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The Art of Being Unreasonable: Lessons in Unconventional Thinking

Book Description

Unorthodox success principles from a billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist

Eli Broad's embrace of "unreasonable thinking" has helped him build two Fortune 500 companies, amass personal billions, and use his wealth to create a new approach to philanthropy. He has helped to fund scientific research institutes, K-12 education reform, and some of the world's greatest contemporary art museums. By contrast, "reasonable" people come up with all the reasons something new and different can't be done, because, after all, no one else has done it that way. This book shares the "unreasonable" principles—from negotiating to risk-taking, from investing to hiring—that have made Eli Broad such a success.

  • Broad helped to create the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Broad Contemporary Art Museum at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and The Broad, a new museum being built in downtown Los Angeles

  • His investing approach to philanthropy has led to the creation of scientific and medical research centers in the fields of genomic medicine and stem cell research

  • At his alma mater, Michigan State University, he endowed a full-time M.B.A. program, and he and his wife have funded a new contemporary art museum on campus to serve the broader region

  • Eli Broad is the founder of two Fortune 500 companies: KB Home and SunAmerica

If you're stuck doing what reasonable people do—and not getting anywhere—let Eli Broad show you how to be unreasonable, and see how far your next endeavor can go.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Contents
  3. Title
  4. Copyright
  5. Dedication
  6. Foreword
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. Chapter 1: The Art of Being Unreasonable
    1. Being Unreasonably Unreasonable
    2. Discovering the Art of Unreason
  9. Chapter 2: Why Not? The Powerful Question
    1. “Why Not?” as the First Step to Success
    2. Nothing Sets Me Off More Than Being Told I Can’t Do Something
    3. “Why Not?” Should Be Something You Ask Every Day
  10. Chapter 3: Forget Conventional Wisdom
    1. Conventional Wisdom Strangles Innovation
    2. Innovation Is a Permanent Revolution
    3. Success Is a Starting Point, Not a Conclusion
    4. Nothing Lasts Forever
    5. Look Outside Your Personal and Professional Comfort Zone
  11. Chapter 4: Do Your Homework No Matter How Much Time it Takes
    1. Don’t Waste Time on Shortcuts—They’re Usually Dead Ends
    2. Pay Attention to History
    3. Is Core Competency Just Another Term for Complacency?
    4. Once You’ve Done Your Homework, Put in the Long Effort—It Will Pay Off in Unexpected Ways
    5. Big Ideas Don’t Happen in a Moment
    6. You Can’t Do it All Yourself, So Ask Questions and Delegate
  12. Chapter 5: The Value of Being Second
    1. Follow the Smart First Movers
    2. Markets Evolve and First Movers Sometimes Can’t, or Won’t, Keep Up
    3. First Movers Always Leave Some Room—You Just Need to Find It
    4. Study a First Mover’s Failure for Clues to Success
    5. Whether You’re the First Mover, the Second, or the Last—Just Keep Moving
  13. Chapter 6: How to Work 24/7 and Still Get 8 Hours of Sleep
    1. Work Doesn’t Have to Be Your Life, But Your Life Is Your Work
    2. Know What You Have to Do, Which Is Less Than You Think
    3. Not Everyone Needs 8 Hours
    4. Setting Priorities Means Being Disciplined, But Not Rigid
    5. If You Can’t Delegate, It’s Not Them, It’s You
    6. Try Saying “Let’s Move On”—Even to Me
  14. Chapter 7: Bright and Young Is a Winning Combination
    1. Sometimes You Are What You Wear
    2. Interviews Don’t Have to Be Tricky
    3. Qualifications Are Almost Everything
    4. How to Keep ’Em Once You Hire ’Em
    5. Youth Can Be a Risky Bet
    6. Older People Can Be Young Too
  15. Chapter 8: Risk
    1. Clinging to Safety Is More Irrational Than Taking Risk
    2. Asking the Key Questions
    3. Risk Can Be Contagious—Don’t Catch the Deadly Kind
