV sports announcer, president, COO and director of The Coca-Cola Company, and chairman of the board of investment banking firm Allen & Company.


The book has been a fairly hot seller on Amazon, with user reviews ranking it highly. I’m not sure if it offers anything really new, but sometimes its good to review the fundamentals. And if you’re interested, check out this interview with The Wall Street Journal.


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