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The Outsiders Audiobook

The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success

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Publisher's Summary

"It is impossible to produce superior performance unless you do something different." - John Templeton.

What makes a successful CEO? Most people call to mind a familiar definition: a seasoned manager with deep industry expertise. Others might point to the qualities of today's so-called celebrity CEOs charisma, virtuoso communication skills, and a confident management style. But what really matters when you run an organization? What is the hallmark of exceptional CEO performance? Quite simply, it is the returns for the shareholders of that company over the long term.

In this refreshing, counterintuitive audiobook, author Will Thorndike brings to bear the analytical wisdom of a successful career in investing, closely evaluating the performance of companies and their leaders. You will meet eight individualistic CEOs whose firms' average returns outperformed the S&P 500 by a factor of twenty in other words, an investment of $10,000 with each of these CEOs, on average, would have been worth over $1.5 million twenty-five years later. You may not know all their names, but you will recognize their companies: General Cinema, Ralston Purina, The Washington Post Company, Berkshire Hathaway, General Dynamics, Capital Cities Broadcasting, TCI, and Teledyne.

In The Outsiders, you'll learn the traits and methods striking for their consistency and relentless rationality that helped these unique leaders achieve such exceptional performance. Humble, unassuming, and often frugal, these "outsiders" shunned Wall Street and the press, and shied away from the hottest new management trends. Instead, they shared specific traits that put them and the companies they led on winning trajectories: a laser-sharp focus on per share value as opposed to earnings or sales growth; an exceptional talent for allocating capital and human resources; and the belief that cash flow, not reported earnings, determines a company's long-term value.

Drawing on years of research and experience, Thorndike tells eye-opening stories, extracting lessons and revealing a compelling alternative model for anyone interested in leading a company or investing in one and reaping extraordinary returns.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2012 William N. Thorndike, Jr. (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

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  •  
    Anurag K. 09-01-15
    Anurag K. 09-01-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Clear, structured presentation. Well narrated. Worth a listen!"

    This audiobook is certainly worth a listen. The book is laid out in a clear, concise manner with a case study on each of the Outsiders CEOs. Each of the CEOs faced a unique set of obstacles making this book an engrossing listen/read throughout.

    Please note that the emphasis is on the success of the CEOs in office rather than on the formative background that made these CEOs unique. As such, the reader/listener has to take on a degree of blind faith in making sure the author uses the right metrics to identify success for these standout CEOs. For example, much is made of about the stock price CAGR during the tenure of the CEO and therefore, a heavy emphasis is placed on various methods to gain leverage (stock buybacks, debt issuance, etc.). Naturally, higher beta/leverage in a growing industry promises to substantial outperformance in a growing industry but taking on more risk in an uncertain market and have the dice fall in your favor doesn't necessarily mark great decision making. Rant over. Good book. Well narrated. Makes you think.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William G. Stuart Massachusetts, USA 07-06-15
    William G. Stuart Massachusetts, USA 07-06-15
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    "Corporate Leaders Do Make a Difference"
    What made the experience of listening to The Outsiders the most enjoyable?

    It's fascinating to see the similarities and differences in these leaders' strategies. What's remarkable is how their results were so much better than their competitors' in the same industry. These executives didn't achieve their success with blockbuster products or emerging markets. Instead, they focused on capital allocation - taking the funds that the company generated and allocating it toward its highest and best use, whether that use was to buy back stock, reduce debt, pay shareholders, expand the existing business or acquire complementary or integrated businesses.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    What I took from this book is that leaders make a huge difference in the performance of a business. And those leaders aren't the people who make the cover of Fortune or Forbes. They're men (mostly) who take actions (divesting assets, buying back stock) that the public generally doesn't notice, but that make their shareholders substantially richer than investors in other companies in the same industry. Who expects an executive who shrinks a defense contractor to a fraction of its former size or sells his visible consumer packaged goods businesses to focus on agricultural feed or buys back her stock when its undervalued to be more successful than Jack Welsh, the standard against which our subjects are measured.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt 05-09-15
    Matt 05-09-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Good depth of stories and business concepts"

    Strong on financial concepts. Good examples, well-supported. This book leans a little too much on stock repurchases, but otherwise good.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hendrick Mcdonald 10-18-15 Member Since 2014
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    "A Very Good Summary of Value Focused CEOs"

    The book provides a to-the-point summary of value-focused CEOs, highlighting their business decisions and personality characteristics which seem to have made them effective managers. The book emphasizes these CEOs focusing less on stock growth and more on internal business growth, which then leads to greater stock values. Less focus on buybacks and dividends, with more focus on internal investment, business alignment, and making cuts where necessary.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brandon Lawrence 'Merica 09-08-15
    Brandon Lawrence 'Merica 09-08-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Great insights regarding capital allocation"

    The Outsiders explores high-performing, contrarian CEOs with an quantitative bent. The evaluation of performance based on shareholder return is getting back to basics in a world muddied by executives that, while experts in their chosen field, are not master allocators or capital and investment. There are many practical insights to be had, and I will be purchasing a hard copy for further review.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sami Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 04-21-15
    Sami Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 04-21-15 Member Since 2010

    Addicted to audible. One the best things that happened to me

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    "It could have been better"

    The book's idea is great. The stories are too short to understand or enjoy.

    I would give it the plus for opening the door to more investigations regarding theses CEOs

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mikey G 06-20-16
    Mikey G 06-20-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Excellent Read, All Around A Winner"
    What made the experience of listening to The Outsiders the most enjoyable?

    The stories chosen and the people in those stories are perfect for the theme, great history lesson on some of the greatest people ever.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The Beatles, it's like they were so great and they worked even harder and no one really knows about it, but that is how you become great.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I like how Bill Gates was in the right place, at the right time in basically the known universe to do what he did and become who he is to create what he created, I mean holy moly it could have only been him...


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    The truth behind the greats and the trials they had to pass to hold the title.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a book I have read multiple times, and I know I will continue to do so.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Damion Brown 06-02-16 Member Since 2013
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    "good view of underlying value drivers in business"

    very pragmatic view of what a coherent set of value drivers are in a business. Speaks to diaciplined decision making and good capital allocation as the foundation of a great stratey. Suffers from shortfall of books that rely on individual case studiea (ie orher companies did the same thing but got totally different results)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Hoffmeyer Texas 02-18-16
    Jeff Hoffmeyer Texas 02-18-16 Member Since 2014

    jhoffmeyer

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    "Paradigm shift achieved"

    I loved the personal stories and open accounts of the way they approached deals. #1 thing I learned is to set a target and be willing to walk away it it doesnt meet the standard ... period.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Satisfied 02-11-16
    Satisfied 02-11-16 Member Since 2011
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    "Thought provoking"

    This performance was excellent. I however have issue with the message of the book. While it is stat heavy and well researched, facts I find appealing, I think that it focuses on the wrong facts. Or at least over emphasizes these facts. In my uneducated opinion I believe that this argument underplays the value of management ability and over states the allocation of assets in a CEO's success. But it is a good listen and you can judge its arguments for yourself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Phillip
    northampton, United Kingdom
    9/17/15
    Overall
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    Story
    "Exceptional"

    Life changing for business leadership imagery and assumptions. Its the why of brilliance, simply the standard for commercial knowledge.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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