A Case Against Common Wisdom
By Theodore Kinni

(Business 2.0) – Business 2.0 columnist Jeffrey Pfeffer and collaborator Robert Sutton boil business down to two words: knowing and doing. According to their new book, Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths & Total Nonsense (Harvard Business School Press), too many companies are "doing without knowing, or at least without knowing enough."

The authors attack chestnuts of business wisdom, such as the beliefs that financial incentives drive performance and that work and private lives should remain separate, arguing that the logic behind these notions is "incomplete, misleading, and downright wrong." The best companies have the best people? Not true, say Pfeffer and Sutton, who assert that accurately assessing talent is almost impossible. Finally, they suggest how leaders can insulate themselves from nonsense. The executive summary: Face the hard facts.

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.