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The Ten Commandments for Business Failure

208 pages, 2011

business & management

business & management

1082 books
money & investing

money & investing

165 books

Even the smartest executives can fall into the trap of believing in their infallibility. When that happens, more bad decisions are sure to follow. 

This light-hearted “how-not-to” book includes anecdotes from Keough's long career, as well as other infamous failures. His commandments for failure include: Quit Taking Risks; Be Inflexible; Assume Infallibility; Put All Your Faith in Experts; Send Mixed Messages; and Be Afraid of the Future. As he writes, after a lifetime in business, "I've never been able to develop a step-by-step formula that will guarantee success."

Avoiding Change

In 'The Ten Commandments for Business Failure', Donald R. Keough emphasizes the importance of embracing change. He warns that sticking to the status quo and refusing to adapt to new circumstances is a surefire way to fail in business. So, don't be afraid to shake things up and try something new.

Ignoring the Front Line

Keough points out that ignoring your front-line employees is a big mistake. These are the people who interact with your customers daily and understand their needs best. So, make sure you listen to them and value their input.


Overconfidence can lead to business failure, according to Keough. It's important to stay humble and always be open to learning. Remember, there's always room for improvement, no matter how successful you are.

Lack of Transparency

Keough stresses the importance of transparency in business. If you're not honest and open with your employees, customers, and stakeholders, it can lead to mistrust and ultimately, failure. So, always strive for transparency in all your dealings.

Ignoring the Competition

In his book, Keough advises not to ignore your competition. It's crucial to keep an eye on what they're doing, learn from their successes and failures, and continuously strive to stay ahead. So, don't forget to check out what your competitors are up to.

Quotes 3

Keough's book is a masterclass in understanding the fundamentals of business failure, and how to avoid it. It's a must-read for anyone serious about success.

Warren BuffettWarren Buffett - Investment Guru

Keough's insights into business failure are invaluable. This book is a roadmap for avoiding the pitfalls that can derail even the most promising ventures.

Bill GatesBill Gates - Microsoft Co-founder

Keough's book is a treasure trove of wisdom on what not to do in business. It's a guide that every leader should have on their bookshelf.

Jack WelchJack Welch - Former GE CEO
Warren BuffettBill GatesJack Welch


authorWarren Buffett

Warren Buffett


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