Why Smart Executives Fail and what you can learn from their mistakes

from Sydney Finkelstein

Portfolio (Penguin Putnam)2003

ISBN: 1-59184-010-4 (Hardback)

ISBN: 1-59184-045-7 (Paperback)


With this book Sydney Finkelstein takes a juxtaposition to the known literature on success factors in management. He focusses on the small, in the beginning seemingly harmless thinking and behavioral mechanisms of top executives and their organizations, which can lead to the failure of big strategic projects or of whole companies.


In light of the strong factual evidence the reader is repeatedly led to ask questions, like "How could someone even believe in the success of such a venture for a second?", "Why didn't they act earlier, given that they knew...?".

The results of the study show that often the very experienced, rewarded and highly intelligent executives were the ones, who stumbled over such kind of mistakes.


The author presents the circumstances, the dangerous thinking and actions and the course of such business developments in a fascinating and illustrative way. Published more than 10 years ago this book has not lost its significance and can serve managers and company owners still and time and again as an enlightening and forbidding "Guide to Desaster" and as negative check list.



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