I’ve recently read “What They Teach You at Harvard Business School: My Two Years Inside the Cauldron of Capitalism”, by Philip Delves Broughton. Below, some thoughts on the book (with spoilers!).
It’s one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read. Also, good insights. What I mostly liked about the book is that it didn’t focus on the knowledge you get by attending HBS, but a lot of times on ethics and strategic thinking. The author was a journalist for around 10 years before joining HBS, and it’s nice to read his perspective. The author knows how to keep you entertained, even if it seems like a boring topic (Finance at HBS? Yes, it can be interesting to read about the process). He also manages to get into the overall atmosphere at HBS in a nice way.
I recommend reading the book, it was worth the time. One of the books I’ve enjoyed a lot.
Below, some things I’ve read in the book:
- “There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live.” ― James Truslow Adams
- “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” ― Theodore Roosevelt, Strenuous Life
- At some point, the students from HBS selected a leader for the Section (a group of around 100 students) the author was in. The winner “promised to get to know each and every one of us and keep us together over our lifetimes”. Networking, but also some personal connections.
- Some lessons from a speaker: you’re never as good as you think you are, but also you’re probably never as bad as you think you are. Also, never, ever compromise on integrity – Meg Whitman (at the time, CEO of eBay).
- (also from Wikipedia just read this about Meg Whitman, “she spent more of her own money on the race than any other political candidate spent on a single election in American history”).
- People spend a lot worry on the 20% chance of having a bad day and no time thinking of the 1% chance of their entire life being turned upside down. The 0.1% risk of losing $100,000 from savings is identical to 20% chance of losing your wallet with $500.