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Go Long

Why Long-Term Thinking Is Your Best Short-Term Strategy

Dennis Carey, Brian Dumaine, Michael Useem, and Rodney Zemmel

Foreword by David M. Rubenstein


Featured in Fortune, Harvard Business Review, and Entrepreneur, Go Long is “mandatory reading for the CEOs and boards of all public companies,” according to David M. Rubenstein, co-founder and co-executive chairman of The Carlyle Group.

The lifespans of companies are growing shorter each day. Why do some companies thrive and grow, while others fail?

Inspired by the CEO Academy, the annual off-the-record gathering of chief executives organized by the authors, Go Long reveals how some of the world’s most prominent business leaders resisted short-term pressures to successfully manage their organizations for the long term, and in turn, aim to create more jobs, more satisfied customers, and more shareholder wealth.

In Go Long, authors Dennis Carey, Brian Dumaine, Michael Useem, and Rodney Zemmel take you behind-the-scenes to witness the business decisions that are enabling leading organizations to outsmart and outlast the competition.

  • Why did CEO Larry Merlo allow CVS to take a $2 billion hit—on purpose?
  • How did former CEO Alan Mulally maneuver Ford’s $48 billion turnaround?
  • How did director Maggie Wilderotter and her fellow board members engage top management to embark on an unusual exercise to help Hewlett Packard Enterprise build a long-term strategy?
  • Why did former CEO Paul Polman turn back to Unilever’s original mission of leading with a purpose to fuel profits?
  • How did former Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg convince his investors and board to allow him to make a $150 billion bet?
  • How did former CEO George Buckley find a way to address investor calls for 3M to spend less on research and development while still finding a way to innovate?

These leaders argue that a short-term mindset might satisfy investors for this quarter or next, but there’s a heavy price to be paid. Instead, they argue, long-term thinking is your best short-term strategy.

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Go Long, author image

About the Authors

Praise for Go Long

“Considering the enormous harm that short-term investing has done not only to companies, but to countries as well, this book should be required reading in boardrooms everywhere. A concise, powerful call for responsible, long-term business practices.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“Mandatory reading for the CEOs and boards of all public companies.”

—From the Foreword by David M. Rubenstein, Co-Founder & Co-Executive Chairman, The Carlyle Group

“One of my fundamental beliefs as CEO is that prioritizing the short-term at the expense of the long-term is simply not sustainable and perpetuates the kinds of boom-splat cycles that aren’t good for any business or stakeholder. That’s why Go Long is a must-read. If you’re looking to build or lead a company that grows consistently not just from quarter to quarter, but year to year, that balances short-term and long-term priorities, that focuses on both the level and duration of returns, this book is for you.”

—Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo, Inc.

“In Amgen’s business of biotechnology, investments in significant innovations can begin up to a decade before we begin to see substantial returns. Through deep insights and original reporting, Go Long helps to bring leaders and investors the principles they need to keep long-term thinking at the heart of their strategies.”

—Robert Bradway, Chairman and CEO, Amgen

“Intensifying demands for near-term corporate performance can force immediate gains but also lasting damage on company prospects and stakeholder fortunes. With inside accounts of how some of the world’s leading business executives manage for the future, Go Long provides a tangible roadmap for long-term leadership. To improve the state of this world, here is a primer for doing so.”

—Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum, and author, The Fourth Industrial Revolution and Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution

“Go Long combines insightful analysis with inspiring stories to show CEOs, boards, and investors how purpose-driven strategies can create important economic and societal benefits.”

—Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School Professor and Chair and Director‎, Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative

“The toughest test of leadership is leaving an enterprise stronger in every sense when your tenure is done. Go Long reminds us that while short term priorities come and go, a leader can’t achieve that objective without a North star of a committed long term strategy and vision.”

—James McNerney, former Chairman and CEO, The Boeing Co.

Go Long provides critical advice to corporate leaders dealing with today’s most pressing issue of business strategy—long term versus short term management. Must reading for directors, CEOs and all executives.”

—Martin Lipton, a founding partner, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Go Long sharply delineates the tradeoffs that executives face in setting priorities. Decisions that build long-term value are the essence of great leadership.”

—Donald J. Gogel, Chairman and CEO, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice

“CEOs face enormous pressure for short-term performance with little emphasis on the long-term consequences of short-termism—until the consequences arrive…. A long-term focus is not an excuse for short-term underperformance but is a reason for thoughtful debate of corporate strategy, capital structure, and capital allocation. Viewing these issues only through a short-term lens leads to under-investment in the future. This book will help CEOs rebalance their focus on achieving both short-term and long-term performance.”

—Ron Williams, CEO, RW2 Enterprises, and former CEO, Aetna

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