Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Art of Being Unreasonable: Lessons in Unconventional Thinking Hardcover – May 8, 2012
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
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
Top customer reviews
Whereas the perfect 20/20 vision of hindsight, delivered in a brilliant to-the-point format of a book, might make the answer to the question seem obvious (of course I would have backed him, he was a genius!), the here and now is always infinitely more difficult. And that's the beauty of the success of The Outsiders, William Thorndike's masterpiece; waved around today as a blueprint for capital allocation prowess and corporate stewardship, at different points in time all eight CEOs portrayed in the book have been considered to be utterly insane, with share-prices lingering at Graham-type valuations. KB Homes and Eli Broad, while not one of the eight Outsiders, were no exception. Unconventionality is not offered up alongside low volatility and steadily quarterly progress!
The structure of the book is loosely aligned with Mr. Broad's reasons for success occupying the first half of the book, with chapters such as "Forget Conventional Wisdom" and "The Value of Being Second". They are all well researched, applicable and wonderfully prosed. I enjoyed this part of the book as much as Morton Mandel's It's All About Who and Jack Welch's Straight From The Gut. The latter half of the book takes it into more detail and also mixes business lessons with Broad's considerable accomplishments in philanthropy and art collection. This is where the plot gets a little thin in my opinion, at least for the business-minded reader. But, the book-title conveys more than a figurative reference to "art"; it is actually covered almost with the same detail and gusto as his other three "careers". Although neatly interwoven with business and life, it is a subject matter somewhat narrower in scope to copy-and-learn from. As a reader, you can choose to breeze through these pages. But dinner would be a poorer meal without enjoying dessert.
Getting back to the "it could have been even better"-comment. Hidden in a paragraph towards the end, Mr. Broad talks about an investment KB Homes made in 1966, founding Nation Wide Cablevision, one of the earliest entrants into this field. Receiving a bid for the business in 1972 from TCI, KB Homes - strapped for cash from heavy investing into home building, cable and insurance - decided to sell. After bemoaning the fact that the $23mn could have been worth much more today, merely from holding onto TCI stock, but perhaps even more so by consolidating the industry themselves, Mr. Broad merely drops the subject. As an avid student of business leaders and entrepreneurship, I wished he spent more pages on how capital allocations were made, the importance (or not) of a "corporate DNA" and how this experience affected the AIG takeover of SunAmerica. Inasmuch as I enjoyed a full-length book on his career and massive accomplishments (the CV runs 11 pages), the spirit Mr Broad shares with the other Outsiders would have made for fascinating reading under Thorndike's tutelage.
This is a review by investingbythebooks.com
As a CEO Coach, one of my clients worked for Eli Broad. I remember the stories of how tough he was yet they were mere anecdotes to me. Reading his account of his life, he was a no nonsense kind of leader, tough but fair. I love the story about where he asked a charge, "Is this the best you can do?" Many CEOs can learn from his attitude and demeanor. Was he the "perfect" leader. No, but who is? Could he have spent more time with his family? Yes. He made choices, some of which he regretted, many that he did not.
Another great leader (in my opinion) is Balaji Krishnamurthy, who has a test for leadership. Simply:
Leadership = Leverage + Legacy
A leader causes someone to act differently than they would have on their own... i.e. the "extra". Leverage causes thinking, acting and behaving in many people. Great leaders have high leverage. Legacy is over how much time. Great leaders affect many people over a long time.
Mr. Broad has done both, professionally AND personally. Indulge the differences in the ratings. Eli deserves every star as he demonstrated to others how to be a great leader.