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Outsider Hardcover – 23 Oct 2012

4.9 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Review

"An outstanding book about CEOs who excelled at capital allocation." -- Warren Buffett "One of the Most Important Business Books in America." -- Forbes "This book completely changed my business life... If you want to build a company that generates incredible returns, this book should be on your required reading list." -- Dave Morin, Founder & Partner, Slow Ventures as seen on Medium "... easily the best investment or business book published in the past few years..." -- Brendan Matthews, Motley Fool "...an important insider's perspective, an unapologetic glimpse into the hard-core investor view of what success looks like." -- Forbes.com "It focuses on the less sexy but equally important job of a CEO--capital allocation." -- Mebane Faber, CIO and portfolio manager at Cambria Investment Management (Business Insider's Wall Street Reading List for 2014) "Thorndike wants to give any manager or business owner the confidence to occasionally do things differently from your peers ... to make the most of the cards they're dealt and to delight their shareholders." -- Financial Times "[Thorndike's] findings turn received wisdom about CEO success on its head. It's not revenue and profit growth, but the increase in a company's per share value that offers the ultimate barometer of a CEO's greatness... Thorndike may have discovered an alchemic formula for CEO success. But will existing CEOs listen?" -- economia "Thorndike has done extensive research on each of the people features, and their success story makes for an inspiring and most definitely, compelling read." -- The Hindu (India) "An extremely instructive read...well worth the effort." -- Business Traveller magazine "This is an eminently readable volume with plenty of lessons." -- The Irish Times ADVANCE PRAISE for The Outsiders: Jim Collins, author, Good to Great; coauthor, Built to Last and Great by Choice-- "Will Thorndike dissects an eclectic and fascinating group of business leaders who created exceptional long-term value. He takes the unique angle of examining great CEOs as chief allocators of capital, so disciplined in their empirical rationality as to be nonconformists in the very best sense. Thorndike's take is fresh, smart, and provocative--and well worth learning." Michael J. Mauboussin, Chief Investment Strategist, Legg Mason Capital Management; author, The Success Equation-- "Will Thorndike provides management principles that are as rock solid as they are rare and shares the engaging stories of eight CEOs who lived by them. The ideas in this book provide both executives and investors with the North Star of value. Follow it and prosper." Mason Hawkins, Chairman and CEO, Southeastern Asset Management-- "The Outsiders is a must-read for leaders--and aspiring leaders--striving to become exceptional CEOs, and for investors interested in partnering with exceptional stewards of corporate capital." Walter Kiechel, author, The Lords of Strategy-- "If creating wealth for shareholders is the ultimate test of a CEO, meet the champions. The names of these 'outsiders' may come as a surprise, but you will learn valuable strategic lessons from their iconoclastic ways." Thomas A. Russo, Partner, Gardner Russo & Gardner-- "The Outsiders celebrates leaders who kept their firms focused, rewarded their management despite long periods of inactivity, and--by keeping their companies out of trouble--found themselves free to pounce when compelling opportunities arose. A highly effective playbook for excellence."

About the Author

William N. Thorndike is founder and a managing director of Housatonic Partners, a private equity firm. He is a graduate of Harvard College and the Stanford Graduate School of Business and has been a guest lecturer at the Harvard and Stanford business schools. He is a director of eight companies, and two not-for-profit organizations and lives in the Boston area with his wife and two children.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business School Press India Limited (23 October 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422162672
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422162675
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 14.6 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #22,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fantastic book. Although the book is about 8 CEOs it is actually a book about sensible investing. Each CEO increased the wealth of his shareholders by buying the stock of his own company and other companies...prudently. This book is a good exposition on how they did it and what investing thought process they followed. Each one of them was indeed good value investor...buying the stocks only when the price was far less than intrinsic value of the businesses...their own or acquired companies. Each one showed tremendous discipline and patience when their were no bargains in the market. No share buybacks and no acquisitions. The book articulates good investing principles followed by these gentlemen and what made them so successful. I think it is more a way of thinking and living that matters when it comes to investing in stock market. If you understand the thought process of these great minds and apply in your own investing then there is no reason why you won't make money in the market. Let these great asset allocators and investors be your guide in treacherous stock markets.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Outsiders is a collection of eight short stories, each on an exceptional company of the last half century, emphasizing the importance of Capital Allocation i.e. how to best deploy firms capital (equity and debt) and resources (people). Everything described/summarized in this book is taught in MBA classrooms and Corporate Finance books but rarely we observe it in practice. The author has emphasized on the similarities between the culture and key attributes of these eight companies to the companies that didn't prosper in the same era. The principles of success remain the same - frugality, low overheads, accountability, maximizing long-term shareholder value, among others.

These stories are not about extraordinary innovation that happened at Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon or Microsoft but of companies that went on to achieve exceptional results doing ordinary businesses with discipline, and how these companies fared when faced disruption (from the likes of Google). The principles of value generation will continue to remain the same even today, however, I am all the more encouraged to read this book several times in future because India is so much like America of 1960s-1990s.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A must read for everyone in finance or business in general. Very engrossing. Beautifully written. Must agree with Mr. Buffett when he called it an Outstanding Book in one of his newsletters.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great Book to have key insights about the best practices of high performing CEOs.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A MUST BOOK FOR ALL BUSINESSMEN AND INVESTORS. IT CHANGED MY VIEW OF LOOKING AT ANY BUSINESS.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Its a fantastic Book for a business man to an investor. Its focus is completely on the way wisely the managers who have allocated capital in their respective business and have generated extraordinary returns over the period of their tenure in the business. Capital allocation is more of an art than science. It has more to do with the Managers inner skills. And this skills have created huge enterprises over period of years and created huge empires.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fantastic book on the importance of capital allocation.... Little known below the radar CEOs who created tremendous wealth for shareholders
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Format: Hardcover
A CEO has five essential choices for deploying capital raised through internal accruals, debt and equity. a) Invest in existing operations, b) acquisitions, c) debt reduction, d) dividends and e) buybacks.

Essentially, the most vital skill a CEO must have is capital allocation which will determine the return to shareholders. This crux is the key focal point of William Thorndike's excellent book The Outsiders. In this book Thorndike writes about eight CEO's whose average returns during their tenure have outperformed the S&P 500 and their peers by a huge margin. All these individuals were first time CEO's with insignificant prior managerial experience but they still succeeded owing to their consistent analytical and rational thought process and having a long term perspective. The other significant trait common to all these CEO's was none of them was obsessed with boosting up market capitalization. The eight terrific CEO's featured are:

*Tom Murphy - Capital Cities Broadcasting
*Henry Singleton - Teledyne
*Bill Anders - General Dynamics
*John Malone - TCI
*Katharine Graham - The Washington Post Company
*Bill Stiritz - Ralston Purina
*Dick Smith - General Cinema
*Warren Buffett - Berkshire Hathaway

These eight individuals were champions in capital generation, capital allocation and decentralized operations. All of these CEO's were "foxes" (as against "hedgehogs" - knows one thing, but knows very well) who knew many disciplines and were very efficiently able to make connections across industries and disciplines and this variety rendered fresh perspectives and innovation. For e.g.
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