The Three Rules: How Exceptional Companies Think
In every sector, there’s an outlier. In the pharmaceutical industry, it’s Merck. In discount retail, it’s Family Dollar. It used to be Wrigley in candy and Maytag in appliances. Other superstars have been hidden in plain sight, like Heartland Express in trucking or Linear Technology in semiconductors. How do these exceptional companies deliver superior performance over the long run despite facing the same constraints as competitors? What are they doing differently? What can we learn from them?
Michael E. Raynor and Mumtaz Ahmed have analyzed data on more than 25,000 companies spanning forty-five years. Their five-year study began with a sophisticated statistical analysis to identify which companies have truly exceptional performance, 344 in all.
In collaboration with teams of researchers, Raynor and Ahmed then put a carefully chosen representative sample of twenty-seven companies under the microscope to uncover what made the stand-out performers different. They found that exceptional companies, when faced with difficult decisions, follow three rules:
– Better before cheaper. They rarely compete on price.
– Revenue before cost. They drive profits through price and volume, not thrift.
– There are no other rules. Everything else is up for grabs, and they are willing to change anything to remain true to the first two rules.
The rules provide an indispensable compass that any company can use to chart its own path to greatness. Is it better to keep price down or invest in creating value that commands a higher price? Should you focus on talent and developing the abilities of your people or build processes to extend the capabilities of your organization? How about acquiring a sizable competitor to secure economies of scale—or a small start-up to gain access to new technology? According to Raynor and Ahmed, the right answers to these and just about every other question are the ones most closely aligned with the rules.
The Three Rules is built on a powerful combination of large-scale data analysis and in-depth case studies. Its guidance will increase the chance that your organization can become truly exceptional.
Think and Grow Rich has been called the “Granddaddy of All Motivational Literature.” It was the first book to boldly ask, “What makes a winner?” The man who asked and listened for the answer, Napoleon Hill, is now counted in the top ranks of the world’s winners himself.
The most famous of all teachers of success spent “a fortune and the better part of a lifetime of effort” to produce the “Law of Success” philosophy that forms the basis of his books and that is so powerfully summarized in this one.
In the original Think and Grow Rich, published in 1937, Hill draws on stories of Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and other millionaires of his generation to illustrate his principles. In the updated version, Arthur R. Pell, Ph.D., a nationally known author, lecturer, and consultant in human resources management and an expert in applying Hill’s thought, deftly interweaves anecdotes of how contemporary millionaires and billionaires, such as Bill Gates, Mary Kay Ash, Dave Thomas, and Sir John Templeton, achieved their wealth. Outmoded or arcane terminology and examples are faithfully refreshed to preclude any stumbling blocks to a new generation of readers.
Greenspan’s life is a quintessential American success story: raised by a single mother in the Jewish émigré community of Washington Heights, he was a math prodigy who found a niche as a stats-crunching consultant. A master at explaining the economic weather to captains of industry, he translated that skill into advising Richard Nixon in his 1968 campaign. This led to a perch on the White House Council of Economic Advisers, and then to a dazzling array of business and government roles, from which the path to the Fed was relatively clear. A fire-breathing libertarian and disciple of Ayn Rand in his youth who once called the Fed’s creation a historic mistake, Mallaby shows how Greenspan reinvented himself as a pragmatist once in power. In his analysis, and in his core mission of keeping inflation in check, he was a maestro indeed, and hailed as such. At his retirement in 2006, he was lauded as the age’s necessary man, the veritable God in the machine, the global economy’s avatar. His memoirs sold for record sums to publishers around the world.
But then came 2008. Mallaby’s story lands with both feet on the great crash which did so much to damage Alan Greenspan’s reputation. Mallaby argues that the conventional wisdom is off base: Greenspan wasn’t a naïve ideologue who believed greater regulation was unnecessary. He had pressed for greater regulation of some key areas of finance over the years, and had gotten nowhere. To argue that he didn’t know the risks in irrational markets is to miss the point. He knew more than almost anyone; the question is why he didn’t act, and whether anyone else could or would have. A close reading of Greenspan’s life provides fascinating answers to these questions, answers whose lessons we would do well to heed. Because perhaps Mallaby’s greatest lesson is that economic statesmanship, like political statesmanship, is the art of the possible. The Man Who Knew is a searching reckoning with what exactly comprised the art, and the possible, in the career of Alan Greenspan.
