Bio & contact & other writing

I’ve written four books which have been published all round the world: Ahead of the Curve – Two Years at Harvard Business School, published outside the US as What they Teach you at Harvard Business School, a title which inspired a meme…

… The Art of the Sale, published in the

UK as Life’s a Pitch; How to Think Like an Entrepreneur;and the children’s book Charlie Whistler’s Omnium Gatherum.

I was born in Dacca, Bangladesh, where my father worked as a Church of England missionary and my mother spent four years after leaving Burma with her family following the Socialist military takeover of her country.

Rangoon 1966.JPG

Here’s my grandmother, Sylvia, my uncle Ronald, my mother, Marcia, and aunt, Victoria, in Rangoon in 1966, shortly before Ronald left to study in America. This was probably the catalytic event in their lives and in retrospect had a huge influence on my own.

I grew up in England, received my BA in Classics from Oxford and my MBA from Harvard Business School.

From 1994 to 2004 I was a newspaper journalist. From 1998 to 2002, I was New York correspondent for The Daily Telegraph of London, a tenure which ended with the grim task of covering the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath. From 2002 to 2004 I was the Telegraph’s Paris Bureau Chief, a job which took me all over Europe and North Africa, and left me with a profound fascination with France and the French.

I left daily journalism in 2004 to go to business school. In addition to my books, I have been a columnist for The Financial Times and The Evening Standard and write regularly The Wall Street Journal, The Spectator and The Oldie.

From 2009-2010, I was part of the founding team at Apple University, Apple’s internal management program. I spent several years then working with The Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurship and Education, the world’s largest foundation devoted to this mission.

And since late 2015, I’ve been a Senior Advisor to the Executive Chairman  of Banco Santander, which has been a fascinating opportunity to learn about a new industry, new markets in Europe and the Americas, and help in the transformation of a 200,000 person organization.

Here’s an interview I did with the BBC World Service if you’d like to know more about me and my MBA book. I live in Connecticut.

You can contact me at

If you need a photograph, please feel free to use this one and credit Margret Delves Broughton


October 2011

73 thoughts on “Bio & contact & other writing

  1. mike sutera

    Fascinating book … my sister in law graduated in ’01 from HBS and we rib her all of the time about the attitudes you so ably discussed in your book. I was hoping to have a quick discussion with you. I have a very interesting “current” view that I am hoping to put into a longer format. Would you be open to having a quick discussion? It would be greatly appreciated. In particular, I am trying to learn how to document events for later presentation … to keep it fresh and not false? You did a wonderful job of it in your book and I am sure your journalism experience was invalualbe but how do you know what will be useful later? Anecdotes, personality traits, quotations, etc?
    Kind regards,


  2. Just experienced that “driveway moment” sitting outside my office at 3.45am ( I’m an early bird) listening to your interview on NPR with (was it Peter Day?)
    My Gosh! What an enjoyable interview and I will be getting your book! I went through my MBA at little known Wits Business School in Jhb SAfrica ,some 20 years ago. Like yourself I was in my early 30s, with 10 yrs odd working experience. The Dean of the day was, yes a Harvard MBA and of course Harvard was the “gold standard” of business schools. My emotions upon leaving were a lot like you described in your interview – confused, were we supposed to attempt emulate a “great”, or simply crawl back to wherever we were comfortable? – I was very confused about who I was, could become etc and remain so to this very day! Although I did end up running my own shop – as a CPA in the US, just a small town accounting practice – nothing original or earth shatteringly novel – and breaking all the rules we were taught!

    In general though, a life changing experience – ( for the better?? – ‘jury out there – probably will always be!)

    Anyway I ramble – will get the book – sounds very interesting!


  3. Will

    I really enjoyed this book and especially the portions discussing family-work balance. I really took it to heart and made me think about what I wanted [I am in no ways at Harvard MBA level]. One question: I remember a terrific quote Mr. Broughton uses. It goes somehting like “family is your everything, or it is not” He took it from an obituary in the New Yorker I think and would love to find the actual quote and hopefully the person about whom it refers. any luck?

