RG

IN CONTEXT

FOCUS

Success and failure

KEY DATES

c.500 BCE The ancient Greeks coin the term “hubris” to describe a form of pride that loses touch with reality and leads to “nemesis”—a fatal retribution or downfall.

2001 Kenneth Lay, CEO of Enron, sends employees an email saying “our performance has never been stronger.” Four months later, Enron files for bankruptcy.

2002 US activist Herbert London claims that hubris is as great a danger in the 21st century as in ancient Greece.

2009 Jim Collins identifies five stages of corporate decline in How the Mighty Fall.

Even iconic companies can falter, fail, and become irrelevant. History repeatedly shows that successful ...

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