The Spotify Play: How CEO and Founder Daniel Ek Beat Apple, Google and Amazon in the Race for Audio Dominance₦8,500.00
Steve Jobs tried to stop this moment from ever happening. Google and Microsoft made bids to preempt it. The music industry blocked it time and again. Yet, on a summer’s eve in 2011, the whiz kid CEO of a Swedish start-up celebrated his company’s US launch.
In the midst of the Apple-Android tech war and a music label crusade against piracy and illegal downloading, Spotify redrew the battle lines, sent shockwaves through Silicon Valley, and got the hardline executives at Universal, Sony, and Warner to sign with its “free-mium” platform.
In The Spotify Play, now adapted into an upcoming Netflix Original series, Swedish investigative tech journalists Sven Carlsson and Jonas Leijonhufvud, who covered the company from its inception, draw upon hundreds of interviews, previously untapped sources, and in-depth reporting on figures like Mark Zuckerberg, Sean Parker, Steve Jobs, Taylor Swift, Jay-Z, Pony Ma Huateng, and Jimmy Iovine. They have captured the riveting David vs. Goliath story of a disruptive innovator who played the industry giants in a quest to revolutionize the consumption of sound, building today’s largest online source of audio, with more than 50 million songs, one million-plus podcasts, and over 300 million users.
You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and thrown in a blender. The blades start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?
If you want to work at Google, or any of America’s best companies, you need to have an answer to this and other puzzling questions. Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? guides readers through the surprising solutions to dozens of the most challenging interview questions. The book covers the importance of creative thinking, ways to get a leg up on the competition, what your Facebook page says about you, and much more.
For decades, women battered the walls of the male fortress of television journalism. After fierce struggles, three women—Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, and Christiane Amanpour—broke into the newsroom’s once impenetrable “boys’ club.” These women were not simply pathbreakers, but wildly gifted journalists whose unique talents enabled them to climb to the top of the corporate ladder and transform the way Americans received their news.
Drawing on exclusive interviews with their colleagues and intimates from childhood on, The News Sorority crafts a lively and exhilarating narrative that reveals the hard struggles and inner strengths that shaped these women and powered their success. Life outside the newsroom—love, loss, child rearing—would mark them all, complicating their lives even as it deepened their convictions and instincts. Life inside the newsroom would include many nervy decisions and back room power plays previously uncaptured in any media account. Taken together, Sawyer’s, Couric’s, and Amanpour’s lives as women are here revealed not as impediments but as keys to their success.
Raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Diane Sawyer was a young woman steering her own unique political course in a time of societal upheaval. Her fierce intellect, almost insuperable work ethic, and sophisticated emotional intelligence would catapult Sawyer from being the first female on-air correspondent for 60 Minutes, to presenting anchoring the network flagship ABC World News. From her first breaks as a reporter all the way through her departure in 2014, Sawyer’s charisma and drive would carry her through countless personal and professional changes.
Katie Couric, always conveniently underestimated because of her “girl-next-door” demeanor, brazened her way through a succession of regional TV news jobs until she finally hit it big. In 1991, Couric became the cohost of Today, where, over the next fifteen years, she transformed the “female” slot from secondary to preeminent while shouldering devastating personal loss. Couric’s greatest triumph—and most bedeviling challenge—was at CBS Evening News, as the first woman to solo-anchor a nighttime network news program. Her contradictions—seriously feminist while proudly sorority-girlish—made her beyond easy typecasting, and as original as she is relatable.
A glamorous, unorthodox cosmopolite—raised in pre-revolution Iran amid royalty and educated in England—Christiane Amanpour would never have been picked out of a lineup as a future war reporter, until her character flourished on catastrophic soil: her family’s exile during the Iranian Revolution. Once she knew her calling, Amanpour shrewdly made a virtue of her outsider status, joining the fledgling CNN on the bottom rung and then becoming its “face,” catalyzing its rise to global prominence. Amanpour’s fearlessness in war zones would make her the world’s witness to some of its most acute crises and television’s chief advocate for international justice.
Revealing the tremendous combination of ambition, empathy, and skill that empowered Sawyer, Couric, and Amanpour to reach stardom, The News Sorority is a detailed story of three very particular lives and a testament to the extraordinary character of women everywhere.