October 28, 2019

Little boy who escapes Nazi death machine grows up to be America’s Renaissance Man

Posted by WARREN PERLEY – Editor, BestStory.ca
Writing from Montreal

I’m a sucker for inspirational stories that expose the unvarnished truth about business titans who, despite their flaws, succeed due to healthy dollops of moxie, brains and chutzpah. Our profile on Clark Abt showcases the originality and genius of his achievements in many fields of endeavor, some well beyond the scope of traditional business.

The story idea came about during a casual phone conversation in early 2019 when out of curiosity I asked BestStory.ca contributor Stan Crock about the etymology of the company name Abt Associates Inc., where Stan works in the marketing and communications department. Bloomberg describes Abt Associates Inc. as a company with 2,700 employees worldwide which offers research, consulting, and technical assistance services.

But Bloomberg says nothing about how the company started or who the founder was. How can you not love a story about a business virtuoso such as Abt who hired “no men” (as opposed to “yes men”) to tell him why some of his business plans might not work? Despite the best efforts of “no men” to talk him out of boneheaded initiatives, the strong-willed Abt still plunged into some losing ventures. On the other hand, other choices often paid off big, ensuring a company that is still growing and thriving more than a decade after his retirement.

My thanks to Stan for accepting my request to produce such an original piece of journalism, which required him to visit Abt at his home in Cambridge, MA. and talk by phone with the rest of his family. In total, Stan spent in excess of 100 hours conducting interviews in person, by phone and by email, researching, writing, and fact-checking. The result is a fascinating, well-balanced, 15,000-word profile that gives us a glimpse into the life and times of one of America’s least known but most prolific geniuses. I hope our readers enjoy perusing this fine piece of journalism as much as I enjoyed editing it. Stan’s biography can be found here.