    Fantastic book, great insight into the premier business education petri dish and just an enjoyable read.


    1. philipdelvesbroughton

      Hi Will,

      Thanks so much for your message. The quote was from a beautiful piece by Calvin Trillin about his late wife Alice which appeared in the March 27th 2006 issue of The New Yorker. The piece was later turned into a book called About Alice. Hope that helps.



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  5. Dave


    I just finished your book and really enjoyed reading it. As a finance person working in a publishing company (via the Big 4- not wall street) I think your views on your classmates and thier careers are really interesting, humorous and righ on.

    I’m on the fence about getting my MBA (for all the negative reasons you mention) but as someone who wants to run his own business, I found your explanation of what you studied and actually learned to be fascinating. I have never read a more detailed explanation of the topics covered or the approach taken and really appreciate your insight.

    I’d love the opportunity to pick your brain before biting a $150K bullet. . ..

    Thank you


  6. sarah

    Took me awhile to figure out this book is published under two different titles. Why is that?…and they should let the publishing companies here in the US know that there is an alternate title outside the US. My daughter was waiting for a plane at Heathrow and saw your book. After she arrived home in the US, we went to our local Barnes & Noble book store and they couldn’t find anything about your book, “What they teach you at Harvard business school :Two years inside the cauldron of capitalism”. She said she saw the book and it does exist, but they couldn’t find it anywhere in their system. She went home and found it on her computer and told me it does exist. I went back to Barnes & Noble and talked with someone else, who couldn’t find this book anywhere but said they had another book by you titled, “Ahead of the curve: Two years at Harvard Business School”. I bought it and searched through this book for any mention about your other book…none was found of course. So I came to the conclusion it must be the same book with a different title in England. After looking on the Penguin Book Ltd website, I did find the title of the original book we were looking for. This is so silly. Why do you have two different names for the same book, and why can’t these two titles at least be identified in all the countries your book is sold. It sure would have saved us a bit of confusion.

    Thank you,



  7. Cheryl

    I just discovered your blog and wanted to tell you that your book made me decide to go back to school for my MBA. I had been thinking about it but didn’t really know if it was worth the time and money. You book made me think a lot about my goals and how I want to live my life, especially since you were very candid about your experience. I loved the book!


    1. Thomas

      Hi Philip,

      just want to thank you for writing “What They Teach You at HBS”! Just finished this great book, which cost me some hours of sleep. It really made my night 🙂 It made me think of applying to HBS, because y’ know, the “good ones” have to obtain the majority 😉 But I think they won’t let me in, being architect and 41…

      Further down the list of comments I spottet a Tim Ferriss, whose book “‘The 4-Hour Workweek” I read with great appreciation before. Funny this coincidence! Greetings to him as well!


  8. Jim

    I enjoyed your review of The Management Myth in the WSJ.

    My uncle had a definition for consultant that I enjoy repeating.

    He was a veterinarian in a small town in Washington and had a small animal clinic. He had many patients that arrived as tomcats and left as consultants.


  9. Hi Philip, Ia m a physician in Canada. I thoroughly enjoyed your book and passed it on to many of my colleagues as well as to my daughter who doing her Ph.D . She enjoyed it and recommended it to a number of her colleagues and professors. I really wanted to know how you a faring now with your MBA. At the end of the book you were still “unemployed”. I wonder if you will consider doing a follow to update on some of the wonderful people you met at Harvard, that will be lovely. All the best


  10. Jin Ho Kim


    I can’t thank you enough for writing this book. It seems that in the world of the educated elite, careers seem to run a very narrow path. For those of incredible resources and intellectual capacity, it astounds me that some of the most important questions in life never seemed to be asked. For a long time I have wondered if it was me, or if it was just everyone else. I’m beginning to realize, that perhaps it is every one else.

