Collection of Biographies and CVs for Dr. Mortimer Feinberg

Interviews and Articles About Dr. Mortimer Feinberg

Mortimer R. Feinberg, Ph.D. has combined a career as an academic with his role as a Consultant and advisor to many of the world's most successful corporations and individuals.

A pioneer in the field of industrial psychology, Dr. Feinberg has educated, enlightened and advised a stellar roster of global chief executive officers, heads of state, and leaders of thought for nearly six decades. He has successfully combined a keen technical expertise with a unique sense of humanity, touching campuses and board rooms from Brooklyn to Dubai.

As an academic, Dr. Feinberg is a Professor Emeritus of Baruch College of the City University of New York. There he served as the Director of Advanced Management Programs, Assistant Dean, Professor and former acting Chairman of the Psychology Department and Professor of Management.

A tireless lecturer and keynote speaker, Dr. Feinberg has highlighted the agenda for organizations and institutions such as the Young Presidents Organizations, the Israel Management Center, and the Indo-American Society. He has served as conference leader for public and private corporations such as GE, AlliedBarton, Rockefeller Group International, Chase Bank, Pritchard Industries, Crescent Petroleum, and Insitu. In all, his service as a lecturer and conference leader has taken him to over 30 countries around the world.

Dr. Feinberg's accomplishments have been broadly recognized, having received numerous honors and awards. He holds an Honorary Doctor of Aviation Business Administration from Emory-Riddle Aeronautical University.  In addition he is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and is listed in Who's Who in America.

A renowned author of six-books, as well as countless business articles and technical papers, Dr. Feinberg's insights have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Business Week, Fortune, and Forbes Magazines.  In addition he as been a guest on national radio and television programming such as NBC's Today Show and the Oprah Winfrey Show.

His "Effective Psychology for Managers" and "Why Smart People do Dumb Things" have become required reading for professional business managers. More recently, he has assisted Karl Eller, billboard advertising magnate and namesake of the Eller School of Management at the University of Arizona, in the publishing of Integrity Is All You've Got. He is currently working with Mr. Tomio Taki, international business guru and former owner of Anne Klein and Donna Karan, on his biography. In addition, Dr. Feinberg has met and interviewed four standing U.S. Presidents to discuss their psychology of leadership.

Fueled by an insatiable desire to impact positively the welfare of every individual who comes across his path and armed with a style uniquely his own, Dr. Feinberg combines an acerbic wit, a depth of experience, and compassion to provide point-on advice to those he counsels.  

Mortimer R. Feinberg, PhD has been Consultant to a wide range of companies including Crescent Petroleum Co, The Rockefeller Group, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), Allied Security and many others. Dr. Feinberg was an Industrial Psychology Consultant at Mt. Sinai Hospital of New York, Chief Psychologist at the Research Institute of America-New York, Instructor and Lecturer at Columbia University Graduate School, Long Island University, NYU, Rutgers University and Brooklyn College. He is the Co-founder of BFS Psychological Associates, Inc., a human resources consulting firm, and has been its Chairman of the Board of Directors since 1960.

He has been a Director of Esquire Deposition Services LLC since 1993. He serves as Member of Advisory Board of Haig's Service Corporation and served as Member of Advisory board of Aerwav Integration Services, Inc. Dr. Feinberg served as a Director of Esquire Communications since its incorporation. He is a Fellow-American Psychological Association and The Applause Award from the Sales Executive Club of New York and is listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the East and American Men of Science. He serves as Professor Emeritus, Baruch College, City University of New York. He is a frequent contributor to the WALL STREET JOURNAL on human resources and other business topics. Dr. Feinberg holds an Honorary Doctorate in Aviation Business Administration-ERAU, Diplomate in Industrial Psychology. He received his BS Degree (Honors) from City College of NY, his MA from Indiana University and his PhD from New York University.

Dr. Mortimer Feinberg has been dissecting the characteristics of extraordinarily effective leaders for over forty years. As one of the world's leading industrial psychologists, Dr. Feinberg is a consultant to numerous Fortune 500 companies and the U.S. governments well as universities in the United States and overseas. His articles appear regularly in leading publications and professional journals, including The Wall Street Journal, Dun's Review and Business Week. He is also the author or co-author of several best-selling books. Much in demand as a conference leader and speaker, Dr. Feinberg is a popular keynote speaker of the Young Presidents' Organization conferences held worldwide.

Principal Activities

Director of Advanced Management Programs and Assistant Dean, Baruch College, City University of New York.
Professor and former Acting Chairman of the Psychology Department and Professor of Management.

Chairman of the Board and co-founder, BFS Psychological Associates, Inc.

Lecturer, Stonier Graduate School of Banking, Rutgers University.

Principal Lecturer, American Management Association.

Member Labor-Management Committee of the National Council on Alcoholism.

Frequent resource lecturer at international and regional Young Presidents' Organization conferences.

Keynote speaker and conference leader at National Association of Recording Merchandisers, National American Wholesale Grocers' Association, Piggly Wiggly Southern, Arthur Young & Co., American Bankers Association, Cox Broadcasting Company, Transamerica Corp.

Consultant for companies ranging in volume from 1 million to 7 billion such as Agfa-Gevaert, Inc., Amstar Corp., Anchor Hocking Corp., Beatrice Foods Co., Huk-A-Poo Sportswear, International Playtex and Pritchard Services Group.

strong>Honors and Titles

Diplomate in Industrial Psychology, American Board of Examiners in Professional Psychology.

