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The Halo Effect: ... and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,999 Ratings  ·  89 Reviews
Much of our business thinking is shaped by delusions -- errors of logic and flawed judgments that distort our understanding of the real reasons for a company's performance. In a brilliant and unconventional book, Phil Rosenzweig unmasks the delusions that are commonly found in the corporate world. These delusions affect the business press and academic research, as well as ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published February 6th 2007 by Free Press
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Michael Greenwell
Feb 06, 2011 Michael Greenwell rated it liked it
I read The Halo Effect because I was unsettled by, among other business books, Jim Collins' Good to Great and Built to Last, and I was interested in reading a critique to see if the criticism matched my own misgivings. Phil Rosenzweig's book provided more than I bargained for by both tearing down Built to Last and Good to Great, and then acknowledging that they are still intriguing and potentially valuable works despite their flaws.

Specifically, Rosenzweig criticizes the kind of research practis
Apr 13, 2010 Paul is currently reading it
From HBR:
If a company is making a lot of money and you ask its employees to rate its performance on other dimensions – talent management, customer orientation, innovation, and so forth – they will give it high marks across the board. If a company is struggling financially, the ratings will be low across the board. This is due to the “halo effect,” a term coined decades ago by psychologist Edward Thorndike to describe people’s tendency, having already formed a conclusion about something’s merit,
Jurgen Appelo
Jul 08, 2013 Jurgen Appelo rated it it was amazing
Every management consultant, speaker and writer should read this.
Craig a.k.a Meatstack
Aug 06, 2012 Craig a.k.a Meatstack rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook, business, 2012
I have to admit, I have a bit of a soft spot for business books. I've read through all the greats. However this book has opened made me reconsider them from a whole new light.

The basic premise, the "Halo", is that when a company does well, it's reflected in the soft aspects of the company. When it does poorly the opposite is true.

So, Intel dumping it's memory chip line to focus on processors was a bold stroke and demonstrated visionary leadership because it worked. Had it not worked, business bo
Chris Rock
Feb 26, 2015 Chris Rock rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
I didn't think I'd ever give 5 stars to a business book, but this is no ordinary business book. This book points out the logical errors that are made by most other business books--mainly, that when you examine success (or failure) in a business, their practices are influenced by your initial impression of the company. A successful company that tries something new is "innovate", "creative", "risk-taking". A company that tried something new and failed is "overextended", "unfocused", and "risky".

Jonas Heide
Oct 18, 2015 Jonas Heide rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You can search all you want for recipes for success in business. But analysts and journalists are incapable of keeping the variables separate and even the most celebrated descriptions of the road to excellence fall short when they meet, oh you know, reality.
Do read Rosenzweig's scathing criticism. It is slightly repetitive, not carefully edited, but it is in fact profound and says many important things that apply beyond the world of business.
Riccardo Bua
Apr 20, 2015 Riccardo Bua rated it it was amazing
How someone should look at scientific approach to case studies and scenarios.... and every day life events
Nazrul Buang
Nov 02, 2014 Nazrul Buang rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, favorites
Just finished reading "The Halo Effect... and the Eight Other Business Delusions that Deceive Managers" (2007) by Phil Rosenzweig. I claim this as one of the most unique and critically significant business books I have come across, and also one that does great service to the business industry.

The halo effect is a cognitive bias that people make in making judgments based on appearance, and it serves as the central theme to Rosenzweig's book but in a very diverse way. The book explains and demonst
Aug 20, 2014 Prakriti rated it really liked it
Perhaps the best management book of all time. It is not inspiring (which is why the four stars) because it is critical. Needs to be read by anyone who is exposed to management writing of any kind, and that includes journalism's coverage of business. Very highly recommended.
May 03, 2015 Robert rated it really liked it
This book makes you look at very popular management books from a different vantage point. Not so much that they are wrong, but in the sense that there is not just a simple fix that will make your company run better. Instead there are always different variables for each and every situation and you need to look at the surrounding data for that specific circumstance to make the best decisions.

