Summary of Lessons from the Titans

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Lessons from the Titans book summary

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This well-considered argument by Wall Street analysts Scott M. Davis, Rob Wertheimer and Carter Copeland favors traditional business practices: hard work, humility, great systems, constant improvements and an amply rewarded workforce. The authors provide a compelling case for the fundamentals by citing companies they know well. Their lessons – from avoiding arrogance and complacency to seeking the highest returns on invested capital – prove worthwhile no matter where you work, whether you run a software shop or build aircraft.

About the Authors

Veteran Wall Street analysts Scott Davis, Carter Copeland and Rob Wertheimer run Melius Research, a research, analytics and investment firm with headquarters in New York and Boston.


The media and investors focus too much on market share and disruption.

Investors and the news media pay too little attention to business fundamentals: cash flow, systems and return on invested capital. Despite record levels of debt and volatility within the tech industry, valuations rise on the expectation that these firms will disrupt traditional industrials.

Complacency and arrogance damage or destroy once-successful firms. Any firm that practices humility, discipline and adherence to fundamentals can survive disruption. Industrial titans – major corporations – offer rising firms important lessons about resilience and riding out rough times.

General Electric (GE) exemplifies good and bad practices.

At the turn of the 21st century, GE was the world’s largest, most admired company. Fortune magazine named then-CEO Jack Welch “Manager of the Century.” Today, GE survives as a diminished version of its former self after arrogance and CEO incompetence almost destroyed it.

Under Welch, GE focused on manufacturing quality and efficiency, invested in automation, and, at first, downsized...

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