Fellow - American Psychological Association and American Association for Advancement of Science.

Holder of Silver Plaque Medallion, presented by American Management Association.

Holder of Applause Award of the Sales Executives Club of New York which is the highest award presented to distinguished businessmen, statesmen and public figures in recognition of their accomplishments. Other recipients were Dwight D. Eisenhower, Thomas J. "Watson, Herbert Hoover, Eddie Rickenbacker
and David Sarnoff.

Listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the East, American Education and American Men of Science.

Publications

Over 50 articles have appeared in following magazines: Business - Business Week, Business Management, Dun's Review, Nation'6 Business, The American Salesman, Sales Management, Supervisory Management, Steel, Wall Street Journal; Professional - Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, Journal of Personnel Psychology, Journal of Genetic Psychology, Personnel Journal; General Interest - McCall'6, Ladies' Home Journal, Catholic Digest, City College Alumnus.

Editorial Director - INTERACTION - The Management Psychology Newsletter.

Author of four books:

"Effective Psychology for Managers" - Prentice Hall, 1965; [Now in its tenth printing has sold over 75,000 copies].

"Developing People in Industry - Methods and Principles of Training" (with Dr* Douglas H. Fryer and Dr. Sheldon Zalkind), Harper*e, 1958;

"New Psychology for Managers" - Prentice-Hall, 1975 (with Dr. Robert Tanofsky and John J. Tarrant);

"Leavetaking - How to successfully handle life's most difficult crises" - Simon and Schuster, 1978 (with Gloria Feinberg and Jack J. Tarrant).

Background

Consultant, Lecturer, Visitor - to Europe, Soviet Union, Middle East, Japan, Mexico and Africa. (Travels approximately 70, 000 miles a year.)

Former Industrial Psychology Consultant, Mt. Sinai Hospital of New York.

Former Chief Psychologist, Research Institute of America, New York.

Former Consultant for The American Foundation of Religion and Psychiatry.

Former instructor and lecturer at Columbia University Graduate School, Long Island University, New York University and Brooklyn College.

Education

B.S. - City College of New York

M.A. - Indiana University

Ph.D. - New York University

Dr. Feinberg has been pulling the wool over the eyes of some of the world's most successful corporations and individuals as a consultant and advisor for nearly 2,000 years.

As one company CEO put it, "In front of an audience he is always a showman, a stirring orator, and with his wit, he will alternatively flagellate you and caress you."  As another CEO introduced him, "Born in another Century, he would have been a prophet. Born in Africa he would have been a witch doctor. Born in the 16th century England he would have been Thomas Moore."

A pioneer in the field of industrial psychology, Dr. Feinberg has insulted and pissed off a stellar roster of global chief executive officers, heads of state, and religious leaders for nearly six decades. He has successfully combined a keen technological expertise - after years of training he can now operate his cell phone - with a unique sense of humanity.  For example, he has been know to publicly recognize the cultural contributions of "ginnies, micks, and other forms of white trash" for their contributions to the  development of the United States.

As an academic, Dr. Feinberg is a Professor Emeritus of Baruch College of the City University of New York having been the youngest man in the history of that learned institution to receive tenure.  He did so at the age of 25 and to this day denies that the compromising photos he possesses of members of the University's Board of Trustees had anything to do with this accomplishment.

A tireless lecturer and keynote speaker, Dr. Feinberg has highlighted the agenda for organizations and institutions such as the Catholic Garrison Knights of Columbus, the Jewish Center for the Sleep Deprived, and the Bowery Alumni Association. He has served as conference leader for public and private corporations such as Enron, Tyco, and Merrill Lynch.

Dr. Feinberg has been credited with providing advice to some of the world's most influential figures. In his book, "Why Smart People-Do What I Freakin' Tell Them to Do," Dr. Feinberg shares behind-the-scenes details of his personal conversations with individuals such as Mother Teresa, Howard Dean, and Bill Clinton.

"It was a cool night in Calcutta and I said, For God's sake Terry, Put something on your head.'"

"Go ahead, Howard, scream, feel the moment, let it out; what harm will it cause your campaign? It will show the people you are human!" [Editor's note: see 'Howard Dean' link for current event story] or,

"Always have pizza with a good cigar, Bill."

As a sportsman, Dr. Feinberg has instituted many innovations to the game of golf. Credited with developing the "Morty Follow Through," Dr. Feinberg has perfected the technique of simultaneously teeing off and yelling "Marty, you putz!" As a result, he has consistently avoided fairways on some of the world's most prestigious courses including Augusta National, Hudson National, and the Coney Island Pitch and Putt.

Fueled by an insatiable desire to positively impact the welfare of every individual who comes across his path, and armed with a style uniquely his own, Dr. Feinberg has endeared himself to countless individuals who consider themselves blessed for simply having met the good doctor, and more importantly for being able to call him "friend."

An evening with one of America's leading masters of innovative thinking.

Professor Mortimer Feinberg

At a unique event hosted by Business Link Wirral and Women In Business, professor Feinberg will uncover the secrets that make the top leaders so extraordinarily effective. He will divulge the characteristics common to successful leaders while demonstrating how you can apply them.

Inspired American Presidents

Professor Feinberg has inspired audiences from 10 to 2,000, in over 30 countries, shared platforms with American presidents and provides consultancy services to a wide range of blue chip companies.  He is a frequent guest on American radio and television including NBC's Today Show, Oprah Winfrey Show, and the John Seingenthaler Show.  He is the author of six management books, and is the most frequently cited co-author in the book "Wall Street journal on Management - The Best of the Managers Journal."

