• Overview
  • Concrete Examples
  • Engaging


Conventional wisdom isn’t always wise. In fact, cynics would say it never is, and an examination of history indicates that they have a good case. Ideas that were formerly so highly regarded that they weren’t even open to question or criticism now seem out-dated, wrong or even downright silly. For example, people no longer believe that the world is flat, that gods live on mountaintops and that the devil is the source of disease. In this engaging book, authors and marketing executives David Bernstein, Beau Fraser and Bill Schwab debunk similar grizzled concepts that the business world has long considered holy writ. getAbstract recommends this witty, perceptive book to anyone who is willing to look at old business dogma in new ways. Before you pick it up, check your old assumptions, tired verities and stale nostrums at the front door.


Sacred Cows or Dumb Cattle?

Hindus believe cows are sacred representatives of the holiness of life itself. In business, sacred cows are old, time-tested and supposedly proven ideas about how things work. Most businesspeople treat certain fossilized concepts, such as “the customer is always right,” with remarkable reverence. They are like younger family members who treat an aged grandfather with totemic respect – even as he lapses into senility. Once, indeed for a long time, these aged concepts may have made good business sense. But like all superannuated ideas, the business world’s sacred cows may not be relevant any more in today’s environment. Unfortunately, because they are sacred, these ideas continue to stop conversations and inhibit new business approaches. It’s time to put such sacred cows out to pasture, including these old saws:

  • “Always trust your research” – Focus groups, questionnaires and surveys are important. But they are not everything. In 1999, the Beihua Beverage Company planned to market iced tea in China. It seemed like a natural. Chinese love tea. Why wouldn’t they love an iced variety? However, the company’s research director killed...

About the Authors

David Bernstein, Beau Fraser and Bill Schwab are senior executives at a global marketing firm with offices in New York, London, Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai.

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