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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Why Smart Executives Fail: Common Mistakes & Warning Signs by Dartmouth College

276 ratings

About the Course

We don’t often talk about mistakes and failures, but there’s so much to learn from what goes wrong. In this course, Professor Sydney Finkelstein will teach you why leaders make mistakes, and what you can do to avoid making those same mistakes yourself. Using real-life examples of smart executives who failed, Professor Finkelstein will walk you through scenarios that prepare you to understand, manage, and even take advantage of the continuous change that is inevitable in organizations and in life....

Top reviews


Oct 13, 2023

The course is awakening and opens up thoughts on leadership and management. Prof. Finkelstein is so amazing and they way of delivery of concepts will make you to learn more. Dont miss this leaders!!!


May 7, 2022

Exceptional prof presenting this specialization. The quality of the material and the level of engagement are top class. Will petition Coursera for Sydney Finkelstein to be a regular contributor.

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1 - 25 of 80 Reviews for Why Smart Executives Fail: Common Mistakes & Warning Signs

By Jennifer R

Apr 23, 2022

This was a truly fascinating way to start off this specialization. It really drew me in, and I loved the case study style which fantastically illustrated the missteps of fallen giants. I love Syd's lecture style and his speaking voice. I could listen to him all day (and have). This was my first Coursera experience, and I will continue my subscription and this specialization due to this positive experience. Thank you for creating and offering this series!

By Alim J

May 8, 2022

Exceptional prof presenting this specialization. The quality of the material and the level of engagement are top class. Will petition Coursera for Sydney Finkelstein to be a regular contributor.

By Nicole B

Apr 24, 2022

Sydney was great at painting the complete picture and engaging. I enjoyed every module of this course and learned a lot.

By Shadi R

Jul 25, 2022

The course is so rich in terms of information, insights, and learnings, but I wish the Prof was more direct and insluded more interactive excercises, whereby feedback is provided on excercises to provide validation.

The Prof used ummm , and and... a lot and that got in the way of building a smooth learning expereince.

By Robert K

May 19, 2022

The course was quite good. Sidney was excellent with his real life approach and examples of so many situations from Motorola to Snow brands, and from Wang labs to Theraons and Elizabeth Holmes. WOW what great examples of many people repeating the same mistakes and not adapting to change and not adapting to reality (Theranos).

In summary it was quite good although I would have loved to see a few actual quizzes at the end of each section to test and evaluate what you learned. This would have enhanced the learning and accountability. I can actually see where some of this material will apply to my job directly! Thank you so much.

By Mike C B

Apr 12, 2023

I highly recommend this course for anyone looking to gain a deeper understanding of what causes some of the biggest business failures in history. Professor Finkelstein is a fantastic teacher and his insights are both informative and thought-provoking. And if you are like me and like to go a little deeper into things, I also recommend buying the book "Why Smart Executives Fail". I had a blast, but now it's your turn: learn to understand and avoid the common mistakes that lead to business failures.

By Ahmed J

Mar 24, 2024

This course is truly amazing—I can't emphasize enough how much I've learned from it. The case studies presented by Professor Sydney are spot on in terms of content and presentation. One can gain a lot from studying these case studies. Additionally, I want to give a shout-out and express that this is one of the best leadership courses I've ever taken. I cannot thank him enough for the well-structured course. Thank you, sir!

By Ciru M

Apr 27, 2024

I learnt so much and was able to apply and relate my every day work to what Professor was teaching . I particularly like this course as it addresses many extremely uncomfortable topics revolving around failure & mistakes. No one wants to accept failure! We want to always look good & paint a rosy picture! This is not always the case! The best lessons come from living and learning from failure!!! Thank You!!!

By Craig Z

Jun 6, 2023

Really excellent and engaging course and is one of the most useful courses I have taken in business related topics. I was able to learn and take something away from every module. To really get the most out of this course do the exercises and really think them through. You will come out of this not only a better executive but a better person.

By أ ا م ا

Oct 16, 2022

1- Defects in attitudes and the overall view of matters that call for rejecting the truth or not believing it

2- The channels of communication between the upper management and the following levels are blocked

3- Unreasonable leadership traits that prevent the company's management from correcting its course when necessary

By Patrick W

Jan 25, 2023

Excelente! Mr. Finkelstein break paradigms from how to be the best leader/manager, analysing and studing cases on the perspective from the failures, mistakes and warning signs. I'm extremelly reccomend these course for everyone that wish to be the best leaders as posible.

By Kanisha F

Jun 21, 2023

This was such a great deep dive on habits and behaviors! With each story, I was thoroughly intrigued. The assignments gave me the opportunity to self-reflect on my own leadership style, habits, values, and approach. I would take this course again just for the fun of it.

By Michael P

Feb 14, 2023

The course is excellent. There are many real-world and applicable examples of inventors thought leaders and business icons that failed and the reasons why. The quizzes are thought-provoking and allow one to reflect on the lessons learned from executives' mistakes.

By Sandra D

Oct 10, 2022

It was great learning for me. Thank you Prof Sydney, I took time to complete this module cause I wanted to understand.

I have not only made notes but also did a lot reading to understand the case studies better and understand the learnings from them.

By Karen P

Nov 4, 2022

Great lessons and thoughtful exercises organized in a concise package. Prof Finkelstein's conversational delivery peppered with relevant examples, makes it easy to digest the lessons. Applicable to any manager/executive. Highly recommend this course!

By Ch. A A

Nov 27, 2023

I am immensely grateful for the transformative insights gained from your course. The practical wisdom shared has significantly enriched my managerial perspective. Your teaching style is engaging and effective, making complex concepts accessible.

By Maria V

May 4, 2023

Very educational and easy to understand. Professor provides many insights, examples and resources to help yo u become the manager you want to be or the one you don't want to be. Excellent course! I highly recommend it!

By Veronica R

Dec 12, 2022

The course blended theories and real world applications seamlessly. The exercises given also allowed for practical development of thinking skills within the subject matter. Overall a very effective and enjoyable course.

By Julio R Q

Oct 9, 2022

Great insight from Profesor Finkelstein on why smart executives fail in business, the common mistakes they commit and the many warning signs to watch out for. I really enjoyed thos first course of the specialization.

By Oswald V

Oct 14, 2023

The course is awakening and opens up thoughts on leadership and management. Prof. Finkelstein is so amazing and they way of delivery of concepts will make you to learn more. Dont miss this leaders!!!

By robby z H

Mar 24, 2023

Covers many insightful lessons. The Professor's storytelling skill is impressive, very easy to follow and understand all points delivered. Very good, especially if we don't skip the assignments.

By M C

Dec 23, 2023

Powerful! Using Coursera's "Coach" AI to add in some extended histories, like those of Schwinn, etc., further amplified the important concepts expressed by this excellent instructor. Thank you!

By Mohammad S S

Jul 7, 2022

The course helped me a lot in understanding organisational behaviours. Being a general manager of an educational institution my skills of managing has been enhanced exponentiolly. Thank you!

By Marcin J M

Jan 5, 2024

Truly amazing course with lots of good examples and explanation. It really opens eyes for important factors. Recommended for all - not only leaders. I look forward for next course already.

By Jessie T

Nov 3, 2022

Great case studies to help you understand the material. Gives a holistic view as to the traps you need to avoid and how some very successful people fall victim to them. Good eye opener.