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The Art of Being Unreasonable: Lessons in Unconventional Thinking Hardcover – May 8, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"The reasonable man adapts himself to theworld. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends upon the unreasonable man."
George Bernard Shaw

"Reasonable" people come up with all the reasons something new and different can't be done, because, after all, no one else has done it that way. Eli Broad's embrace of "unreasonable thinking" has helped him build two Fortune 500 companies, amass personal billions, and use his wealth to create a new approach to philanthropy. He has funded scientific research institutes, K–12 education reform, and some of the world's greatest contemporary art museums.

The Art of Being Unreasonable shares the unreasonable principles—from negotiating to risk-taking, from investing to hiring—that have made Eli Broad a success. From understanding "the value of being second" to embracing the thrill of taking a risk, Broad shares the insights and practices that have propelled him to the top. The book explains how to ask unreasonable questions, pursue the untried, relentlessly revise expectations upward, be restless, and most important, seek out the best in everything—the best values, the best investments, the best people—and the best in yourself.

If you're stuck doing what reasonable people do—and not getting anywhere—it's time to get unreasonable, and see how far your next endeavor can go.

From the Back Cover

Praise for The Art of Being Unreasonable

"In The Art of Being Unreasonable, my friend Eli Broad lets us in on his secrets to success in business, philanthropy, and life—and he asks the right questions, looks for the right answers, and never stops working until he gets results. At a time when our country needs to focus on what works, Eli's book is a blueprint for effective public citizenship."
President William Jefferson Clinton

"Reading Eli Broad's The Art of Being Unreasonable may not turn you into a billionaire philanthropist, but it will surely make you stop and think about the thousands of hours you waste stopping and thinking, when you could be out there doing. Eli is the exemplar of how to succeed in business and in life by really trying and only taking yes for an answer."
Morley Safer, Correspondent, 60 Minutes

"As a creator of successful companies, Eli Broad has few equals, and The Art of Being Unreasonable clearly shows why. It's also a book that powerfully makes the case that wealth finds its ultimate purpose in public service."
Bill Gates, Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Chairman, Microsoft Corporation

"The art of being effectively unreasonable has propelled Eli Broad to the pinnacle in four careers. But he also is completely delightful, as is this book. It will teach you how to become a success by merrily bending reality."
Walter Isaacson, author, Steve Jobs, and CEO, Aspen Institute

"Eli Broad is the only entrepreneur ever to create two Fortune 500 companies in different industries, and in this movingly personal and wonderfully plain-spoken book, he not only describes how he did it, but also the lessons anyone can take from his career. It's a story rich in engaging anecdotes and human detail."
Maria Bartiromo, Anchor, CNBC's Closing Bell and The Wall Street Journal Report

"Eli Broad is a man of great accomplishments in many fields. Few will read his book without a twinge of envy; almost all will learn a lot. And what you learn will be useful in your career and your life."
Donald E. Graham, Chairman, The Washington Post Company

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (May 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 111817321X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118173213
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #174,806 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Eli Broad is a renowned business leader who built two Fortune 500 companies from the ground up over a five-decade career in business. He is the founder of both SunAmerica Inc. and KB Home (formerly Kaufman and Broad Home Corporation).

Today, Eli Broad and his wife, Edythe, are devoted to philanthropy as founders of The Broad Foundations, which they established to advance entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science and the arts. The Broad Foundations, which include The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and The Broad Art Foundation, have assets of $2.4 billion.

His first book, "The Art of Being Unreasonable: Lessons in Unconventional Thinking," was published by Wiley in April 2012.

The Broads reside in Los Angeles and have two grown sons.

Learn more: www.elibroad.com
Like Eli Broad on Facebook: www.facebook.com/elibroad
Follow Eli Broad on Twitter: @unreasonableeli

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Saw this book at the Broad museum in East Lansing, and picked up a copy to read on my e-reader.

Read it in a day, found it to be a fun and inspirational page-turner. One of the reasons I enjoyed this book is that he is an incredibly successful man who doesn't theorize about life - he just went out and did it. Think that a lot of the things he wrote in the book can help everyone be more critical with their time, and also more giving.

