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Lessons in Unconventional Thinking


Pub Date: May 8th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-118-17321-3
Publisher: Wiley

Billionaire philanthropist Broad, who has built two Fortune 500 companies, serves up a lifetime of business lessons.

This memoir/business primer is not of the warm, avuncular variety, but readers will sense the author’s presence on the page, as if he were making eye contact, ensuring that readers are listening and understanding. In discreet, bite-sized chapters, Broad dispenses plenty of down-home, commonsensical business practice, all surrounded by an aura of pride, yet mercifully free of moony sentimentality. The author started out as an accountant, then moved into homebuilding before tackling retirement savings investment. Broad stresses a fairly simple approach, noting that his achievements have been driven by a combination of traits: a high degree of focus, commitment, a willingness to conduct serious research (no shortcuts), exercising the art of being effectively unreasonable, and always asking “why not” as an effective antidote to received opinion: “It’s a question that helps sharpen my convictions and break down my unexamined prejudices.” What singles out this book is Broad’s applicable advice: how to pitch to the right person, how to manage risk, the value of being the second mover, to “never bet the farm—or even half the farm.” The author explains how to tender a sound offer, substitute praise with a raise and higher expectations, and never abandon principles for power. He speaks to the intangibles—luck—and he details the tough stuff: hard work, sacrifice, the sting of time lost that might have been spent with family.

In meaningful, attention-worthy ways, Broad wisely distributes mental habits and daily practices that have made him a happy, successful man.