    Both in literature and general understanding of success, those of enormous wealth, prestige or power are touted as heros. Seldom do we ever hear about the silent struggles of others with a greater conscience that lead less conspicuous lives. So, I would like to thank you. I thank you for providing insight into your character during this time. I believe it took a great amount of courage, humility and integrity to question the institution and write about it. I can only hope they take your comments seriously, and truly consider the impact that they have on the lives of others in this society.


  11. Dear Philip,
    I just finished to read your book and it leaves me with an impression of emptyness….
    HBS will create business leader without a soul and ending almost all of them in a disruptive family.
    I enjoyed your cynical and realistic view of the HBS and Captialism system….
    Being myself a doctor trained in Paris, while you spent some time, and now living in London and working as a consultant in Western Eye Hospital…my first idea when I finished your book is to find out what have you done after HBS…
    Writing journalism and a few relatively sucessful business…sorry to tell you that i looks a bit empty to me….U like a spoiled kid, in a way, leaving Paris and journalims to put your family with a175.000 US dollar debt at the end of the two years and living between Boston and Paris to end up jobless and without any idea of what you want to do at the end of it…sounds very very empty to me….
    At the end of the day, HBS according to you, never been there is a factory of unhappy people that goes there to make connections and money….
    Am wondering if you not just have attended partly the courses and asked HBS to accept you with the idea that you gonna write a book about them but it is just an idea….don’t get me wrong…I still have enjoyed reading your book and find very intersting to be part of that world all along.
    Congratulations for the writing, u should carrying writing books.


  12. Eugene

    Philip, the book is great! The only negative thing about it is that it is not long enough. 🙂 You covered in great detail the first half of the first academic year and I was expecting to learn more about your academic experinces in the second year. Overall I really enjoyed your book. Thank you! Also I am happy for you to have a courage to stick to your principles.


  13. John

    Hi Philip,

    I have just finished reading your excellent book during a series of tube journeys to and from work, being a financial services lawyer, which I have pursued for a few years since qualifying – I often interact with the characters of the financial world who you so aptly describe in the book!

    The job pays fairly well but is largely pressured, detail focussed, full of nasty and/or annoying characters and is devoid of any meaningful creativity or pleasure. I am now certain that neither my personality type (i.e., being a fairly rounded, sociable and independent minded individual) nor my aspirations (I’m in my late 20’s and would like to marry my partner and have kids over the next 5 years) are compatible to my current situation.

    I haven’t ruled out trying another mode of legal practice such as working within an organisation which interests me or perhaps changing practice areas and moving away from the City to the sticks (think Stephen Fry in ‘Kingdom’!).

    Otherwise, I have taken your book as a serious piece of research into potentially going for an MBA.

    If anything, your work highlighted to me that attending the likes of HBS/LBS, given my background, would probably allow me to go into investment management or consultancy (if I was money-minded) but that in reality, the process would probably not solve my underlying happiness issues and desire to direct my time towards the things that really matter – acting as a torment rather than a means to liberation given that the business schools direct their students towards processed jobs whereas my real loves are food, flying, travel and diving but in the absence of having accumulated any real personal wealth waiting for me to deploy in such related business activities!

    What I’d love to know is whether you think that had you not gone to HBS, would you be in the same situation now?

    It would be great to hear from you.

    Thanks and god bless.


  14. lynn

    My parents were of a generation who left at 8 am and returned home by 5:15 or at the latest 5:30 pm. This enabled them to build a second home, spend time with their family, eat dinner together, provide guidance and discipline to their children, renovate houses, visit friends and at the end of their lives proclaim “I had a good life and have no regrets — love my “spouse”, love my children”. No mention of work, of course.

    Post 70’s and the growth of MBAs, we have become enslaved more than in Dickensian times — work 8-8 at least, home offices, blackberries, road warrior travel etc. MBA’s, the risk adverse, have created more havoc and risk in economic markets for others and have clobbered the quality of life for many. All this from the mastery of a few financial concepts and Powerpoint!

    Having mastered both, without an MBA, I particularly loved page 102 — “experience is really the only backward-looking metric worth trusting”.

