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History Unplugged Podcast

with Scott Rank

Lessons Companies Should Learn From Mobsters' Business Practices

00:00 45:34
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Every day, iconic brands like J.C. Penny, Sears, Kodak, and Blockbuster vanish. As entire lawful industries are disrupted out of existence, how have some organized criminal syndicates endured for nearly a century - despite billions of dollars of law enforcement opposition and ruthless rivals dedicated to their demise?

In Relentless, Zimmerman and Forrester combine seventy-five years of Nobel Prize-winning economics research with insights from criminal prosecutors to examine how the Sinaloa Cartel, the American Mafia, the Hells Angels, the Crips, and the Bloods survive, and even thrive, whereas legal companies that play by the rules falter and often fail.

All successful leaders—both lawful and unlawful—must follow the same fundamental economic principles: assign tasks, measure outcomes, reward performance, and cultivate corporate culture. Successful criminal enterprises construct their “Four Pillars" to create high-performance teams with a long-term focus, enduring corporate cultures, and strong brands. They attract the “right” people while purging “vampires” – individuals that take more from, rather than contribute to, an organization.

Lawful managers cannot merely copy mobsters’ four pillars, but they can follow the underlying economic principles to construct relentless organizations.
March 11, 2021
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Meet Your Host
Scott Rank is the host of the History Unplugged Podcast and a PhD in history who specialized in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. Before going down the academic route he worked as a journalist in Istanbul. He has written 12 history books on topics ranging from lost Bronze Age civilizations to the Age of Discovery. Some of his books include The Age of Illumination: Science, Technology, and Reason in the Middle Ages and History’s 9 Most Insane Rulers.. Learn more about him by going to scottrankphd.com.
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