Authentic Leadership

Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value

by Bill George

Former Medtronic chairman and CEO Bill George wrote this book following a series of corporate scandals, including Enron, Sunbeam, Tyco, and Worldcom—just to name a few. These companies imploded because management was fixated on maximizing short-term shareholder value.

To paraphrase my favorite line in the book: you are running a business, not a stock. That said, the compound annual growth rate of Medtronic split-adjusted stock price was 28.5% during George’s 12-year tenure, according to my calculations. Not too shabby!

The first part of the book deals with the character, values, and sense of purpose required to inspire employees. George also shares his wisdom and personal experiences regarding customers, quality, market share, growth, innovation, acquisitions, FDA approval delays, Wall Street analysts, and corporate governance. Continue reading “Authentic Leadership”

Only the Paranoid Survive

Only the Paranoid Survive: How to Exploit the Crisis Points that Challenge Every Company

by Andrew S. Grove

“A strategic inflection point is a time in the life of a business when its fundamentals are about to change. The change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights. But it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end.”

Andy Grove (1936-2016), former chairman of Intel, describes six categories of 10X changes: competition, technology, customers, suppliers, complementors, and regulation. “When a Wal-Mart moves into a small town, the environment changes for every retailer in that town. A 10X factor has arrived. When the technology for sound in movies became popular, every silent actor and actress personally experienced the 10X factor of technological change. When container shipping revolutionized sea transportation, a 10X factor reordered the major ports around the world.” Continue reading “Only the Paranoid Survive”

The No Asshole Rule

The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t

by Robert I. Sutton

Assholes create a toxic work environment, destroying productivity. Sutton introduces the Total Cost of Assholes (TCA) metric. In the case of a salesman named Ethan, the cost was estimated at $160,000, including time spent by Ethan’s manager, HR professionals, senior executives, outside counsel, as well as the costs related to high turnover of support staff.

Sutton warns not to hire wimps and polite clones. “A series of controlled experiments and field studies in organizations show that when teams engage in conflict over ideas in an atmosphere of mutual respect, they develop better ideas and perform better. For this reason, Intel requires all new employees to take “constructive confrontation class.”


Sutton, Robert I. The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t. New York: Business Plus, 2010. Buy from Amazon.com


Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.