The Topics

This information and motivational wake up session will ...

  • Examine the characteristics of successful businesses
  • Enhance your management and leadership talents
  • Provide you with insightful ways to motivate your team
  • Present leading edge solutions for handling change
  • Help you develop a flexible business approach to ensure you maintain a competitive advantage into the 21st Century

The Event

Date: Wednesday 28th April 1999    7pm to 10:30pm

Venue:  The International Business and Management Centre, Europa Boulevard, Conway Park, Birkenhead

7:00 PM   Arrival- champagne reception, meet and greet Professor Feinberg

7:20 PM  Seating for keynote speech

7:30PM  Professor Feinberg's keynote speech entitled: "Characteristics of successful management and leadership practices in changeable business environments.

8:15PM  Question and answer session

8:45PM  Gala buffet and executive networking

10:30PM  Close

Invitation Excerpts:

An opportunity to meet one of the world's leading business experts.

How do you intend to manage and lead your operation into the 21st Century?  Business success has everything to do with how you manage and lead your operation.  Business Link and Women in Business invite you to attend a highly informative, motivating lecture guaranteed to arm you with valuable techniques to top up your profit engine.

One the world's leading industrial psychologists, Professor Mortimer Feinberg will deliver a key note speech titled - Characteristics of successful management and leadership practices in changeable business environments.

Professor Feinberg has inspired audiences from 10 to 2,000, in over 30 countries, shared platforms with American presidents, provides consultancy services to a wide range of blue chip companies and is one of America's leading masters of innovative thinking.

Here is an opportunity for you to hear Professor Mortimer Feinberg speak and answer your questions.  To book your place please complete the enclosed booking form and return to Suzanne Davies.

Let Professor Mortimer Feinberg , Women in Business, and Business Link take you a powerful journey.  The timing and opportunties  couldn't be greater than they are now.

Download Formatted Copy of Dr. Feinberg's Biography.

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Interviews

Vizier Helps Top Execs Gain Perspective

Joyce M. Rosenberg
The Associated Press

When Mortimer Feinberg sits down to help a client figure out what's wrong with a business, he relies not just on the standardized tests that any industrial psychologist employs.

He draws answers from a life of experience and perspective and the the advice of people ranging from Socrates to Freud to his own parents. The words "industrial psychology" might turn off someone who knows little about the topic. Listening to Feinberg talk, the subject comes alive.

Feinberg, 72, acts as a consultant, counselor, wise man and by his own description, vizier to top managers of some of the country's biggest companies.  Clients bring a variety of problems to his office: disagreements with superiors or subordinates, marital difficulties, even problems problems with mistresses.

"They want to have somebody to just ventilate to," Feinberg said. 'They really can't talk to their people about their anxieties. ... You don't want to be showing tremendous weakness or indecision in front of your people."

"You want to be able to talk to somebody who is non-judgmental, who will listen you out, who has experience ? because if you just talk to yourself, you're going to get the same answers."

Sometimes, a client has been fired.

Feinberg's advice: "You've not lost a spouse, you've not lost a child, you've not lost a mother, you have lost a job. Recognize that you've got to put it in perspective. Recognize what are your strengths and weaknesses."

Feinberg is the author or co-author of six books and a former professor at New York's Bernard M. Baruch College. He has traveled the world in his work and earned the respect of executives.

"lie is a totally enjoyable person," said Richard Yuell, chief executive of the Rockefeller Group, a New York real-estate management firm. "He is a healer ... he is a confidant, he is totally trustworthy.

"As a result of using him, we have had enormous success in attracting, retaining, and keeping some of the best management we could possibly have."

Dennis Botorff, chairman of First American Corp., a Nashville-based bank-holding company, said, "He has studied the leadership styles from a wide range of people, CEOs and political figures, and has just got a tremendous amount of wisdom. ... He's a great resource."

Early-Life shaping

A conversation with Feinberg is exactly what you'd expect from someone who has spent half a century studying behavior. He is introspective, examining his own motives, and knows that his early life helped shape him.

"I was raised in the Depression," Feinberg said.

His father worked as a salesman, and Feinberg remembers sitting on the stoop of his Bronx home, waiting for his father to come home and tell him whether he had made enough money so Feinberg and his brother could have 22 cents to go to the movies.

"I was a terribly anxious student," he said. "I knew that without an education I would have to worry whether I got paid on a commission basis.

He gravitated toward psychology, a field in which he could make a living -- "for me, being a professional was security, it was status."

Feinberg didn't want to become a psychotherapist. Business fascinated him, so he chose industrial psychology. He graduated from New York's City College in 1944, got his master's degree from Indiana University the following year and his doctorate from New York University in 1950.

Feinberg has learned from many people over the years, from his parents to great scholars and historical figures. He peppers his conversations with quotes borrowed from people such as President Franklin Roosevelt ("You have nothing to fear but fear itself') and his mother ("What you have in your head is what matters, not what you have in your pocket").

In his office, alongside the pictures of his wife, Gloria, tow sons and grandchildren, are bronze busts of public figures he admires, among them Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and Albert Schweitzer.

Grea speakers has also had an effect on Feinberg.  his mother, a Romanian immigrant, loved to hear people who could make English fun to listen to.  She took her son to hear speakers such as Adam Clayton Powell, who preached at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem.

