In Brief: Risky Businesses

The recent barrage of revelations about the travels and tortuous financial dealings of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) has divided the experts. Some say that in defending himself he should disclose all; others, including former President Clinton, contend that withholding information can be a prudent tactic. In Winning (HarperBusiness, $27.95), written with his wife, Suzy, former General Electric CEO Jack Welch comes down firmly on the side of divulgence. “There are no secrets in the world,” he writes, “and everyone will eventually find out everything.” Not only that, but “information you try to shut down will eventually get out, and as it travels, it will certainly morph, twist, and darken.” His chapter on mergers and acquisitions lists so many pitfalls — seven in all — that negotiating them seems daunting enough to justify sullenness and ranting. But restrain yourself. As Welch notes, “You and your bad attitude can be replaced — and you will be if you don’t learn to love the deal like the acquirers do.”

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