    Let’s start a new designation, one that celebrates business experience and balanced with satisfying personal lives, without the payment of $175K so that we can recognize and support each other.


  15. thuy duong pham

    I’ve read your book recently published in my country”What they teach you at Havard Business School”.It really impressed me. Whatever you described in this book forces me to think a lot about one year later when I am going to graduate from my university.Before the book coming out, HBS was all my dream,I admire its students. But I realize that a degree from a well-known university doesn’t mean to bring the best life to me.It comes quite true as I spend time looking back what’s happening to me now. Where I’m studying is called” Havard of Vietnam” because it’s always ranked at the top with many talented students.And I thought I was intelligent and may succeed in any job interview,however,I all failed, exactly 3 job interviews in 3 consecutive months. I was totally in shock and wonder who I am,what I want to do.Your book and experiences are precious to help me think about myself and my future plan in a more positive way. Thank you for your shares.


  16. Satyen

    I really enjoyed reading Ahead of the Curve. The topic and substance was very interesting and the writing style was especially great.

    Have you given any thought to writing another book. Perhaps on your work and independence after your MBA as compared to before? Or your life as a journalist?

    I’m based in India and thanks to the internet I was able to view the panel discussion at the ESCP business school. I do hope that you do several more
    in the future and hopefully one in Asia.


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  18. Keng Sing

    I love your book. I like the part when you mentioned that “finance is all about valuation”….which i concur with you….



  19. Daniel

    Hi Philip,

    Just coincidentally I grabbed a copy of your book at the the train station in Warsaw the other day to have something to read on the train to Amsterdam.
    I read it pretty much in one go, I loved it. I could relate a lot to your search for what to do with your life before entering HBS, as I’m in the same situation myself. Great read, with a refreshing level of European sarcasm and distance to counterbalance American “passion for business”.

    I wish you all the best in your future life!


  20. Enjoyed your book immensely. Found it insightful, honest and at times hilarious. Especially the part where you get fed up Google, tell them its over, go home, and replace it with Yahoo as your default search engine. HAHAHAHAH…….

    I would like to know what you have done since then. Were you able to find some gig inconsumerate with your HBS MBA status? Have you been able to pay off your loans?

    Thank you


  21. Dear Sir,

    Thankyou for writing the book – What they teach you at HBS.

    It reminded me of the quote by Philip Bookes, the best-loved man in New England
    ‘The ideal life, the life of full completion, haunts us all. We feel the thing we ought to be beating beneath the thing we are.’

    Thankyou for the encouragement this book has given me to continue on carving out a place for myself and my family in business in Singapore.

    I have three young sons, who soon will have similar predicaments to battle through in their life experience. The only way I know how to prepare them is through books, surrounding them with good books that teach principles.

    Can you recommend your favorite authors?

    I wish you all the best in ‘ following your bliss’ and eagerly wait for your next non fiction wrestle.



  22. Charis

    Hi Philip
    Accidentally picked up your book. Couldn’t put it down later. It was such a good read. It made me think, laugh, gasp. I hope you’ll write more to inspire and educate. I hope that I’ll pick up what I’ve learned from your insights and do well for what I want in my life. Best Regards. From SIngapore.


  23. Ash

    Dear Philip,

    I read your book on HBS and found it very engaging. I have always wanted to apply to b-school but am 31 yrs now and will be 32yrs if I do attend. I believe you were the same age too. I already have a Ivy league MA Degree.

    I still want a quality business education but the hungry MBA candidate in his 20s is now older / wiser; and I am not sure crunching numbers for 14 hours a day is the type of life I want.

    I always hear that students over 30 yrs are usually not considered high priority for the typical B-school recruiter (I-banks or Consulting) anyway.
    What do older students in their early to mid thirties usually get into? Would be great if you could throw some light on this.

    my best wishes from London.