When Feinberg joined Baruch in 1950, he had the chance to impress students with his own verbal style Feinberg worked the lecture hall the way a stand-up comic works a crowd.  He moved around the floor, microphone in hand, sprinkling lectures on cognitive dissonance or abnormal psychology with anecdotes and jokes.

When a student answered a question correctly, die professor tossed him or her sugarless candy as a reward.

"I loved teaching," he said.

Even when personal problems depressed him, "I went into that Psych 1 class, and I felt great. I felt I was doing something meaningful."

'I loved to advise*

When Feinberg started out, industrial psychology meant studying statistical data and IQ tests. Over the yeas, ' the field has changed, giving his job, more depth and meaning. '

"I loved to advise, I loved to present options, I loved to think of things the CEO didn't think of," he ' said. "I loved to be his vizier, like Joseph was to the pharaoh." 

Feinberg's company, BFS Psychological Associates Inc., evaluates clients with tests, seeking to determine their strong points. He helps job seekers with resumes and networking and gives them a sense of direction. He helps those who have been fired see "what they did to contribute to their downfall."

Feinberg retired from Baruch in 1980, but has not slowed down. The walls and shelves of his office are filled with photos from Egypt, India, Ireland and other places where he has given speeches and attended conferences. Besides his books, he's written many articles, including contributions to The Wall Street Journal column ? Manager's Journal.

His most recent book is "Why Smart People Do Dumb Things,"  written with John J. Tarrant.  It looks at prominent people - Including Richard Nixon, Leona Helmsley, and one-time presidential candidate Gary  Hart ? who did themselves in because of blindness or hubris. The book offers advice for people hoping to avoid those kinds of traps.

Although the business world has changed radically in recent years, Feinberg doesn't sec these times, even with continuing corporate restructurings, as being more traumatic than in the past.

"I've been through enough cycles to know the world and the world economy is a circular stair, you go down, you go up."

Still, he acknowledges, "We are in a difficult time now."

'The world of downsizing is terrible," he said. "We're going to run out of talent, because you don't have bench to train people in.

"There's nobody to follow up, to have learned."

Critics have said for a long time that golf is a crazy game and golfers crazy people but it took the Metropolitan PGA, if only by inference, to make it semi-official.

What the Met PGA did was Invite a psychologist as one of the speakers at its annual Education Forum-Luncheon at the Westchester CC yesterday. (Hmmmmm, what do they mean by that?).
And what Mortimer R.

Feinberg, Ph.D., professor in industrial psychology at Baruch College (CUNY), consultant and high-handicap golfer, told the pros in effect was that they aren't alone?the whole world is crazy.

Relating this to golf, to the pro himself, the practice tee, the pro shop and lntra-club relations isn't difficult for a professor. In fact, it's great fun.


"Golf has been caught up, like everything else, in the tremendous value shift In American life," Dr. Feinberg said, beaming.


"This has thrown the pro into a terrible value struggle, basically because he is trying to fill three incompatible roles?merchandiser, teacher and golfer.

The professor offered a seven-point formula for maintaining sanity when the skies seem to be falling down, a sort of survival kit for club pros.

"First," he said, "a pro has to be sensitive to individual differences, not only in his club members but in the people who work for him.

"Two, motivation. He has to be able to Inspire his pupils and subordinates. That's like being the captain of the Titanic and convincing the passengers you merely stopped to pick up ice.

"Three, planning time. Time is the most critical thing he's got, the difference between the pro and the amateur. If you don't control time, it eats you up."

Then, Dr. Feinberg pointed out, there's the issue of learning. "The pro should be leading more," he said, before going on to point No. 5, the organization of human resources.

"Pay your young people more money now and less fringe benefits," he advised.  "When they get to be 40, then they'll go for the fringe benefits."

No. 6 deals with what the professor calls emotional defenses.

"It deals with what Irritates people, what gives them anxieties," he said. "All of us build up defenses against certain realities.

"Most members are successes in business or the professions who come to the club to get away from it all and to be surrounded
by warmth.

"Now maybe you, the pro, don't like some of them and right away you've got a role conflict."

The final point Is the evaluation of self and others.

"In criticizing others," Dr. Feinberg warned, '"never use the sandwich technique. That is, two pieces of praise wrapped around a dig.
"And never criticize your staff at night. Don't send them home unhappy so they can tell the wife what you said and she can say you
were right."

More important, the professor went on is self-criticism.

"How do you think your membership sees you?" he asked. "There's quite a gap between self-image and the image others have of you."

The purpose of all the above is to assist the poor, bedeviled club pro in coping.  "When you don't cope," he said, "then your head comes apart. You get increased disorganization, then regressions (like bursting Into baby tears) and a break down of orderly thought processes.

"Finally, of course," the professor said, twinkling, "there's suicide."

The audience leaped up and gave him a standing ovation. The good doctor had found the ultimate solution

One of the world's leading authorities on business psychology, Dr. Mortimer Feinberg is professor Emeritus of the City University of New York, and a lecturer at Rutgers University, the American Management Association, and the Young Presidents' Association.  As a top business expert, he has contributed more tha 100 articles to such publications as the The Wall Street Journal, has interviewed the last four American presidents, and is a frequent guest on US radio and television.

"If you don't wake up, Britain will become a museum."  That was the parting shot from world famous speaker, Dr. Mortimer Feinberg, who addressed a packed house of local business people at the Building Winning Businesses seminar run SOLOTEC, the South London Training and Enterprise Council, on 26 January.

