The management wisdom of Bill Campbell

AS YOGI BERRA, a legendary Yankees baseball player, coach and master of malapropisms, once said, “baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.” Managers might need a better grasp of maths than Berra. But they require a similar focus on instilling the right mentality, not just in themselves but in their team.

That view is held particularly strongly by three Google executives—Eric Schmidt (a former director of The Economist), Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle—who have written a book in praise of their mentor, Bill Campbell. His influence on Silicon Valley was so profound that they have called the book “Trillion Dollar Coach”.

Most outsiders will not have heard of Campbell, who began his career as a college coach of American football. Later, he worked at Apple, heading the marketing campaign for the original Macintosh, and then became chief executive at Intuit, a financial-software company. But his most effective role, until his death in 2016, was in the background, as a board member at Apple (and close friend of Steve Jobs) and as a coach to companies backed by Kleiner Perkins, a venture-capital firm.

Google was one of Kleiner’s investments and when Mr Schmidt was appointed chief executive of the company in 2001, Kleiner’s John Doerr suggested that he...



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