Summary of How They Blew It

The CEO's and Entrepreneurs Behind Some of the World's Most Catastrophic Business Failures

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How They Blew It book summary
Some entrepreneurs and CEOs push the envelope so hard they rip it open and all the money falls out.


6 Overall

5 Applicability

7 Innovation

6 Style


In recent years, serial entrepreneurs and celebrity CEOs have become rock stars, not just of the corporate world but also of society at large. People love to learn about big business mavens, what they do, where they live, what they drive, where they party and who their spouses are. Even more darkly compelling are the bad boy wheelers and dealers who have dramatically blown up their firms through financial chicanery (almost exclusively a male activity; thus, few bad girls of business exist). In this timely yet disturbing book, journalist Jamie Oliver and recruitment expert Tony Goodwin present a rogues’ gallery of entrepreneurs and CEOs who have disgraced themselves and destroyed their companies, often trashing the savings of multitudes of innocent bystanders. Some of these guys didn’t blow it, exactly, in that they went home plenty rich – but their firms still suffered on their watch. The authors lightly, charmingly depict the lives of these corporate desperados, offering lessons other leaders can draw from their stories. While morbidly fascinating and a bit sensational, the book sometimes loses its edge as it catalogs deals negotiated, firms bought, bad strategies enacted and millions lost. Nonetheless, getAbstract quite enjoys this voyeur’s look at how these big shots imploded and how to avoid making the same mistakes.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What common mistakes many reckless CEOs and entrepreneurs have made
  • What risks such individuals often take
  • How to avoid making the same errors


Hero or Heel?
A “fine line” separates CEO and serial entrepreneur heroes from business heels. Great business leaders must be brave enough to try new things, but not so reckless as to risk it all. They must have confidence in their judgment, but not become egotistical jerks who never listen...
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About the Authors

Jamie Oliver is a U.K. journalist specializing in entrepreneurship. Tony Goodwin owns and runs a recruitment business with offices in Russia, China, Africa and the Middle East.

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