In a highly entertaining presentation, laced with anecdotes, business psychologist, consultant, and author, Dr Feinberg kept his audience enthralled as he punched home a series of though-provoking messages for British business.  "You Brits," he said, "never stand up and demand anything - you are always too courteous.  If you can demand more, get flexibility and desire, the link it to you undoubted strengths, as intelligent, creative people, you will be able to achieve anything."

Moving on from ways of thinking, New York-based Dr. Feinberg considered the characteristics of the managers of the future.  "in order to have winning teams," he said, "you need to have a vision - a strategic statement that creates clarity, consensus, and commitment.  You need to be customer driven too, for without the customer, you have nothing.

Quality, technology, distribution, and other factors were also discussed, but the most important factor in business, stressed Dr. Feinberg, is your people.  "And," he pointed out. "the UK's investors in People Standard is the ideal vehicle for training, developing, and empowering them.


Speaking immediately after the event, John Howell said "initial feedback is most encouraging.  Everyone is talking about Dr. Feinberg's views on what makes a difference for a successful business, the characteristics of winners and losers, and the importance of training and developing one's people.  As a result, I am sure that we will see even more local organizations taking the route to success through investors in people."

A top American business analyst  visiting the Midlands yesterday said British industry will be great again -- around year 2015.

Dr Mort Feinberg, an expert on business psychology, was in the Midlands at the invitation of Sandwell Training & they were to Enterprise Council to deliver a "clarion call" for the Investors in People week.

He believed that Britain's long-term prospects were excellent - and would improve when the present generation "died off."

The US academic said Britain would eventually regain its high position in the world economy, but this would take a couple of decades.

"I think that Britain has started to wake up. If you look at what makes countries great, Britain has the elements in place.  The cost of capital is becoming low and is being spread around like fertilizer -- when it accumulates in one spot it begins to smell.

The idea that German and Japan are images of the future is false.  German is suffering because of the weight of keeping its welfare system going; the Japanese can't run anything abroad outside of manufacturing; and the Italians change their governments so often that any policies are stillborn.

Dr. Feinberg said, however, the British still had to develop a different culture if they were to succeed.  The British were too polite and willing to accept poor service without complaint.

Guru calls in our Camelot
Business Focus Section - News & Star

Meet the Man Who Tells the Bosses What to Do!

by John Stimpson

A grey-haired wise man from New York cam to Cumbria this week to teach our top executives how "not to do dumb things."

The dumb things to avoid include attacks of hubris syndrome that lead some executives to push their luck.

It was only Dr. Mortimer Feinberg's second visit to Cumbria which he likens to Camelot.

Hi CV includes having worked with four US Presidents.

An organizational psychologist, Dr. Feinberg's view of the old divide between British and American boardrooms is naturally an American one.

He said: "There used to be a divide, but I think it is narrowing now.  The United States executives were much more insecure and much more willing to change."

"I think that the British chief executive lives in the past have been somewhat insular and they've somewhat had silo in which they think 'We know all the answer, we've been around longer than you provincials and therefore we are better."  And I think we bought that argument in America.

"I think the United States has always had a feeling of insecurity and inferiority according to you Brits and the Brits have encouraged them in that."

So why are some British firms in areas like Cumbria now seeking to be more like American ones?

Dr. Feinberg said: "I think in reality you were falling way behind, you were falling way behind economically and I think that reality is what finally woke the Brits up."

"The Brits are much bolder and more effective and competitive than they were when I started this series of lectures seven years ago."

"There's been a big exchange in my recent visits for being the one who said:  England's got to wake up."

He said there should be a ceiling and there should be a floor, but the ceiling should be further away from the floor."

One of the themes of his lectures to a dozen managers at Colony Candles and then around 50 senior managers at Forum 20 this week was "Why Smart People Do Dumb Things, the name of his latest book.  So why do they?

Dr. Feinberg said: "The stretch the envelope because they can't possibly accept the idea that life is just boring for them."

His advice to entrepreneurs in attendance includes: "They need to understand this after they've started the company and they need a partner with other kinds of talent."

And he says, every executive can benefit from the exchange with an advisor with whom the executive can seek counsel with and weigh options with from time to time.

Famous folk are among those who have considered his management skills.

"I was very impressed with Nixon even though I didn't admire him.  The problem with Nixon was he was paranoid."

"I most admired Reagan but for different reasons.  I admired Reagan's ability to take complex issus and simplify them."

"Kennedy had a great sense of humor."

Dr. Feinberg's visit was subsidized by CCW Ltd, the new American-owned candle firm which opened in Barrow and by Colony Gift Corporation.

Peter Taylor, manager of the American owned Kimberly-Clark paper mill who attended Dr. Feinberg's Forum 20 presentation said: "I enjoyed it for lots of reasons.  I think he is good and has certainly gained a lot of experience and has a really good way of sharing it. There were some Americanisms obviously, but he had done a lot research on the UK."

"People from different businesses had a chance to meet and share different experiences, something which isn't done much in this area."

"We are all very grateful in CCW who financed it."

Mr. Taylor said he believed the firms which enjoyed the master class should now consider arranging a couple of such events a year.

Colony boss Alan Williams said: "The fact that everyone was so keen to hear Mort talk is an indication of how much have changed.

Despite Dr. Feinberg's talk, there are cultural divides even he can't jump.

For instance, of South Cumbria he said: "It's just a mystical place, it's a kinda magical place with places like Windemere and Crosmere.   You wake up each morning and expect a leprechaun to greet you."