    4. Never Bet the Farm—Or Even Half the Farm
  16. Chapter 9: How to Get Results
    1. Make Sound Promises and Offer Something in Return
    2. Perfect Your Pitch, and Make it Big
  17. Chapter 10: Leverage
    1. Some Straight Talk About the Mother of All Loans—Your Mortgage
    2. Spread the Wealth—How to Leverage Doing Good
    3. Extend the Power of Your Dollar—Find Money That Costs Less Than Yours
    4. Leveraging People and Effort Works Just as Well as Leveraging Money
  18. Chapter 11: Marketing
    1. Know Your Customers and What Moves Them
    2. Focus on Value Because Your Customers Will
    3. Market Like a Major Player, but Don’t Spend Like One
    4. Make What You’re Selling Matter—From the Name and Slogan on Down
    5. Selling a Cause Requires More than Conviction
  19. Chapter 12: Investing
    1. Don’t Fear Risk, But Don’t Take One if You Don’t Have to
    2. Focus on Picking an Advisor, Not Stocks
    3. Diversify or Die
    4. Volatility Happens
  20. Chapter 13: Negotiation
    1. How to Make a Sound Offer Every Time
    2. In a Good Negotiation, Everybody Wins
    3. Never Be Afraid to Ask
    4. Surviving the Silences and the Stares—Stay Unemotional and Disciplined
    5. Be Ready to Say Yes and Don’t Sit Down Unless You Can Make a Decision
    6. Don’t Swing Wildly—Start Close to Where You Want to End Up
    7. Never Forget What Makes the Other Guy Tick
  21. Chapter 14: The Logic of Being Logical
    1. A Logical Idea Is One That Makes You Say, “Why Didn’t I Think of That?”
    2. Like Wine, an Idea May Need to Age
  22. Chapter 15: I Ain’t Nothing but a Hound Dog
    1. Go After Big Game
    2. Whether or Not You Succeed, You Have to Keep Hunting
    3. Unreasonable Persistence Produces Big Payoffs
    4. Even the Unreasonably Persistent Must Know When to Quit
  23. Chapter 16: Is That the Best You Can Do? Motivating People by Challenging Them
    1. High Expectations and Shared Challenges Create Loyalty
    2. Nothing Motivates Like Achievement
    3. What’s Better Than Praise—Money and Higher Expectations
    4. Fear Is Not a Motivator—It Only Gets You Unhappy Employees and Poor Work
    5. Whether You Succeed or Fail, Keep Moving
  24. Chapter 17: Competition
    1. Just Because There’s a Winner Doesn’t Mean There’s a Loser
    2. Architecture—The Purest Form of Competition
    3. The Unexpected Pluses of Architecture Competitions
    4. Concept Over Cost
  25. Chapter 18: It’s Better to Be Respected Than Loved
    1. Disagreement Is Healthy—Learn How to Distinguish it from Dissent
    2. Good Principles Are Portable—Stick to Them
    3. Let Go of Power Before You Let Go of Principles
    4. Don’t Become Ensnared by Egos—Not Even Your Own
    5. If You’re in the Way, Move
    6. Nothing Wins People Over Like Success
  26. Chapter 19: Giving Back
    1. Everyone Can Be a Philanthropist—Not Just the Rich
    2. Don’t Just Give it Away—Look for the Place to Make a Difference
    3. Start Giving Now—And it Doesn’t Have to Be Money
    4. Be a Philanthropic Game Changer—Start Local and Think Like an Entrepreneur
  27. Chapter 20: Education: Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste
    1. The World Is Moving Forward, but American Education Is Stagnant
    2. If There’s a Crisis, Get Involved and Make a Change
    3. Big Goals and Big Results
    4. Taking Big Risks Means Getting Big Pushback
  28. Chapter 21: The Unreasonableness of Art and Artists
    1. Why I Collect
    2. Doing Homework—Even for an Avocation—Will Deepen Your Experience
    3. Pursuing a Passion Sometimes Means Casting Aside Your Business Sense
    4. How Not to Get Distracted by Your Passion
    5. A Passion Is Not a License to Spend
    6. For Even Greater Rewards, Share What You Love
  29. Chapter 22: Reflections and Second Thoughts
    1. My Parents’ Unintentional Gift
    2. My Sons and My Choice—On That Elusive Work-Life Balance
    3. Don’t Let Others Define Your Failures or Your Successes
    4. My Proudest Moments—They May Not Be What You Think
    5. I Hope My Greatest Achievement Is Yet to Come
    6. The Best Move I Ever Made
  30. Appendix
  31. Supplemental Images
  32. Index