Kevin Conboy of the Irish Chamber of Atlanta chose Don Keough's "10 Commandments of Business Failure" for his top book of 2013. 

Book: The Ten Commandments for Business Failure

Author: Don Keough, former Coca-Cola Co. chairman

Review: Kevin Conboy, retired partner from Paul Hastings and president of the Irish Chamber of Atlanta

Anyone involved in Irish affairs in Atlanta will know of Don Keough’s enormous contributions. The former chairman of Coca-Cola was one of the first recipients of Ireland’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Distinguished Service Award. 

Eamon Gilmore, Ireland’s Tainiste (vice president), came to Atlanta to present the award at the Irish Chamber’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast.

Both the Tainiste and Keough were in great form that wonderful morning in March 2012. After presiding over the event as the chamber president,  I thought 2013 would be a good time to dive into this book by Keough, one of the chamber’s greatest supporters. 

While not a true businessperson myself, as a corporate lawyer I read a few business books over the years. I had grown accustomed to prominent business writers ‘mailing it in,’ working with a co-author and charging $25 or more for “original” thoughts. 

This is not such a book, and that probably stems from its origin. Mr. Keough wove these thoughts into speeches over a number of years. In this book, they were refined, polished and updated: perfected. There is only one voice here, that of the very successful Chairman of The Coca-Cola Co. 

The book is beautifully written, with clear thinking and stories to illustrate his points; there are no extra words. It shows how Keough achieved balance in his own life between family, community and values. While reading, it’s not surprising to learn that Keough’s college major was philosophy. I don’t mean to brag, since I suffered from the same educational affliction, but his Jesuit training shines through. 

Maybe I read this on the dust jacket, but it rings true: If you have only one business book to read in your life, make it Don Keough’s “The Ten Commandments for Business Failure”.

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...