2

A Sea of Opportunities

I know it is probably poor storytelling, but I am tempted to share the good news right up front. I am incredibly optimistic about the potential of most companies to create more value and substantially improve their financial performance. And no, this is not just wishful thinking. My optimism is grounded in careful analysis of the data. Select any segment of the economy, and you will see that the very best companies in that segment dramatically outperform other firms. If the average company made even modest advances, value created and profits would soar.

But let’s back up. Our topic in this chapter is the broad patterns of long-term financial success. There is no one metric that captures all facets of financial performance. ...

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