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.”
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.