Devil's Advocate: 100 Business Rules You Must Brake

By Caspian Woods
July 2013
Pearson Education
Distributed by Trans-Atlantic Publications
ISBN: 9780273779490
229 pages
$33.50 Paper Original

Welcome to the future of business thinking. It dares to confront everything you thought was true. It’ll challenge the so-called rules, dispute the perceived wisdom and turn that traditional, tired business advice completely on its head.

Meet The Devil’s Advocate.

And whether you’re new to business, an experienced senior executive or a budding entrepreneur, this fast and focused, clever little book, packed with empowering business advice and sharp insights, will help you carve a smart-thinking strategy for business success.




1 The only thing you need to be a great leader

2 Ask for favours

3 Sleep in your car

4 Leave stuff half-finished

5 This software can kill you

6 Forgive, (but don’t forget)

7 Ignore urgent tasks

8 Be ill informed

9 Use guilt to motivate

Say less

10 11 Wait for the tide to go out

12 Ask the bride to dance

13 Take fewer risks


14 Don’t diversify

15 Stop obsessing about quality

16 Embrace awkward suppliers

17 Fight like Nelson

18 Your next competitor makes toilet paper

19 Burn your business plan

20 Set unrealistic goals

21 Don’t dance where elephants play

22 More IT is not the answer

23 There’s no prize for predicting the Flood

24 Embrace chaos

25 Sell invisibles

26 Use a lawyer like a condom

27 Exploit the poor

28 Don’t make it in China


29 Reward failure

30 Sacrifice the sacred cow

31 You are in the wrong business

32 Sleep with your customers

33 Judge the book by its cover

34 Use research like a drunk uses a lamp-post*

35 Come last

36 Creativity needs a sergeant major

37 Get lost

38 Fire, ready, aim

39 Seek out your worst customers

40 Don’t start from where you are

41 Rip-up your confidentiality agreements

42 Allow for the law of unintended consequences

43 Remember you are French

44 Anticipate complaints

45 Get stotious

46 Ban the brainstorm

47 Steal with pride

Sales and marketing

48 Stop making sense

49 Don’t give your customers choice

50 Learn from the Wizard of Oz

51 Don’t ‘do’ social media

52 Recommend your competitors

53 If you’re pitching to win – you’ve already lost

54 Be brief, be brilliant, be gone

55 Don’t hire a hot-shot agency

56 Put the small print in BIG LETTERS

57 Dull is the new sexy

58 Make your literature illegible

59 Nurture your nutters

60 Create a crisis

61 Shut up

62 Get your face slapped

63 It’s only worth advertising on your forehead

64 Fake sincerity


65 Pay your staff to quit

66 Money doesn’t motivate

67 Hire some baboons

68 Don’t recruit by experience

69 Forget the big idea

70 Drive a clunker

71 Take your name off the door

72 Be a pacifist in the talent war

73 Send your staff home

74 Don’t delegate – abdicate

75 Remove the safety net

76 Sack early

77 Seek out the disabled

78 Encourage trade unions

79 Fire the founder

80 Cultivate some enemies


81 Pay yourself £1,000 an hour

82 Max out your credit cards

83 Don’t lend £10,000 to your brother

84 Be unaffordable

85 Don’t compensate for the size of your manhood

86 Say no to cheap money

87 Double your costs, halve your reward

88 Set fire to your price list

89 Treat suppliers like fellow combatants


90. Cry as a negotiating technique

91. Pile on the stress

92. Avoid the passion trap

93. Don’t give money to charity

94. Stop thinking positive

95. Disinherit your kids

96. Nurture self-doubt

97. Jump off a chair

98. Be a psychopath

99. Don’t get harpooned

100. Be lazy


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