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.