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no one wants advice, only corroboration
sizing up poor advice from the wealthy
by michael d. driscoll

So apparently we had it coming.

We weren't doing well enough on our own, and now someone has published (yet again) words of wizdumb from affluent business people about how they became affluent business people. When will we pull it together people? Honestly, it's simple cause and effect: you do a bad job and now we have to hear from those who didn't screw up as much.

Behold their advice:

"Don't be interesting--be interested"
"There can't be two yous"
“…never put anything in an email”
"Check with the wife"
"Only the paranoid survive"
"Never talk when you can nod”

These vague and annoying word combinations surfaced in a Business 2.0 article titled "My Golden Rule" late last year. The more I read the advice of business titans featured in the article such as Warren Buffett and Richard Branson or the nouveau riche Steven Levitt (Freaknomics) and (of course) Russell Simmons, I feel less like a dumbass at business and more like a son about to walk down the aisle. Check with the wife? Only the paranoid survive? Nice.

*slow clap*

“We asked 49 business visionaries what single philosophy they swear by more than any other -- in business, life or both.” – Business 2.0

I imagine the idea, then, is for us to absorb these pithy, committee-approved "secrets of success" handwritten by some of the most talented PR people who were hired by some of the most well-known businessmen (and a couple of women--because according to Business 2.0 there is more to be learned from men than women in business).

Dear Business 2.0, please consider a name change to Business 2.Uh-Oh or Business 1923. Cheers! --michael

I’m left with the question: Are these people providing information we can really use? I mean really?

Michael’s Business Advice (you can really use)

1) To get ahead in business, quickly identify the Asshole, because until you find one...you may be it.

2) Dream big, play the lottery and make huge plans. Now stop it and get back to work—your lunchtime fantasy game is over. Life 1, you 0.

3) Meetings about meetings only result in further meetings.

4) In business, an executive knows a little about a lot, an IT guy knows a lot about something, but the admins know everything.

5) Set aside petty differences early. This leaves time to argue the really petty stuff.

6) Collaboration is a nice way to go crazy over a really long period of time.

7) Keep the following items in your desk: Advil, Tums, a 5th of Bourbon and your resume. Oh and a match…for those really bad days.

8) A true promotion is when your title and income changes, but not the workload.

9) Having a boss is like a marriage, except you can’t bitch slap your boss when they get fussy.

10) When someone asks “How does a Friday meeting at 4:30 sound?” be sure to tell them it sounds like a howler monkey getting its nuts chopped off…slowly.

11) Challenge dress down Fridays on Monday to get people really talking.

In the article, Author Michael Lewis is shown as saying, “There's something bad in everything good and something good in everything bad.” Honestly, is this helping? I thought I got this in a fortune cookie once.

“Share and share alike,” was extracted from Scott McNealy, Founder and CEO of Sun Microsystems. Seriously, turn…off…the spicket…of stupidity.

In a strange twist, either Jim Press of Toyota and David Neeleman of JetBlue have the same PR person, or Business 1923 printed the same quote for each of them: “Never, ever forget that you are a servant.” Yes, this instills confidence in the reader. It appears nobody at Business 2.Uh-Oh thought to take the advice of Steven Levitt, co-author of Freaknomics who said, “Don’t trust, just verify.”

This leads me to believe they can dish it, but they can’t own it.

You and I are no Warren Buffett; I'm no Steve Ballmer; and you're no Andy Grove (someone at Intel). And yet, we still find ourselves subjected to the snotty powers that be who serve us a neatly packaged "I told you so" sandwich. Sure, they have success, money, expertise and a PR team, but does their advice apply to the real world or just the ones they live in?


Curious about everything, Michael plans to do it all. A ruffian by day and a lover by night he's managed to go where no one else has gone. His slight forgetfulness means he is curious about everything and plans to do it all. A ruffian by day and a lover by night he's managed...

more about michael d. driscoll


tell me something
looking back to move forward
by michael d. driscoll
topic: general
published: 12.18.06

the impossible task of answering a wrong question
becoming more adult-y
by michael d. driscoll
topic: general
published: 10.14.09


robert melos
3.27.06 @ 2:08a

Bravo! These are the very reasons I avoid the corporate world.

And you may not be able to do it, but the fantasy is worth it.Here's an oldie but a goodie.

sandra thompson
3.27.06 @ 7:15a

The beatings will stop as soon as morale improves.

michael driscoll
3.27.06 @ 3:07p

Morale will improve when the beatings stop. :)

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