A featherweight collection of meaningless quotes from mostly assholes

The Little Book of Business Wisdom, edited by Peter Krass

For the newly minted MBA on your Christmas list comes this anthology of insights from two centuries’ worth of Captains of Industry. But although the copyright page assures us that “This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered,” be warned that business advice is still more art than science. As the following excerpts illustrate, a consensus on the deeper questions remains elusive.

On Trust

“Only the paranoid survive.”-Intel chairman Andrew Grove

“Witholding of trust is often necessary for self-protection. But the price is too high if it means always being on guard, constantly suspicious of others.”-Management guru Warren Bennis

On Focus

“Do not scatter your powers…whatever you do, do with all your might.”-Impresario P. T. Barnum

“Swing for hits…go for the highest batting average rather than trying to hit a home run every time.”-PC baron Michael Dell

On Knowledge

“Avoid insider information as you would the plague.”-Pioneer Fund manager Philip Carret

“Insider buying is a positive sign.”-Magellan Fund manager Peter Lynch

Of Mice and Men

“To achieve sound growth…we must lengthen the range and broaden the scope of all our plans.”-Texas Instruments CEO John Jonsson

“It’s always amazed me how many companies devote hours of effort and literally tons of paper to detailed plans…I guess if you’ve got a big staff and lots of extra time on your hands, it’s not going to hurt you.”-Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca

On Authenticity

“Doing things for show will backfire on you and turn the whole flavor of your enterprise rancid.”-ITT president Harold Geneen

“Put on the appearance of business, and generally the reality will follow.”-P.T. Barnum

On Procrastination

“Never defer for a single hour that which can be done just as well now.”-P. T. Barnum

“Never do anything today that you can put off till tomorrow.”-Newspaper magnate E. W. Scripps

On Delegating

“Never do anything yourself that you can get someone else to do for you.”-E.W. Scripps

“You and only you must make the decisions.”-Harold Geneen

On Shame

“Call attention to other people’s mistakes indirectly….Let the other person save face.”-success guru Dale Carnegie

“Make ’em feel guilty when they do nothing….Don’t put up with excuses.”-Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas

On Natural Hierarchies

“I [hire] people for their intelligence, attitude, and enthusiasm-people who can do a job better than I can.”-oilman T. Boone Pickens

“A businessman…cannont expect his employees to think or do as well as he can. If they could they would not be his employees.”-oilman J. Paul Getty

Man and Superman

“Play by the rules.”-T. Boone Pickens

“There never was a great character who did not sometimes smash the routine regulations and make new ones for himself.”-steel baron Andrew Carnegie

On Tempting Fate

“Put all your eggs in one basket, and then watch that basket.”-Andrew Carnegie

“Diversify, diversify, diversify.” Vanguard Fund manager John Bogle

On Alienation

“No one at Ben &Jerry’s should feel alone or apart. When one of us needs help, we reach out to help.”-Ice cream moguls Ben and Jerry

“You come into the world alone. You go to the grave alone. Your are alone with your inner thoughts during the journey between.”-Magazine tycoon B. C. Forbes

On Anthologies of Business Wisdom

“Good old-fashioned common sense has always been a mighty rare commodity.”-John D. Rockefeller

The Little Book of Business Wisdom Edited by Peter Krass (Wiley, 2001 ISBN: 0471369799)

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