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Sydney  Finkelstein - Tuck Executive Education. Hanover, NH, US

Sydney Finkelstein

Associate Dean for Executive Education; Steven Roth Professor of Management | Dartmouth College


Leadership and strategy expert focusing on the strengths and weaknesses of executive talent



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Professor Finkelstein has published 17 books and 75 articles, including the #1 bestseller in the U.S. and Japan Why Smart Executives Fail: And What You Can Learn from Their Mistakes (Portfolio, 2003). Based on a six-year study of 51 companies and 200 interviews of business leaders, the book identifies the fundamental reasons why major mistakes happen, points out early warning signals that are critical for investors and managers alike, and offers ideas on how organizations can develop a capability of learning from corporate mistakes. On the Fortune list of Best Business Books, it has also been featured in the Financial Times, BusinessWeek, The Times of London, Toronto Globe and Mail, Fast Company, Across the Board, and Entrepreneurship, and has been translated into 11 languages. In Professor Finkelstein’s follow-up book Think Again: Why Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions and How to Keep It from Happening to You (Harvard Business Press, 2009), he turned his attention to such major strategic decisions as the war in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, and numerous business cases to explain why decision-makers sometimes think they’re right when they are really wrong. The book takes up recent research in neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and management to not only document why things go wrong, but also offer solutions that reduce our vulnerability to falling into the traps that lead to bad decisions.

Professor Finkelstein is a recognized thought leader on leadership, strategy, and corporate governance and listed in the “World’s Top 25 Leadership Gurus.” and on the “Thinkers 50.” He is known for his keynote speeches and television appearances, and as a columnist for the BBC. He has served as a consultant and speaker for major companies around the world, including, Aetna, American Express, Bank of Montreal, Barclays, Boeing, Cerberus, Chevron, Comcast, Deloitte, Deutsche Bank, Eaton, Freddie Mac, General Dynamics, General Electric, Glaxo, Heinz, Hitachi, ING, ITT, Johnson & Johnson, JP Morgan Chase, Korn-Ferry, Mayo Clinic, McGraw-Hill, McKinsey, Monsanto, Morgan Stanley, Novartis, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Raytheon, Roche, Rollins, Russell Reynolds, UBS, and United Technologies.

Industry Expertise (4)


Training and Development


Writing and Editing

Areas of Expertise (7)

Corporate Strategy

Strategic Leadership

Mergers & Acquisitions

Executive Talent

Board Effectiveness

Developing Leadership Talent

Executive Failure

Education (3)

Concordia University: BComm, Communications 1980

London School of Economics: MSc, Sciences 1981

Columbia University: Ph.D., Strategic Management 1988