Tom Peters

Chief Instigator, Tom Peters Company

Blinding Flashes of the Obvious

Autumn of 1985. It had been a grueling two days. A Manhattan seminar for “YPO,” the Young Presidents Organization. They cut me no slack, and demanded my full attention, almost [drop the “almost”] literally “24/7.” But it had gone well. Now it was coming to an end. And I wanted feedback.

One guy I’d had really intense—and I thought terrific—exchanges with was Manny Garcia. He was either the biggest, or one of the top five, Burger King franchisees—he more or less “owned” South Florida, with, as I recall, well over 100 shops. Manny put up his hand and I nodded in his direction. He began, “Well, Tom, two long days—and I didn’t learn one damn new thing.” Collectively people snapped to attention. As for me, call the ambulance and EMTs. Then he continued, “I learned nothing new, but it was pretty clearly the best seminar I’ve ever attended. It amounted to a blinding flash of the obvious.”


Manny continued, “This ‘excellence’ thing is not rocket science, it’s things we all know we should be doing. But somehow we get sidetracked. I am now determined I’m going home and putting on the front burner what in fact ought to be on the front burner.” Manny’s comments stuck. And stick to this day. No rocket science. “Obvious” “stuff” that gets lost somehow, somewhere, amidst the cacophony of daily affairs.

“Tsunami of change” notwithstanding, the message holds in 2018 as much or more than ever. In fact, I start my presentations today by saying, “I guarantee you will learn nothing new in the next [hour, day, whatever]. Mainly I’m here to remind you of the things your grandmother told you—thank people for a great effort, study your butts off, etc. The things you know are so, but which get lost in that madcap shuffle of daily brush fires.”

So here it comes, 50 years in the making, my “34 BFOs/Blinding Flashes of the Obvious.” The “stuff” I’m most passionate about.



Almost thirty years after launching a management revolution, business iconoclast Tom Peters remains an irreverent, forceful voice—inspiring people to change the face of business.

40 years/2,500+ speeches/50 states/67 countries/5,000,000 people/7,500 flights/5,000,000 miles/17 books plus numerous ebooks/10,000,000+++ copies sold/600 syndicated columns/250 miscellaneous articles/3,000 blogposts/75,000+ Tweets/150,000+ Twitter followers/55,400,000 Google hits.

“Tom Peters is the Red Bull of management thinkers.”
—Bo Burlingham, Inc. (2013)

“A human exclamation point who no longer needs his last name.”
—Nancy Austin on Tom Peters

“In Search of Excellence/UK’s Bloomsbury Publishing: ‘greatest business book of all time’”