Snippets from articles that reported on Dr. Feinberg's visit to England in 1994.


A good nights sleep and lot of laughter are among the keys to success for East Lancashire managers, according to business guru.

Professor Mortimer Feinberg spoke to more than 200 bosses during his trip to the area.

He began his visit with a workshop for 12 women managers follow by a dinner a the Dunkenhaigh Hotel, Clayton-la-Moors.

"in order to be successful these days you need desire for achievement, pure animal energy, readiness to make decisions, resistance to stress, emotional stamina, pride and the capacity to resolve differences," said the American consultant and author.  

"Managers have to be able to communicate in all situations and control their anger."

"The also have to get a good night's sleep and plenty of laughter.


Professor Feinberg flew to East Lancashire for events held to coincide with Investors in People week.  At th XTEND program he gave a dinner talk about how to use psychology to help change the way organizations work.

And Prof. Feinberg said that with the unprecedented expansion of the Internet, information had never been more important.

He stressed the key is to a successful enterprise was th capacity to re-use, unscramble, store, and transmit information.  To do that education was vital, not just for the staff but for the managers also.


At another meeting he stated:

"You need more elbows and less 'after you old chap'," says New York-based Dr. Feinberg, one of the leading specialists on business psychology.

And he told business leaders at the Stockport and High Peak Tec Enterprise Awards that restlessness is the key to success.

"What is wrong with England, and perhaps more so in the north west, is that there is an air of civility, and less desire for restlessness," Dr. Feinberg claims.

"Everybody just accepts what occurs.  Restlessness is necessary in a world fo competition."

Dr. Feinberg says we need to be more aware of our failings: "you English accept no choices. In the US everyone wants to choose from 300 different brands of sneakers when they buy a pair."

But he also argues that what is wrong with England could also be its savior:  "The civility and trustworthiness of the British is critical at the moment, when everyone is falling ... [clipped].

Wise Man to America's Top Executives


Industrial psychologist Mortimer R. Feinberg applies life's lessons, quotes from the famous and not so famous in counseling managers.


Joyce M. Rosenberg
Associated Press

June 23, 1995

NEW YORK: When Mortimer R. Feinberg sits down to help a client figure out what's wrong with a business, he relies not just on the standardized tests that any industrial psychologist employs. He draws answers from a life of experience and perspective and the advice of people ranging from Socrates to Freud to his own parents.

The words "industrial psychology" might turn off someone who knows little about the topic. Listening to Feinberg talk, the subject comes alive.

Feinberg, 72, acts as a consultant, counselor, wise man and by, his own description, vizier to top managers of some of the country's biggest companies. Clients bring a variety of problems to his office: disagreements with superiors or subordinates, marital difficulties, even problems with mistresses.

"They want to have somebody to just ventilate to," he said. "They really can't talk to their people about their anxieties. . . . You don't want to be showing tremendous weakness or indecision in front of your people.

"You want to be able to talk to somebody who is non-judgmental, who will listen you out, who has experience--because if you just talk to yourself, you're going to get the same answers."

Sometimes a client has been fired. His advice: "You've not lost a spouse, you've not lost a child, you've not lost a mother, you have lost a job. Recognize that you've got to put it in perspective. Recognize what are your strengths and weaknesses."

Feinberg is the author or co-author of six books and a former professor at New York's Bernard M. Baruch College. He has traveled the world in his work and earned the respect of executives.

"He is a totally enjoyable person," said Richard Voell, chief executive of the Rockefeller Group, the New York real estate management firm. "He is a healer . . . he is a confidant, he is totally trustworthy."

"As a result of using him, we have had enormous success in attracting, retaining and keeping some of the best management we could possibly have," Voell said.

Dennis Botoroff, chairman of First American Corp., the Nashville-based bank holding company, said, "He has studied leadership styles from a wide range of people, CEOs and political figures, and has just got a tremendous amount of wisdom. . . . He's a great resource."

A conversation with Feinberg is exactly what you'd expect from someone who has spent half a century studying behavior. He is introspective, examining his own motives, and knows that his early life helped shape him.

"I was raised in the Depression," Feinberg begins. His father worked as a salesman, and Feinberg remembers sitting on the stoop of his Bronx home, waiting for his father to come home and tell him whether he had made enough money so Feinberg and his brother could have 22 cents to go to the movies.

"I was a terribly anxious student," he said. "I knew that without an education I would have to be a salesman like my father and I would have to worry whether I got paid on a commission basis."

He gravitated toward psychology, a field in which he could make a living--"for me, being a professional was security, it was status."
Feinberg didn't want to become a psychotherapist. Business fascinated him, so he chose industrial psychology. He graduated from New York's City College in 1944, got his master's from Indiana University the next year and his doctorate from New York University in 1950.

Feinberg has learned from many people over the years, from his parents to great scholars and historical figures. He peppers his conversations with quotes borrowed from people like Franklin Roosevelt ("You have nothing to fear but fear itself") and his mother ("What you have in your head is what matters, not what you have in your pocket").

In his office, alongside the pictures of his wife, Gloria, two sons and grandchildren, there are bronze busts of public figures he admires, among them Lincoln, Churchill and Albert Schweitzer.

Great speakers also had an effect on Feinberg. His mother, a Romanian immigrant, loved to hear people who could make English fun to listen to. She took her son to hear speakers like Adam Clayton Powell, who preached at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem.

