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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Market indexes 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. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.