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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The “unwritten rules” of Raytheon’s William Swanson

...Swanson’s book had been met with much acclaim in the corporate world, always on the lookout for short-cuts to complex problems. It had apparently won praise from former GE executive Jack Welch and investment guru Warren Buffett, among others. It became, in the words of one commentator, “a cult hit in corporate America”; Raytheon, the fourth-largest defense contractor in the US, had given away some 300,000 copies.

On April 14, USA Today ran a flattering piece on Swanson and his book. It reprinted his list of “unwritten rules” in a sidebar. Carl Durrenberger, a young engineer in San Diego, noticed that the body of Swanson’s observations bore a remarkable resemblance to the King work, of which he possessed a copy. In fact, he noted, that of Swanson’s 33 rules, 17 came virtually word for word from King.

Durrenberger wrote a letter to the editors of USA Today, noting that “nearly all of these ‘unwritten rules’ have indeed been written—by another author in fact, sixty years ago.... Perhaps there is a new rule he [Swanson] needs to swallow about taking credit for other people’s work. Or perhaps this sort of thing has been his recipe for success in corporate America and, for him, stepping on the genius of others is business as usual.”

Durrenberger included a list of the unwritten rules that “were lifted verbatim” from King’s text. These insights include:

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read the rest...
The “unwritten rules” of Raytheon’s William Swanson

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