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Luck is where you find it - How to skip directly to Great without passing Go

This study from Deloitte suggests that survivor bias and a lack of rigor discredit the "research" in books like "In Search of Excellence" and "Good to Great".

Link: http://www.deloitte.com/dtt/cda/doc/content/us_consulting_persistencerandomsearchfor_April2009.pdf

They claim that "success studies tend to rely exclusively on intuition to justify the noteworthiness" of the companies which are studied and go on and provide a pretty easy to understand explanation of why what is presented as the secret of success in innumerable business books is really no more significant than seeing "Elvis in a slice of pound cake" Mmmmmm.... pound cake...

Sure, they are shilling for their own research, but it is definitely worth a read. I've seen all sorts of organizations try to claim success as due to their particular efforts - sometimes to laughable levels which I can't repeat, but if you are a consumer of business practices or business "research" it is a necessary read. Snake-oil salesmen may be well intentioned, but sometimes they are just plain wrong.

As an aside, often I don't get a chance to read some of the more popular business books until their fad has passed. More often than not, the tide has turned on a number of the companies profiled and they have fallen from greatness. The lesson learned: life is fleeting. Make what you can from it while you can.

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