  24. Jim Stout

    _Ahead_of_the_Curve_ was a fascinating read with valuble lessons on strategy (in all endeavors), human communication, what “higher” education can and cannot do, and an introduction to business to those of us without business degrees (i.e., at the level PDB was when he entered HBS). I found valuable lessons to improve my teaching and my interpretation of business events. Thank you!


  25. David Armstrong

    Great book, highlighting the personal choices and sacrifice that we all make in achieving our life goals. Definitely worth reading for all would-be MBA’s and career changers before they take the plunge. Its great to see a realistic view of the MBA school of thought rather the continuing manufactured perspective of “we are better/smarter than the rest” that is broadcast to the world.


  26. jc


    Loved your book! Throughout my life, I have learned one very important lesson and it’s cleverly captured by one line in your book: “Comparison is the death of happiness.”

    Nothing rings truer.


  27. Jody Yamamoto

    I am so glad to have read your book, which I bought incidentally in Germany. Being an MBA-ler myself, I could follow through your thought precisely and for sure sharing the same opinion as yours as well. Would be great if we could share some relevant or other thoughts,too. Keep up the good work Philip!


  28. Quentin

    I’ve just finished “Ahead of the Curve” and I totally enjoyed it. Although I’m not in business or finance (nor a B-school grad), you neatly explained the concepts you learned at HBS for the reader.
    I began to worry when you didn’t have a job lined up at near the end of the book! Also, the descriptions of the students in your section were vivid and left me with a good impression of the student body at HBS.
    Thanks for the HBS “experience”. I’m glad to have seen things from your persepective.


  29. Kevin


    Loved the book. Took the GMAT in late 20s, scored really well, decided not to go. In my opinion, the best books are books such as these, nonfiction written firsthand by the person who lived through the experience. I was engrossed all the way through. I think the book would make a great basis for a film, following the outsider into Harvard, pealing back the layers of what it’s really like to be in an MBA program, as seen through the eyes of this outsider trying to change careers and find a new direction in life.

    Great book.



  30. colin hughes

    I recently bought your book
    “What they teach you at HBS” in Melbourne Australia
    I found it v good. I doubt the young students who go there
    straight from Univ. could have written it.


  31. RR

    Hi Philip, I’m Bangladeshi (born and raised) working in development and I’m on my way to HBS next fall. Times have changed I guess :). Since your first book, Ahead of the Curve, is not commonly available at libraries or bookstores in Dhaka, I’ve been looking for a e-book or audio book (.mp3) version that doesn’t require me to buy and Kindle or download extra software using a torturous-ly slow broad band connection. Do you or ‘your people’ have any recommendations? I’m itching to read both your books!


  32. Madelin

    Hi Phillip, i bought a copy of your book and re-read it a few times last year when i experienced severe quarterlife crisis with work and goals. Thanks for such an honest book, about business school, life after school and your personal struggles. It is such an inspiration i just want to thank you for sharing the words and thoughts. All the best.

    from Singapore


  33. M

    Hi Philip,

    I just finished reading your book the other day – really enjoyed it. I read it after completing my MBA (in the UK) and it was reassuring and interesting, in many ways, to read similarities between HBS and my own school. It was also funny to read about your McKinsey etc interviews and applications – I’m going through similar; I really don’t want to go back to corporate life but feel I ought to because getting a start-up or two going doesn’t pay the mortgage in the short term. Most of the rest of my class have those ‘proper jobs’ and hate them – it maddens me that they know they’ll hate them when applying and are faking enthusiasm in order to get those jobs. It’s a joke, but a seriously bad one.

    How did you keep the faith and not buckle under pressure to get a sole-destroying management consultancy-type job in the face of huge debts and a family to support?

    All the best to you and your family in the future.



  34. Claire

    I recently read your book and found it really interesting – congratulations on retaining a sane view of what’s important amongst all the madness of the work options HBS was illuminating for its graduates. It’s also refreshing to hear a male voice expressing these valid concerns about work/life balance – once this is seen as a human issue affecting everyone and not a niche issue society can really start to address it.


