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The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success Hardcover – Oct 23 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (Oct. 23 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422162672
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422162675
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 14.6 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #28,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

“An outstanding book about CEOs who excelled at capital allocation.” — Warren Buffett

“One of the Most Important Business Books in America.” — Forbes

“… easily the best investment or business book published in the past few years…” — Brendan Matthews, Motley Fool

“…an important insider’s perspective, an unapologetic glimpse into the hard-core investor view of what success looks like.” — Forbes.com

"It focuses on the less sexy but equally important job of a CEO—capital allocation." — Mebane Faber, CIO and portfolio manager at Cambria Investment Management (Business Insider’s Wall Street Reading List for 2014)

“Thorndike wants to give any manager or business owner the confidence to occasionally do things differently from your peers … to make the most of the cards they’re dealt and to delight their shareholders.” — Financial Times

“[Thorndike's] findings turn received wisdom about CEO success on its head. It’s not revenue and profit growth, but the increase in a company’s per share value that offers the ultimate barometer of a CEO’s greatness… Thorndike may have discovered an alchemic formula for CEO success. But will existing CEOs listen?” — economia

“Thorndike has done extensive research on each of the people features, and their success story makes for an inspiring and most definitely, compelling read.” — The Hindu (India)

“An extremely instructive read…well worth the effort.” — Business Traveller magazine

“This is an eminently readable volume with plenty of lessons.” — The Irish Times

ADVANCE PRAISE for The Outsiders:

Jim Collins, author, Good to Great; coauthor, Built to Last and Great by Choice
“Will Thorndike dissects an eclectic and fascinating group of business leaders who created exceptional long-term value. He takes the unique angle of examining great CEOs as chief allocators of capital, so disciplined in their empirical rationality as to be nonconformists in the very best sense. Thorndike’s take is fresh, smart, and provocative—and well worth learning.”

Michael J. Mauboussin, Chief Investment Strategist, Legg Mason Capital Management; author, The Success Equation
“Will Thorndike provides management principles that are as rock solid as they are rare and shares the engaging stories of eight CEOs who lived by them. The ideas in this book provide both executives and investors with the North Star of value. Follow it and prosper.”

Mason Hawkins, Chairman and CEO, Southeastern Asset Management—
The Outsiders is a must-read for leaders—and aspiring leaders—striving to become exceptional CEOs, and for investors interested in partnering with exceptional stewards of corporate capital.”

Walter Kiechel, author, The Lords of Strategy
“If creating wealth for shareholders is the ultimate test of a CEO, meet the champions. The names of these ‘outsiders’ may come as a surprise, but you will learn valuable strategic lessons from their iconoclastic ways.”

Thomas A. Russo, Partner, Gardner Russo & Gardner—
“The Outsiders celebrates leaders who kept their firms focused, rewarded their management despite long periods of inactivity, and—by keeping their companies out of trouble—found themselves free to pounce when compelling opportunities arose. A highly effective playbook for excellence.”

About the Author

William N. Thorndike is founder and a managing director of Housatonic Partners, a private equity firm. He is a graduate of Harvard College and the Stanford Graduate School of Business and has been a guest lecturer at the Harvard and Stanford business schools. He is a director of eight companies, and two not-for-profit organizations and lives in the Boston area with his wife and two children.


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
There are countless examples of once-great companies such as Kodak and Sears that became victims of what had once been the reasons for their success. When George Eastman founded Eastman Kodak (in 1901) and Richard Sears and Julius Rosenwald founded Sears, Roebuck (in 1906), they did so with what William N. Thorndike characterizes as a "radically rational blueprint for success." Both companies eventually became among the largest and most profitable in the world. However, for reasons that vary from one company to another in nature and extent, that is no longer true.

The business lessons to be learned from companies such as Kodak and Sears were obvious to CEOs such as Tom Murphy (Capital Cities Broadcasting), Henry Singleton (Teledyne, Bill Anders (General Dynamics), John Malone (TCI), Katherine Graham (the Washington Post Company), Bill Stiritz (Ralston Purina), Dick Smith (General Cinema), and Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway). They are the "outsiders," focal points of this book. As Thorndike explains, there are immensely valuable lessons to be learned from the "radical rationality" of their leadership.

These are among the dozens of passages that caught my eye:

o The Capital Cities culture (Page 23)
o The Cap Cities Publishing Division (Pages 31-33)
o Buffett and Singleton: Separated at Birth?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Thorndike has eloquently captured the essential differences between the wildly superior results achieved by this disparate group of
CEO's and virtually all the other competitors entrusted to make similarly critical financial decisions. The absolutely outstanding results for shareholders
are the net result.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wish it got more into the nuts and bolts. Great book, enjoyed the different perspective and most importantly think I learned a thing or two that will make me a better investor and manager.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well written. Concise and to the point. Not to technical and not to wordy. I really enjoyed it. Would recommend to anyone with a passing interest in business.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent book. Focuses on real world examples of capital allocation decisions by managers, and the long-range consequences.
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