When Feinberg joined Baruch in 1950, he had the chance to impress students with his own verbal style. Feinberg worked the lecture hall the way a stand-up comic works a crowd. He moved around the floor, microphone in hand, sprinkling lectures on cognitive dissonance or abnormal psychology with anecdotes and jokes. When a student answered a question correctly, the professor tossed him or her sugarless candy as a reward.

"I loved teaching," he said. Even when personal problems depressed him, "I went into that Psych 1 class, and I felt great. I felt I was doing something meaningful."

When Feinberg started out, industrial psychology meant studying statistical data and IQ tests. Over the years, the field has changed along with the entire business world, giving his job more depth and meaning.

"I loved to advise, I loved to present options, I loved to think of things the CEO didn't think of. I loved to be his vizier, like Joseph was to the Pharaoh," he said.

Feinberg's company, BFS Psychological Associates Inc., evaluates clients with tests, seeking to determine their strong points. He helps job-seekers with resumes and networking and gives them a sense of direction.

He helps those who have been fired see "what they did to contribute to their downfall."

Feinberg retired from Baruch in 1980, but has not slowed down. The walls and shelves of his office are filled with photos from Egypt, India, Ireland and other places where Feinberg has given speeches and attended conferences. Besides his books, he's written many articles, including contributions to The Wall Street Journal column Manager's Journal.

His most recent book is "Why Smart People Do Dumb Things," written with John J. Tarrant. It looks at prominent people--including Richard Nixon, Leona Helmsley and onetime presidential candidate Gary Hart--who did themselves in because of blindness or hubris. The book offers advice to people hoping to avoid those kinds of traps.

Setting Aside the Time for Intellectual Growth
Bank Executives in Tennessee huddle ruglarly to discuss a variety of books

Leonard Sloane :: The Executive Life
New York Times
March 5, 1995

The eight most senior executives of the First American Corporation, a bank holding company based here, sit in a circle engaged in earnest discussion. Sometimes a voice is raised (o emphasize a point, but the discussion generally continues in easy Southern tones during I he Iwo-hour gabfest and the three-hour dinner that follows.

Unlike the many other occasions when these executives gather formally or informally, however, this meeting is not about their business. Instead, it is a hook club, Where they analyze a variety of works that may help them do a better job but also go much farther, indeed, the books are selected with the objective of stimulating intensive thought and conceptual awareness among the participants, all of whom are also executives of the corporation's subsidiary, the First American National Hank; a $7.3 billion bank with 142 branches in Tennessee and Kentucky.

This meeting is devoted to the lessons that can he learned from "Why Smart People Do Dumb Things" (Fireside), a new book by Mortimer K. Feinberg and John Tarrant. Previous sessions dealt with a book on management by Peter P. Drucker, another about the General Electric Company and a third concerning the uses and misuses of power.

"This forces people to think about things they wouldn't normally give analysis to," said Dennis C. Bottorff, the chairman and chief executive of First American, who started the group about a year ago. "We focus on subjects of common interest and have a dialog that we would not normally have in a day-to-day business environment.

Working with Mr. Bottorff to develop the book-club idea was Dr. Feinberg, chairman of BFS Psychological Associates, a New York firm that advises executives on personnel matters, lie acted as moderator for last;month's discussion of his book, just as he did for the three books covered by the group in 1994, with responsibility for keeping the discussion on track.

"You can't capture trends if you don't know what's happening outside your little world," Dr. Feinberg said. "We thought 'What about having an intellectual experience, rather than a physical experience, lo help our executives bond together? Mow about Inward Bound instead of Outward Bound?*"

Outward Bound is a well-known outdoor education organization that teaches team-building and leadership skills. Many companies participate in such programs, through which their executives withdraw into the wilderness and return with a better under standing of each other's strengths and weaknesses. The First American program, in which executives read books that they may never have read otherwise, brings the I cam work concept indoors and substitutes a broadening of intellectual horizons for physical activity.

Moreover the free flow of opinions stemming from a provocative book entails a different type of risk-taking Hum that of descending a mountain cliff or living the outdoors with co-workers. Al these discussions in middle Tennessee, executives are forced to develop enough confidence to criticize, however politely, each other ? or even their chief executive.

For example, a number or the participants at the most recent session, held at the Belle Meade Country Club lo avoid intra-office disruptions, were intrigued by the portion of Dr. Feinberg's book dealing with how business meetings are sometimes conducted. Within minutes, they mentioned their disapproval of the heavy agendas al First American's management committee meetings and a lack of time al them to discuss some important mailers in detail. Mr. Bottorff listened intently and gave an understanding smile.

The executive book club has its lighter aspects, too. Members joke about completing their reading the night before they meet, staying up until 2 A.M. if necessary. "It's an assignment and you know you have lo gel the book read," said Dale W. Policy, vice chairman of the corporation. "You find time lo make it happen."

Mr. Bottorff and Dr. Feinberg had expected that the club would receive a favorable response from participants in top management and that a greater camaraderie might result. What they did not anticipate was the enthusiasm of certain members, who start ed splinter groups among their own subordinates to discuss the same books.

Richard Meacham, a senior vice president, attended a splinter-group session composed of information technology executives. "The first reaction among some people was, I have a hundred other things lo do," " he said. "But at the end, we came lo know the people we were with in a different way. We voted lo do another one in six months."

Another splinter group, for operations executives, also held a productive session away from the office earlier this year.

"The fear is of having a dead silence," said Leroy P. Massengill, an executive vice president and a member of that group. "But there was no feeling of hesitancy and the group really carried itself. The setting and approach were such that there were no levels of hierarchy in the room."