  35. Owen

    I thoroughly enjoyed your book. As a recent MBA graduate from a top UK university, it is gratifying to note that what they teach at HBS is what they also thought me. Like you, I was in my 30s when I finished and like you, employers are reluctant to engage my services despite my best effort. Like you, I am thinking about decision science – switching from low beta to high beta. The book is brilliant and resonated with me.


  36. Alex

    Philip, this summer I stumbled upon your book and it has really changed the way I am looking at my future career. I am in my final year at one of the most prestigious universities , and yet I have never been taught what I managed to learn from your book. Screw you Goldman Sachs! Have never thought it would be such a pleasure to decline their offer…:)

    Philip, thank you once again for an outstanding book. Veuillez agréer, Monsieur, l’expression de mes salutations distinguées!



  37. Anastasia Ivanova

    Philip, i discovered your book “What they teach you at HBS” just a few days ago as i was thinking about potentially doing an MBA in a few year’s time. It’s really facinating and i love the fact that you make all the “financial horror” full of uncertain numbers and ideas so simple easy to understand. Admire your humour and your writing style. One of the best books i’ve held in my hands for a while. The only other facinating book i’ve been enjoying recently was Tony Blair’s memoirs (althought it’s quite a bit different, but the gravitas is of the same magnitude). Many thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience as well as an opportunity to take this journey with you. All the best, Anastasia


  38. n2739178

    Hi Philip,

    I read your HBS book recently and it clarified a lot of things I had already suspected about business school. That said, I still want to go, but at least I will be forewarned. What I’m most interested in now, however, is if you have any more stories from those who took the ‘unconventional’ paths like NGO’s, social business, setting up their own companies… Is there anything in particular that stands out about your former classmates who took these paths, which you would be able to share?



  39. J. Chris Jenson

    Just finished your book “Ahead of the Curve” and it was an excellent read! I am finishing my undergraduate career in business school this spring and appreciated your insightful perspective. Cheers!



  40. B. Sampson

    Just finished your book. I appreciate your honesty but I wish someone had taken your place that really wanted an MBA. You didn’t seem qualified going in and being the last to get a job tells me you didn’t have much coming out. It may be as much European culture as anything.

    You kind of hung around and interviewed people that held your same beliefs. GroupThink I think is what they call it.

    I think if you had a successful business background before you enrolled I think you would have gotten more out of HBS. It seems all you got was a lot of debt.

    I have worked with Harvard MBA’s and your impression is not the same as mine. Yours is not a very big sample as they would tell you in Statistics. You picked your data to fit your conclusion.

    Where I got my MBA you could flunk out — too bad you didn’t go to school where I did.

    Saying all that you write very well it is the content I have a problem.


  41. Norman Norrington

    Dear Philip,

    Just finished ready What they………. and found it confirmed my view of HBS. As a moderately successful UK enterpreneur I attended some lectures prior to my brother in laws graduation and found the case book method fascinating, and the teachings of the lecturers on occasions ignorant in the extreme. I remember one class where the professor related a tale of how he applied the science of HBS to his town’s opera society. It was suffering falling audiences so he arranged for a free outdoor opera in the local park and to his delight thousands of people attended, people whom he assumed had never been to an opera before, he concluded that by this one simple act of he had encouraged the local populas to try something new. This he asserted showed that an untapped market existed for his opera company. He said that of course it cost a lot of money to put on the production and they couldn’t economically repeat such an exercise. I asked him, because thousands had attended, why he couldn’t repeat it by charging just a dollar a ticket, which would have recouped all of the company’s outgoings plus a profit, he looked at me in only what I can describe as disbelief. He simply didn’t get the entrepreneurial opportunity he had missed. I did, but that’s how I earn my living.
    Norman Norrington


  42. Bruno

    Your book made me miss my flight, first time this ever happens to me: I was too absorbed in the book I just purchased in the airport shop to notice that I was waiting for boarding at the wrong gate.
    Thank you very much PDB…


  43. sp

    Hello Mr philip

    just finished reading the what the…. hbs ! and felt the impulse to check u out on the web.

    an mba with 15yrs of wkex now, I have just finished a course fm iima, which has a llr curriculum and style so i could relate to the book.

