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We Need Some New “Wise Guys” – New Book May Help Us Find Them

Never before have we needed the wisest among us making the wisest decisions of their lives.

All those “Masters of the Universe” are desperately trying to save their companies, their fortunes and their necks and the rest of us are desperately looking at them to do something well --- masterful!

A new book, “HOW THE WISE DECIDE: The Lessons of 21 Extraordinary Leaders” takes a look at how some of the most experienced, successful and wisest leaders come by their decisions.

The authors, Bryn Zeckhauser and Aaron Sandoski both HBS grads met at McKinsey & Company and were under what they call enormous pressure to make difficult decisions in their first jobs as managers. Despite the platinum pedigrees, they didn’t feel like they were prepared or had been trained to make so-called great decisions.

I had lunch today with Aaron and he told he how for more than 3 years they researched and interviewed some of the world’s most successful CEOs and thought leaders - including Stephen Schwarzman, John Whitehead, Shelly Lazarus, Harvey Golub and Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer - and found that those who are known for having made many wise decisions basically follow six primary principles:

  • Go to the Source
  • Fill a Room with Barbarians
  • Conquer the Fear of Risk
  • Make Vision Your Daily Guide
  • Listen with Purpose
  • Be Transparent

The book is chocked full of lessons to be learned from some remarkable leaders whose shared wisdom can surely help foster the wise decisions needed in today’s troubled times.

See excerpt here.
Reprinted, with permission, from HOW THE WISE DECIDE: THE LESSONS OF 21 EXTRAORDINARY LEADERS Copyright © 2008 by Bryn Zeckhauser and Aaron Sandoski. Published by Crown Business,
a division of Random House, Inc. 6

Questions, comments? bullishonbooks@cnbc.com