One of the favorite quotes from the book:

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends upon the unreasonable man." - George Bernard Shaw

Here are some things I personally took away/learned from the book:

1. Help people meet their essential needs

2. Be unreasonable

3. Research, meticulously

4. Appeal to the interest of others

5. Ask a lot of questions

6. Revise expectations upward

7. Take risks

8. Seek out the best in your work

9. Seek the best in yourself

10. Be focused in your goals

11. Ask: "why not?"

12. "Conventional wisdom abhors innovation."

13. Keep innovating, keep moving!

14. Learn from the mistakes of others in history

15. Be stingy with your time

16. Delegate work efficiently (but do critical work yourself)

17. Put your money where your mouth is

18. Invest in solid mutual funds (don't do it yourself)

19. Focus on assymetric opportunities (when the payoff is higher than the downside)

20. Diversify or die

21. Ask people: "Is this the best you can do?"

22.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Clint Coffee on August 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Eli Broad's title, The Art of Being Unreasonable, is misleading. Instead of being unreasonable, Broad champions logic over the unreasonable desire to stick to convention because it's comfortable. He advocates efficiency in every aspect of life. Both nuggets are good advice, but I can find little else in the way of practical, specific advice that the title indicates I'll get.

Instead, Broad's book is a memoir. It's well written, brief, and easy to read.

But I didn't pick this book up because I was interested in his life story. I could've found that on the internet. For that, I can't give his heavily marketed book more than two stars.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Lighthouse Keeper on May 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Although I am retired from corporate America and now enjoy the nonprofit sector I can't seem to grow out of my love for business books. This is a terrific one and like the good ones Broad's advice applies to business, art and life in general. The provocative title may lead the reader to think that it is another rant by yet another billionaire with a puffed-up chest, but it is compact, surprisingly subdued, sometimes self-deprecating and shines the spotlight on his team over the years--especially his wife, Edythe. I highly recommend it for anyone with an entrepreneurial dream, a tough management job or a thirst for learning about an amazing success story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stanislaus Martins on June 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I have to confess this was not a very good book. I started it on a Monday and finished it on a Friday hoping to have acquired some serious insights into the world of business before the week was over. I was very disappointed. The title and the intro by Mayor Bloomberg helped to really wet my apetite for this book and I really expected soo much. The first few chapters was ok, covering the author's beginnings, how he got started and all that but as I continued to read the book and got into deeper chapters, my thirst for the art of being unreasonable continued to grow and I kept thinking the thirst would be quenched soon. My thirst for knowledge was never satisfied. The book was very broadly written and for me the writer spent too much time talking about his personal achievements and didn't deliver much in the area of impacting knowledge. It is no easy feat to have setup two fortune 500 companies by any account but it just seems the writer was unable to actually pass his principles across. I got very bored with the book at around chapter 15 but finished it. The book's title and also the title of a number of the chapters I felt was just too "powerful" to have still left me feeling like I got nothing.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lisa on May 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is so pleasant. Surprising from one who terms himself unreasonable.

Perhaps it's just my recent mindset but after reading two books (this one included) by business successes that were glossed over and lacked much real depth I'm done with the genre before reading a lot of reviews beforehand. Contrast many of these books with Jack Welch's Winning, in which we learn amazing insight into business, and these other books lack substance.

On the positive, Broad sprinkles in a few facts about his life, which one might guess is very interesting. The book is easy to read, uses simple language and is well organized. He gets the third star for the wonderful way he speaks about his wife (I was genuinely touched).

On the negative, there just isn't a lot of here here. Do you need to be told to take risk if you want to be a big success? To set high standards and work long hours? Broad claims to be "unreasonable" but doesn't really define the term in his own context or why it lead to his success (or perhaps he just means high standards, long hours, etc = unreasonable = success). For example, he mentions that Frank Gehry was designing his own personal residence, that didn't work out and then Broad had to cooperate with him in the building of Walt Disney Hall (Gehry designed it). There must be a very interesting story in that clash - you won't find it in here.

I actually wish I hadn't paid for this book but, again to be fair, it's a very quick, light easy read so not a big commitment. I just wish I'd learned something valuable. But to be fair, my expectations of what I was getting tainted my reading experience (it wasn't the book I thought it would be) so hopefully this review will clarify the contents for those interested.
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