First American intends to hold three more executive book-club sessions in 1995. "About half of the people In senior management came from outside in the last several years," Mr. Bottorff said. "I won't be satisfied until we operate as a fully integrated team. A person can get wiser faster by listening lo other people." 

DAYENU (Happy with Enough)

Interview by Malcolm Elvey for MMOOKS.com Project [2009]

Dayenu is a song, a poem that is part of the Passover Haggada, recited at the Seder.  The word "dayenu" is Hebrew for "it is enough for us" or "we would have been satisfied."  The song lists the miracles that God performed for the Jewish people, and the gifts bestowed upon them during the time of the Exodus from Egypt.  After each item, we say "dayenu".  It is a term I associate with my dear friend Mortimer Feinberg, whom I first met when he was visiting Johannesburg, South Africa in 1973.  He was influential in my family's personal exodus, our decision to emigrate from that country two years later.  Mortimer's life choices are defined by "dayenu", he is more than happy ? with enough.

As a world-renowned management psychologist, Dr Mortimer Feinberg is a confidant and consultant to CEOs of numerous Fortune 500 companies and leaders in government and institutions throughout the world.  Dr. Feinberg has been analyzing the characteristics of extraordinarily effective leaders for over fifty years.  He is the author of several best-selling books, including 'Why Smart People Do Dumb Things'.   He is frequently published in professional journals, and is a sought-after speaker, conference leader, and university lecturer.  Dr. Feinberg is Professor Emeritus of Baruch College, City University of New York.


Dr. Feinberg jokes that his mother put an advertisement in the newspaper on the occasion of his birth in 1922, proclaiming: "Max and Freida Feinberg are delighted to announce the birth of their son, Dr. Mortimer Feinberg".  Years later, Mortimer Feinberg whose future was so proudly proclaimed by his mother, reflects on the impact of his family as well as on the social and environmental circumstances that were to shape the man he is today. 

In a 1993 article on management techniques, Dr. Mortimer Feinberg wrote, "My generation was weaned on fear."  While he stops short of self-analysis in that article, it is clear that Feinberg is a product of his generation, one that grew up in the throes of the Great Depression.  When he and I sat down to explore the decisions that most shaped his life experience, three themes emerged:

  • Childhood experiences mold the person one becomes.
  • Balance, focus, and passion are key drivers to success.
  • The challenge is to find a way to be oneself and be unafraid.

"So what are the things that make a difference to the kind man I am?" Feinberg reflects, "I think a lot of it is childhood experiences that mold you."  Recalling how his specific circumstances informed his world view, Feinberg explains, "For me, if I were born with a different mother and in a different economic situation, not born in the Depression," he adds, it is clear that: "the environment, and the way we responded to events -- did not consciously make me make decisions, but certainly influenced the choices I made".  

"I still remember," Feinberg recalls, "as if it were yesterday, growing up in the Depression of 1929. I was seven years old.  I overhead my father and his brother discussing a precarious economic situation that my father found himself in.  He had been trading stocks on margin.  In this instance he needed to cover his margin costs on Costa Radio, and I remember my uncle warning him that if he did not cover his margin call, he would lose the stock and his investment.  

"1926. The market had crashed, unemployment was high, most families we knew had their assets wiped out.  My father told my uncle he did not have the money.  'Well, does Frieda (my mother) have an account'" asked my uncle.  "Yes," replied my father. "She has $10,000 she's saving for the children's education."  My father and uncle plotted, forged my mother's signature, and withdrew the $7,000 to cover the margin call.  They lost.  When my mother found out, her hair turned white in one hour.  

"That was the last decision my father ever made on his own, and one that had a profound impact on me, even now some seventy years on:  the almost instant loss of our family's economic security, and what felt like my future.  As a result, I found myself at a very young age making life choices that, for me, minimized economic anxiety.  My path took me to academics, where as a tenured professor, I had control over my professional and economic situation.  As a tenured professor I realized a career and income that was stable and secure with some degree of status -- qualities that are very important for me." 

There is another childhood memory that Feinberg recalls fondly:  "My mother loved people who could make good speeches.  So she would take me to the Abyssinian Baptist Church, to Catholic churches, to synagogues.  Wherever there was a good speaker, my mother and I were in the audience.""  Her admiration for the spoken word, and her desire to ensure her son was exposed to a variety of influences, was a profound experience for Feinberg who in later years achieved renown as a sought-after public speaker and professor.  "When giving speeches I still have anxiety," he admits, "I get butterflies because I don't want to disappoint my audience."   

As a successful professor and consultant to CEOs, Feinberg moves beyond his fears by tapping into the passion he discovered in the pastors of his youth.  Ministering to a different kind of audience, he finds fulfillment shaping captains of industry and leaders of institutions.  

The success he achieves today is a direct result of the qualities he understood to have value as a child.  Starting with a desire to secure economic stability, which led to a prestigious position where he could exercise his intellectual curiosity, genuine love of people and desire to help others.  

Later, I asked Feinberg if he ever considered any other career or path.  "No," he answered, "I could never take economic risks. That was just not possible for me.  I regret, sometimes, not building up a bigger empire. But in the final analysis, as long as I have enough for food and shelter and for security, it doesn't really bother me that I have less money than others. I have enough, and I'm a happier man.  I don't regret what I could have been.  What I have strived for in my life was captured beautifully by Marilyn Monroe when she said that the challenge is to 'be oneself and to be unafraid'."

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