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“For some [dominant visionaries], too much interference will stifle their ambition. For others, not interfering might allow them to go haywire and destroy the company. The Brilliant Jerk Conundrum shows how to tell the difference and what to do about it.”
—Srikant M. Datar, professor and senior associate dean at Harvard Business School and member of four boards
“In my 50 years as an executive and board member in Silicon Valley, I interacted with many brilliant jerks. I came within a whisker of joining the Theranos board and pulled out at the last minute. Disruptors can be unpredictable and unrealistic. You’ve captured how to navigate that challenge in this book.”
—Dick Levy, former CEO and chairman of Varian
With a strong leader at the helm, what can possibly go wrong?
Betting on a dominant visionary is one of the biggest business gambles an investor, employee, or board member will ever make. If things go right, a visionary’s wizardry changes entire industries and generates massive value for shareholders, employees, and society. But if things go wrong, millions (possibly billions) of dollars are lost—and sometimes people go to jail. The challenge for investors, employees, and board members is knowing the difference between an inspired visionary such as Steve Jobs, a firebrand entrepreneur like Elon Musk, and an idealistic time bomb like Elizabeth Holmes and if, when, and how to intervene.
Rob Shelton and Marc J. Epstein have gathered the cautionary tales and the wisdom of board directors and executives who have dealt with dominant visionaries to deliver a prescription for success. With this guide, you’ll be able to identify what kind of visionary you have and develop successful tactics to govern and thrive with the brainiest and the jerkiest of them all.