    My concern is that if hbs has got u to such a point of ‘confusion’ then certainly there is some element(s) of leadership training lacking even at “the institute”… that needs to be explored and capped .. and likewise at many other management institutes which follow suit.

    while u may not be an expert at everything, you have been bold enough to present ur feelins and fears. Speaks volumes about you – is that ur honed journalistic instinct or an innate urge to forewarn wannabes … so that they are forearmed and gain a little more !


  44. I picked up your book in the desert of interesting books that usually are airports’ WH Smiths.
    And I am glad I did. I picked it up thinking of a different book and I am pleased with what I found.

    During my MSc and MBA I had very little exposure to campus life because I was working full time, therefore I enjoyed the insight on the life at HBS.


  45. Philip,
    I stumbled on your book while browsing wistfully through the business ed section at James Madison University this summer, waiting for the 2011 cohort of the iMBA program to begin next week. B-school has been a dream of mine since I first began working as an engineer in naval construction, and has persisted through a 2-1/2-year stint as a plant manager and into my current occupation as a project manager back in construction again. I’m now 33 years old with a young family and a good foundation in my church and community and circle of friends, so your book really resonated with me. It’s a fascinating and hilarious read and yet I think it faithfully reveals the philosophical and relational side of your journey.
    One of the things I have enjoyed most about the book (not having finished it yet) is the recurring theme about deriving meaning from seemingly meaningless systems and vice versa. Somewhere you compare the “tidy matrix” of HBS’ extrapolations to the “Jackson Pollock” canvas of life, making the point about how one end of that pendulum’s swing can quickly belie the other. That is probably the aspect of the MBA that best describes what I am looking for in going back to school: the ability to move easily between the two. I want to be able to analyze and see meaning and manage where there was only disorder before, and I want to be able to see the emperor’s underwear through the papers-and-vapors of a valuation report that exists not so much to convey truth as merely to provide a negotiation tool – not failing to appreciate the usefulness of both perspectives.
    My good friend Greg Duerksen (HBS ’81) did his best to convince me of the value of a top-10 business school, and tracing your development through this book into greater self-awareness and increased competency, I realize again how right he was. My wife and I decided that Darden was too costly an investment for us (not talking about the money). But I can still see how the pursuit of leadership growth I have chosen will be enriched by your story. On the brink of the first week of class, doubting my quantitative abilities, feeling the weight of other responsibilities in my life, questioning how I ever thought I could pull this off and wondering how much of the experience will be truly meaningful for myself and for the world I live in, it’s an exhilarating first breath of graduate school air. Thanks for sharing!
    Jeremy Vogan


  46. Ediven

    Hi Phili
    I just finished “Ahead the curve”
    i have 2 interesting questions , hope u can find the time to reply.

    1. the podcasting venture u planned to pursuit, which are the takeaways from that? ( since i am working on a web startup focused on podcasts, should we focus on 1 category or having a wider range?
    2. K.Perkins invested on Podshow during 2007, any insight bout the company?



  47. LM

    Dear Philip,
    Thank you for your book, I enjoyed it very much. As a graduate of a much lower profile Harvard graduate school, who is still trying to make sense of that experience, I was amazed to discover how similar my experience was to yours, though probably to a considerably less extreme degree. Insecure overachievers and a general sense of conformity tended to dominate the environment — exactly the opposite of what I had expected from my Harvard experience. Not surprised that the last chapter of your book, “A Factory for Unhappy People,” might just as well describe our building. Makes me wonder what happened to Harvard? Were things ever different?


  48. Joon

    Hi Phillip,

    I just finished reading your book. Thank you very much for this insightful and comprehensive book! However, I have a question. I never got to know which industry you ended up choosing or where you are working as an Harvard MBA graduate. Are you currently a writer in New York? Or did you get an offer from a company?

