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Chasing Stars: The Myth of Talent and the Portability of Performance

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  60 ratings  ·  8 reviews
It is taken for granted in the knowledge economy that companies must employ the most talented performers to compete and succeed. Many firms try to buy stars by luring them away from competitors. But Boris Groysberg shows what an uncertain and disastrous practice this can be.


After examining the careers of more than a thousand star analysts at Wall Street investment banks,
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Hardcover, 446 pages
Published May 9th 2010 by Princeton University Press (first published April 19th 2010)
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Andre Kubota
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a book made by Boris Groysberg, a teacher of leadership in HBS. It’s about the portability of star employees on different companies. The study considered several professions, but chose equity analysts on Wall Street. This was the only profession to have enough public data to be studied and reduced factors that could affect the study. It found that most star analysts were not as successful on the new company as they were in the previous one. Interesting results on the performance of ...more
Jason Orthman
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
An excellent book and a must read for anyone that works in an investment firm ("sell side"). Shows how hard it is to transfer your success from one organisation to another where relationships, structures and support systems vary. Some excellent detail.
Anandh Sundar
Nov 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Backed by 10 years of solid research, this book explores the widely held belief of "Free agents". Modern day knowledge workers are quite willing to switch jobs hoping that they can replicate their success at the new employers. This book uses equity research profession as a proxy for analyzing this belief. Equity research is chosen being a compact profession(in the US just around 10,000 analysts in 1996) with publicly available accurate performance ratings(II rankins), and apparently being firm ...more
Ken
Nov 02, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
A very enjoyable book with in depth insight looking into the portability of people's skills in new job environment by using Wall Street analysts as the research subject.

The book shows that performance is highly affected by a web of relationships, and for workers looking for the next career move, don't be hasty and solely consider pay but also the support networks of the company.

For companies, it is not always worthwhile to hire stars as the performance is not guaranteed but instead they should
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Devin Partlow
May 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
Is this a book about the portability of performance or is it just about Wall St. analysts? I was confused halfway through the book because the author goes on and on about these analysts. I guess its because the reader is just supposed to accept that the analyst's world is a microcosm of entire workforce (which I'm still not sold on btw) and the portability of an analyst applies to everyone.

I'll give this book an extra 0.5 stars for the little tidbit included about the c-suite employees though.

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Sarah
Mar 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
If you're an analyst on Wall Street, you'll want to read the entire book. I, however, could have done with just reading the last chapter. That covered everything applicable to my career and interests. The book is unfortunately marketed to a general audience when it is has been written for a very specific one.
Mallory
Sep 30, 2014 rated it did not like it
Assigned for management course: I understand and appreciate the study. However, it could have been accomplished in one chapter rather than 13 in my opinion.
Luke Kanies
Dec 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The best book you'll ever read on portability of talent, and the only academically rigorous one.

If you hire and you care about hiring, you need to read this book. Done.
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