The book also makes you remember that simple truth that history is written by the winners and that sometim
Have you read "Good to Great" or other so-called guru books? Are you a student of business by reading the popular press or listening to interviews with CEO's/successful business people? You need to read this book. Rosenzweig helps you think critically about what you may read or hear in the popular press. What you read or hear is not necessarily untrue, but it is often viewed through rose-colored glasses that try and "explain" success with attributions that are made in retrospect.

There's a lot o
Matthew Ciarvella
Jan 26, 2015 Matthew Ciarvella rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
Since I'm not "in business," my interest in this book is purely academic; that said, it's an interesting and well presented argument against several of the most popular "how to win at business" books out there. The book loses a little bit of steam after identifying and articulating the many prevalent instances of the Halo effect (I think the phrase "swimming in Halos" or some variation thereof is used around ten times) but overall, if you're looking for a reasoned, clear and buzzword-free discus ...more
Frans Saxén
Philip Rosenzweig gives his take on the business literature, showing what's wrong with much of what's been written, from Good to Great, and beyond. Rosenzweig argues convincingly that success in business can not be guaranteed simply by following a given formula, like many business strategy books claim. Much of what is written i books and the press is tainted by the halo effect, whereby people infer that companies that are successful must be good at a number of things, and the observed success is ...more
Dmitry Kuriakov
Dec 05, 2015 Dmitry Kuriakov rated it it was amazing
Одна из немногих книг купленная по рекомендации ЖЖ-юзера и блога, посвящённому вопросам маркетинга. Что ж, книга действительно, как они и уверяли, в каком-то смысле уникальная. Основной посыл книги: почему компании, которые упоминаются в таких знаменитых книгах как «В поисках совершенства», «Построено навечно», «От хорошего к великому» - не проходят испытание временем и рушатся? Вот что написано по этому поводу на обложке книги: «Когда агентство Рейтер обратилось к Тому Питерсу, Джерри Порррасу ...more
Omar Halabieh
Feb 02, 2013 Omar Halabieh rated it it was amazing
As best summarized by the author: "The central idea in this book is that our thinking about business is shaped by a number of delusions...More recently, cognitive psychologists have identified biases that affect the way individuals make decisions under uncertainty. this book is about a different set of delusions, the ones that distort our understanding of company performance, that make it difficult to know why one company succeeds and another fails. These errors of thinking pervade much that we ...more
Mar 06, 2009 Jamie rated it really liked it
No, this isn't about the video game. The full title on this one is The Halo Effect ...and the Eight Other Business Delusions that Deceive Managers. In it, author Phil Rosenzweig sets out to take the business press and best sellers to task for a list of flaws in their thinking and chest thumping. Basically, it's a list of fallacies that you could compile from the chapter titles in most books on psychology, decision-making, and behavioral economics:

1. The Halo Effect (inferring other traits on th
Jul 25, 2008 Robert rated it it was amazing
The Halo Effect:….and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers
Phil Rosenzweig
Free Press

According to Phil Rosenzweig, "The central idea in this book is that our thinking about business is shaped by a number of delusions...the ones that distort our understanding of company performance, that make it difficult to know why one company succeeds and another fails. These errors of thinking pervade much that we read about business, whether in leading magazines or scholarly journals or ma
Aug 02, 2012 Rick rated it liked it
I've always loathed business books and management books because they all usually set out with the goal of providing you with some magic formula that will make your management style or business transformational! Data tells us so! The thing is, just like any magical investing formula, if it actually worked EVERYONE would be using it and it wouldn't be some secret that has been a mystery up until the publication of said book and after publication everyone would be using it. There is no magic bullet ...more
Jun 20, 2009 Nicholas rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 30, 2015 Tirath rated it it was ok
If one understands the message in fooled by randomness, and understands the role of luck in success and failure, then this book tends to be redundant.

It's a good book though, that dismisses confident explanations for the outcome of a business process and luck.

