On Wednesday, I jotted down a few takeaways from the election that were applicable to investors and people running businesses. Really, it was for any one with an interest in learning from the misstep of others.

I liked the idea so much I decided to expand it for my Sunday Washington Post Business Section column. It was not about schadenfreude; rather, this is an inexpensive form of tuition, letting other organizations make strategic, cognitive and tactical errors that you can learn from. These include both of the candidates, the media, the consultants, the GOP primary candidates, some of the major memes of the campaign, a bit of philosophy, and a few words about money.

Called simply Lessons from 2012 Election, it discusses the various non-political lessons that can be derived from the entire season and applied to investors and business leaders.

Here are the 10 :

Lessons from 2012 Election

1. Process, not outcome, is what matters
2. Do your homework and practice
3. Think deeply before you speak
4. Avoid clichés
5. Don’t live in a bubble
6. Have influential allies
7. Be true to yourself
8. Choose your business partners well
9. It takes more than money
10. It helps to make your own luck

Note the focus is Non-Political lessons; I will let the politicos handle the specific getting elected related takeaways themselves. >

I still cannot access the print version, so if anyone can send me a PDF of G6, it would be appreciated. I’d like to see what the Post did with the dead tree version of it.>


Lessons from the 2012 election
Barry Ritholtz
Washington Post, November 11, 2012  

Category: Apprenticed Investor, Rules

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

13 Responses to “Non-Political Lessons from 2012 Election”

  1. VennData says:

    As W.’s former aide Karen Hughes put it in Politico on Friday, “If another Republican man says anything about rape other than it is a horrific, violent crime, I want to personally cut out his tongue.”


    11) Violence is never the solution, unless it’s a legitimate tongue cutting.

    Come to think of it. Ms Hughes may have a solution for the men who think Medieval Times is a policy response.

  2. Frilton Miedman says:

    Converting lessons from this election into non-political business (or sales) advice, don’t allow yourself the luxury of a negative or condescending view of your customer base.

    The “47%” video ended it for Romney, the fact that it “slipped out” in what he though was a private venue only symbolizes how he truly felt about those Americans. – No sale.

  3. rocketgas says:

    So be well connected. If your not get that way. And learn math

  4. Conan says:

    Part of the Republican problem of being conservative is how they have evolved this thought.

    Today we have a party that can be portrayed as being very limiting in personal liberty, i.e. religion, abortion, sex, etc. and fiscally unsound in many ways, no taxes, but big spending (especially with the military and proactive wars)

    Perhaps this needs to be rethought and to be more fiscally sound where as revenues equals expenditures. Plus they should be more libertarian in the personal rights.

    I guess to say it in other way the libertarian “conservative” ideas exposed by Ron Paul are more inclusive vs the Religious Right “conservative” ideas that are more in use today. You can use the 12 Rules noted above for “conservatism”, but you can’t use them for blind idealism. One of the first things that Communists and Fascist try to do is promote idealism and suppress scientific thought and open debate.

  5. ToNYC says:

    Romney came, but he didn’t Identify.

  6. econimonium says:

    I think this we just witnessed, in a very public way, what happens in business and we like to call “sucking your own exhaust”. It’s when you surround yourself only with people who agree with you, purge anyone who won’t toe your line, and quash dissent. For a business that usually ends as badly as this election.

    None of us likes to hear bad news, but ignoring facts is just plain stupid. And ignoring or firing the guy that’s trying to tell you that something is wrong is the quickest way to oblivion. Somehow in the past 20 years or so, there’s been this great movement in business as well as in politics to value personal sycophancy over having challengers on your team. This does not mean these people undermine you or even are your enemies. They perform the function of opposing counsel, trying to get you to think outside of your realm and frame of reference and force you to think about opposing points of view or contrary indicators. These people are, in my opinion, worth 10 people who kiss my ass, because those people I can find anywhere and they perform a useful function. But they aren’t the ones I’ll ever take seriously. The Republican Party needs to stop sucking its own exhaust, as much as the financial sector, big banks, and tech companies that ride into the sunset. Because when you stop looking at facts (like Nate Silver’s blog) and start constructing an alternate reality based on the ass kissers (Rasmussen) is when you fail. Just like when you alienate 47% of your possible customer base. This entire episode boggles my mind.

  7. Frilton Miedman says:

    Conan, it’s important to delineate conservatives & Libertarians from Neo-Cons & Austrian (Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand) extremist ideologues.

    Libertarians aren’t of the Hayak/Ayn Rand school, the definition of Libertarian ideology has been completely mangled in recent years.

    Libertarians prioritize personal freedom for the individual and a free market for both buyer and seller, not the personal freedom of monarch’s & aristocrats to monopolize and self regulate against the will of the free market or Democracy.

    “The greatest threat to human freedom is the concentration of power, whether it be in the hands of government or ANYONE ELSE….” – Milton Friedman

  8. Frilton Miedman says:

    Typo above “Hayek”, not Hayak. (an edit function would be nice)

  9. Conan says:

    here is a rather long article in Wikipedia on conservatism.


    It lists 5 basic types: Traditional, Limited Government, NeoConservatism, PaleoConservatism & Libertarian conservatism. My point is that we have a heavy emphasis of Neo & Paleo that leads to war and intolerance. vs Limited Government and Libertarian that is more inclusive and for freedom.

    So as I have said in many posts, grouping and labeling large populations is not a wise practice. In this particular posting I was noting that a life long Republican, Ron Paul, definitely brought a different perspective to the table than what is presently represented as the majority.

    Self reflection and analysis needs to be done. What is being sold in the Republican party and in the media as a conservative is just one flavor, may of had some success in the past, but it looks like it won’t be translated much into the future as an election winning approach. We need more inclusive approach that brings people in. Not idealogs that shut people out due to ethnicity, religion or some such categorization.


    Sorry forgot one – Christian Conservatism

  10. ilsm says:

    Taparty ideologues, no divergence from dogma.

    “If everybody’s thinking alike, somebody isn’t thinking.” George S. Patton

  11. [...] I was working on my collection of lessons for my WaPo column this week, I ended up finding all manner of interesting, amusing but ultimately unusable items. [...]

  12. Frilton Miedman says:

    Conan, I completely agree.

    As a Libertarian, what bothers me with conservative groups, even Libertarians, is the inherent ignorance to the fact that removing government opens the door for self regulation by corporate monopolies.

    I want less government for small businesses and at the personal level, the LAST thing a reasonable Libertarian should want is Feudalism, where only the wealthiest have a say.

    A Democratic government answers to it’s people, corporations don’t….I’ve been called a “lefty” countless times in recent years for saying this, by muppets taking their ideological queues from Fox & Friends.

  13. whskyjack says:


    I think we need to quit calling all those groups conservative.

    Look at the defintion of conservative
    “con·serv·a·tive/kənˈsərvətiv/ Adj:
    Holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in politics or religion.”

    I don’t see many conservative people in the Republican party. Lets just call the folks in the Republican party a bunch of misguided liberals };-)