15Strange Places

Prematurely bald with a brush mustache, bushy eyebrows, and piercing eyes, the late Ted Levitt looked like the demanding overseer of a busy loading dock. For more than forty years, he trafficked not in goods but in ideas, great pallets of ideas that are still taught at business schools around the world. Officially, he chaired the marketing area at the Harvard Business School, but through an unusually productive life that included a four-year stint as editor of the Harvard Business Review and a prodigious output of books and articles, Levitt influenced generations of the world’s business leaders.

Levitt’s remarkable writing career was bookended by a dry-as-dust doctoral thesis entitled “World War II Manpower Mobilization and Utilization ...

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