Granite Bay author Paul Carroll has a new book out, called “Billion-Dollar Lessons: What You Can Learn from the Most Inexcusable Business Failures of the Last 25 Years.” The book has been receiving strong reviews. The Wall Street Journal called the book “fascinating,” “insightful” and “crisply written” and said it “couldn’t be more timely” because of the light it sheds on the mistakes that led to the current financial crisis. Carroll began the research for the book three years ago as a reaction to the conventional wisdom that prosperity would last forever and the fact that almost all business books focus on success stories and say, “Here’s how to be like those guys.” He and co-author Chunka Mui decided it was about time someone looked at failures and said, “Here’s how not to be like those guys.” The co-authors and a research team of 20 pored over 750 major failures to find patterns that would provide warning signs about impending failure. The book identifies seven strategies that are most commonly associated with failure – including an overreliance on synergies and over-optimism about the benefits to be gained from having an industry consolidate. The book lays out ways that everyone from senior managers to middle managers can use to increase the level of constructive debate and avoid a serious strategic error. “Billion-Dollar Lessons” also offers advice to investors on how to avoid companies such as Merrill Lynch and AIG, whose strategic errors doomed them and savaged their shareholders. Prior to writing “Billion-Dollar Lessons” – which he and Mui joke may have to be renamed “Trillion-Dollar lessons,” given the carnage on Wall Street – Carroll spent 17 years as a writer and editor at the Wall Street Journal. The paper nominated him twice for Pulitzer Prizes and he was a finalist once. He also founded and edited Context magazine, which helped senior executives understand the strategic implications of information technology and which pioneered a genre that became known as “new economy” magazines. The magazine was a finalist in 2000 for the National Magazine Award for General Excellence, the industry’s highest honor. Carroll wrote “Big Blues: The Unmaking of IBM,” a best-seller that was published in 1993 and that was translated into six languages. He and his wife, Kim, have a daughter at Granite Bay High School and a daughter at Cavitt Junior High.