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Bill Swanson’s Not-So-Original Management Survival Guide

Bill Swanson first hit my radar last summer with this post. I requested and received a free copy of his 25 Unwritten Rules of Management. It turns out that they really weren’t “unwritten” after all – according to numerous recent reports, much of his booklet was taken from a book originally written by W.J. King and published in 1944 entitled Unwritten Laws of Engineering.

Today I came across this article from The Boston Globe and carried in my local paper, The Indianapolis Star. This plagiarism led to Mr. Swanson losing a cool $1 million from his Raytheon pay package. Ouch. The article gets hung up on how many executive speeches are written by someone else. So what? There’s a huge difference between paying someone else to write your speech and lifting from someone else’s speech/book and calling it your own (Exhibit A: Senator Joe Biden).

It’s disappointing to realize Swanson’s 25 rules weren’t original. Nevertheless, the information in his booklet is quite useful. Raytheon recently posted this official announcement regarding the situation. They’re no longer distributing the free book, so I’ll hang onto mine and see if becomes a collector’s item on ebay…


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