Chapter 7

Open the Aperture

Widen Your Lens, But Do So with Discernment

A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding.

—Marshall McLuhan

It is better to be approximately right than precisely wrong.

—Lord Keynes

No one can possibly achieve any real or lasting success or “get rich” in business by being a conformist.

—J. Paul Getty

This vintage Camel cigarettes ad from 1946 pretty much tells you all you need to know about the problems of relying on expert opinion. There are better ways.

SOURCE: From the collection of Stanford University (http://tobacco.stanford.edu).

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I remember striding up to a podium at the Ritz-Carlton in Palm Beach in 1998, taking a deep breath, and then introducing the future President of Mexico. I think most of the audience thought I was kidding. The unknown man who started to speak in heavily accented, but fluent, English was a tall, cowboy-boot-wearing former CEO of Coca-Cola Mexico, who had been elected governor of a pretty obscure state (Guanajuato). He was smiling ear to ear after my introduction, and said that if he ever did become president, all present would be invited to Los Pinos—the Mexican White House. And so it happened. Several years later he was elected, and—as promised—a group of clients and friends of the firm and I were hosted to a private breakfast with now-President Vicente Fox and his cabinet at ...

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