William Thorndike: Turning Tides with Tenacious Tactics

William Thorndike: Turning Tides with Tenacious Tactics

By Charles Joseph | Editor, Financial Affairs
Reviewed by Corey Michael | Senior Financial Analyst

William Thorndike is an esteemed author and businessperson. Known for his book, “The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success,” he shares his insight into the effective leadership styles of various well-known CEOs. He’s also the founder and managing director of Housatonic Partners, a private equity firm. With degrees from both Harvard College and Stanford Graduate School of Business, he’s widely respected for his understanding and knowledge of the business world.

1. William Thorndike’s Educational Background

William Thorndike has an impressive educational background that has contributed significantly to his successful career. He started with a Bachelor’s degree from Harvard College, known globally for its rigorous curriculum and emphasis on critical thinking.

After Harvard, he decided to further expand his knowledge in the field of business. He obtained his MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. Stanford is renowned for its intensive MBA program that not only fosters leadership skills but also encourages innovative and entrepreneurial thinking. This rich academic foundation has shaped Thorndike’s business acumen and distinguished him as a leader in his field.

2. His Career Highlights and Achievements

After completing his MBA, William Thorndike embarked on a successful professional journey. He laid the foundation of a private equity firm called Housatonic Partners. Based in Boston and San Francisco, the organization partners with companies across a wide array of sectors, aiming to build and sustain long-term growth.

Thorndike’s role as a managing director sees him contribute greatly to investment decision-making and strategic planning. His thorough understanding of market dynamics, coupled with his knack for identifying potential investment opportunities, has helped him steer the company towards exponential growth.

Beyond his role at Housatonic, Thorndike made a remarkable contribution to literature with his book “The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success.” The work received critical acclaim for its unique insights into the leadership styles and strategies of some of the business world’s most influential CEOs.

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3. Overview of the Book “The Outsiders” and its Influence

“The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success” is a masterwork penned by William Thorndike that has made a significant impact in the field of business literature. In this book, Thorndike delivers a captivating exploration of eight unique CEOs who made unorthodox decisions that led to outstanding success.

Each narrative within the book unveils how these unconventional CEOs operated and managed resources to provide superior returns for their shareholders. It serves as an insightful resource for executives, leaders, and students pursuing business studies.

The book has garnered positive reviews for its powerful insights and the ease with which Thorndike communicates complicated business strategies. It continues to be a go-to resource for many seeking to understand successful leadership and strategic decision-making in the world of business.


Overall, William Thorndike stands out as a remarkable figure in the world of business, both as an author and a successful executive., His vast experience, coupled with his high academic credentials and insightful literary contribution, have made a significant impact on the business and investment landscape. His story is an inspiration to many aspiring entrepreneurs and leaders around the globe.

Key Takeaways

  • William Thorndike is a highly accomplished businessperson and author with a strong educational background from Harvard College and Stanford Graduate School of Business.
  • His proficiency in investment and strategic planning has helped him manage successful ventures, including the private equity firm Housatonic Partners.
  • His book, “The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success,” provides in-depth insight into unique leadership strategies, offering valuable lessons for current and would-be business leaders.

Related Questions

1. What are some of the companies William Thorndike’s firm, Housatonic Partners, has invested in?

Housatonic Partners has invested in numerous businesses across various industries, from media and communications to business services and consumer products. The firm’s portfolio includes several successful companies, such as OASIS Group, Lincoln Peak, and Rapid Displays.

2. Can you name some of the unconventional CEOs profiled in Thorndike’s book “The Outsiders”?

Indeed, William Thorndike’s book “The Outsiders” provides a deep dive into the careers of several influential CEOs, such as Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway, Tom Murphy of Capital Cities, and Katharine Graham of The Washington Post, among others.

3. What was “The Outsiders” book’s main objective?

The primary goal of “The Outsiders” was to shed light on the unconventional methods and strategies employed by a group of uniquely successful CEOs. The book aims to provide a new perspective on what effective business leadership looks like and how it can deliver superior results.

4. Has William Thorndike written any other books?

As of now, “The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success” remains William Thorndike’s primary literary contribution. However, with his vast business experience and astute insights into leadership, any future publications would be eagerly awaited.

5. Apart from his business endeavors, what other roles does William Thorndike hold?

Alongside his role at Housatonic Partners, Thorndike also serves on several Boards of Directors. He is on the board of The Stanford Business School Trust, WGBH, College of the Atlantic, and a few others.