Executive Smarts

Each chapter of this book is aimed at quickly conveying something useful to leaders at all levels. The head of one large military organization tells us he likes our writing because we get to the point and don’t waste his time. A venture capitalist says the same thing. We’ll try to do the same for you.

Consider the table of contents your dim sum menu. Any sequence of chapters, in any combination, will work. This isn’t the kind of book that requires you to slog your way through material that doesn’t interest you to get to what does. And most chapters take no more than five minutes to read.

But please don’t take the brevity and simplicity as light treatment of serious issues. Blaise Pascal famously told three bishops that he would have written them a shorter letter but he didn’t have the time. Well, we took the time. So we hope you’ll find the ideas and information here simple, but not simplistic; we also hope you’ll find them immediately actionable, yet possessing strategic heft.

We selected our topics based on nitty-gritty issues we’ve seen repeatedly over the years and across many industries and sectors. Often, they are our reaction to irksome organizational patterns, such as assigning accountability without authority, or leaders who leave messes behind when they vacate a position, or project managers who cannot, themselves, be managed. Most of the ideas are applicable to organizations of all sizes.


— William Casey and Wendi Peck