    Thank you


    1. Arthur

      Hey Phillip,

      Just finished reading “What They Teach You at HarvardBusinessSchool” and I have to say, it changed the way I’m making choices or thinking about my, my peer and other business people influence on the world.

      I’m a senior year undergraduate student in a top 20 European business school. This should be in our undergraduate mandatory reading list since you give reader a wider perspective, beyond those financial models of Black-Merton-Scholes, or vague and artificial ‘Ethics’ courses being taught in Europe and much of the U.S. (according to students I’ve met and talked to).

      Thanks for sharing the insight!

      P.S. Hope you’re doing well


      1. philipdelvesbroughton

        Thanks so much Joon. Delighted you enjoyed it. And yes, you should tell your professors to add it to that reading list!




  49. Ahead of the Curve is potentially one of the most reflective, insightful books about education I have read, Philip. I have listened to it multiple times and always find it fascinating and engaging. Even though I have earned a PhD, I still find myself daydreaming of breaking away from my current life and earning a Harvard MBA, thanks to your candid, incredibly readable book.

    Thank you personally for your excellence and your clear ability to do your own thing- it gives others hope that they can move forward in unique, fulfilling ways.


  50. Tom Mitchell

    I found your review of the book Quiet in the WSJ very insightful. Your last line about a gathering of introverts being the worst party ever was highly amusing — kind of like (in a different way) a sign I saw in grad school in the UK for an “anarchist organising meeting.”

    The only flaw was your recommendation to join the Episcopal Church to avoid in-service intrusions. I grew up in that tradition and there was always a pause midway where everyone stood up to shake hands and say “peace” (insincerely it seemed to me) to those around them. Cringeworthy, especially to an introvert like me.


  51. stijn

    Hi Philip,

    Just finished your HBS book. I have to say I share your feelings about Harvard and the likes. I love the places (the buildings, the atmosphere, even the websites …). One of the highlights of my trip to Boston was having lunch in the canteen of Harvard Law School and buying a T-shirt.
    But I hate it when people use their degree as a way to differentiate them from others like e.g. in a signature in an e-mail: “Philip Delves Broughton, MBA”. (I hope you don’t do this)

    I have a suggestion for a sequel: ENA in Paris …



  52. Pingback: To (f)b or not to (f)b, that’s the question | Sahil Patwa's Weblog

  53. Brad


    Thoroughly enjoyed your book. You have an incredibly readable writing style and a refreshingly candid perspective. I am about to start my MBA journey (not at Harvard) and found your insights eye-opening. Your struggles with family/life/work balance and the pursuit of monetary success & career prestige helped settle my own “what do I do after school?” question. Your anecdote about the tenth-year HBS anniversary letters – and all the broken families therein described – was especially poignant. Without a doubt, I want to put family first in all career endeavors.

    Thanks so much for sharing.


  54. Rafael

    … and humour is never far away 😉

    and here,

    I follow your blog and love your work. I have read ‘Ahead of the Curve’ and ‘Dead Bankers’, and many of your articles … next is ‘Ghosts’!

    On a side note … in my humble opinion, ‘Dead Bankers’ has huge potential to be made into a sophisticated/’Ghost-Writer’ style thriller film …



    1. philipdelvesbroughton

      Well, I hope you enjoy Ghosts as much as the others. Would love Dead Bankers to become a movie – I guess you never know!

      Amazing how Goldman’s become a punchline – a dramatic change in fortune.

      Thanks again Rafael.



  55. Wow – Just finished “The Art of the Sale.” You’re right–you must learn sales skills to do just about anything on this planet. What an interesting book. If I ran the nation, every high school student would have read this book, and if we ever have a day when leaders realize that things are more easily taught when they’re enjoyable–well, you mastered the art of interesting. THANKS FOR WRITING IT!!


    1. philipdelvesbroughton

      Thanks for this Jeannie. Yes it would be great if schools taught selling as the way to turn one’s talents into a livelihood, I think that would be a great step forward.


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