Luck, strategy, execution, competition and industry all play a role.
Folly to believe in strategy and management prowess when they lose sight of respect for capital, or changes in the environment
Timothy Chklovski
Feb 24, 2015 Timothy Chklovski rated it really liked it
A frequently quoted book that brings healthy skepticism to post facto explanations.
In assessing businesses, the author explains, hindsight can distort things dramatically -- yes, winning companies focus and tend to stick to a strategy, but that's more likely because what they were doing happened to be working. To try to turn that around, and say, "sticking to a strategy causes success" would be wrong. Similarly, we sometimes over-ascribe success to specific traits or idiosyncrasies of companies,
Vikas Kukreja
May 11, 2015 Vikas Kukreja rated it really liked it
Its an eye opener for those who swear by coveted management books. I have read few management books and was always critical of loosely used terms like teamwork, strategy and leadership. This book tear apart these myths, forcing you to see things critically and not on face value. Mostly author criticizes management books through loads of facts and data to an extent of getting bored but then in the end its all worth. Last 2 chapters are meat of this book and makes it totally worth it. Go for it an ...more
Aug 23, 2015 Suhrob rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended.

Rosenzweig takes points from the psychology of cognitive biases (Kahneman et al.) and applies it to the compost of the managerial/business advice literature.

Many of his points are raised also by Taleb, but Rosenzweig is much narrower in scope and friendlier in tone (despite delivering lots of criticisms to the fields most beloved books).
Dec 24, 2012 Shannon rated it liked it
Shelves: business-books
Rosenzweig is surly and a little angry or at least exhausted with the business of business book publishing and the blind, eager consumption of this rubbish by managers and executives looking for the "keys to success".

I spent the first 80 pages trying to read through the noise of the author's frustration. But I do believe there is valuable content here.

If nothing else, I am irrationally optimistic and business books provide fun nuggets that feed that addiction. While he needed a better editor to
Paul Niven
Aug 11, 2014 Paul Niven rated it it was amazing
It's ironic that I should list Good to Great just below this book because it is one of many that Rosenzweig critically examines (to put it euphemistically) in this entertaining and informative book. He debunks many management philosophies and does so with cogent analysis and cold hard facts. Very illuminating.
Mark Reale
Jun 23, 2014 Mark Reale rated it it was amazing
Takes the concept of critical thinking to a next level.

A thorough discourse on being wary of all accolades and projections which now seem so sensationally (and deceivingly) doled out in the world of media-covered business.

It is hard to run a business. It is easy for people to exaggerate.

Don't believe the hype!

Brock Steger
Feb 05, 2014 Brock Steger rated it it was amazing
The book was very good from the beginning, but the last chapter profiling the thought process of truly great managers - concerned with the process and making probabilistic choices and accepting that the outcomes are based mostly on luck - put it over the top as a great book. Re-read before taking a management position.
Katya Kean
Jan 25, 2011 Katya Kean rated it liked it
This book is cumbersome to read, after two weeks I'm only half way through. But as dry and soulless as it is, it has a few good albeit cynical points about the rise and fall of businesses. A good reminder not to get too swept up in simple prescriptions for success and explanations of failure. A decent exercise in critical thinking, but I don't know anyone who really needs to read it unless you are really into investing or own a large business. Or write news articles about that sort of thing.
Jun 12, 2007 Kristina rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: no one
It tried so hard to separate itself from other business books, but I found it to be redundant and recalcitrant about the poor research in "Good to Great" . (Personally, didn't really care for that book either.)

Message gleaned from the book: There are so many business books out there that try to correlate specific practices with success and this book emphasizes that it is practically impossible to prove a causal relationship for a simple prescription to multi-billion dollar status. If you are doi
May 20, 2008 Mark rated it it was amazing
Yes, yes, yes, yes. Finally a good business book. This book basically attacks all other business books on the grounds of statistics. It seems that popular business authors either failed or didn't take Intro to Statistics. The author points this out. His main point is to be skeptical of what you read. He does make some suggestions as to "strategy." But, that may be more to please the publisher. It received a negative review from Publisher's Weekly because it didn't offer much, if any, advice. Exa ...more
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“They have to say SOMETHING. Maria Bartiromo can't exactly look into the camera and say that the Dow is down half a percent today because of random Brownian motion.” 1 likes
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