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Thursday, April 20, 2006


Bill Swanson of Raytheon is a Plagiarist, Part II

Whoops! Looks like the problem runs deeper than I thought.

This incident is not a one-time slip-up on the part of USA Today's fact-checking department -- it's part of a larger effort to publicize the book that Bill Swanson just published: "Swanson's Unwritten Rules of Management." Raytheon's link to order this book is located HERE.

In an earlier promotional interview with Swanson (also published by USA Today), Swanson claims to have created the list of 33 rules himself after working at Raytheon for 33 years.

But perhaps Swanson knows that he shouldn't take the next step and try to SELL his pamphlet to a publisher. Listen in on this interchange:

Q: Publishers have called. Why don't you sell it?

A: We're evalulating that. I've got a full-time job, but my passion is education, so we would have to figure a way to get the proceeds to education, math, and science.


Still, chartible fund-raising intents aside, a man -- particularly the leader of a major US defense contractor -- should not be passing off others' ideas as his own in order to catapult his career to stardom.

Swanson needs to add a 34th rule to his list: Give credit where credit is due.


posted 4:10 PM


Anonymous Anonymous

Hot Carl! What's the word on the hitrate thus far?

And which is that blog that is pointing people to yours? I'd like to see the reaction there...


posted 9:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous has him listed.

posted 9:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous

thanks for the name...

posted 10:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous

Oh... and I just heard back from Raytheon's General Counsel that they're "reviewing [my] concerns" and will respond after they have "completed that review." He did, however, request the provision of "any additional information which would assist in [their] review."

Anyone have links to scans of the original book to send along? Anyone know contact information for ASME honchos or Mssrs King or Skakoon (the original authors)?

posted 11:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous

I tried googling for King with UCLA as keyword, but only came up with a newsletter from 1962...

posted 11:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous

Oh yeah, having published originally in 1944, it is possible that WJ King is no longer among us...

So Skakoon might be the appropriate direction.

posted 11:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous

True. He is:

posted 11:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous

I can't believe I'm enjoying this so much! Thanks Carl, for providing me this much fun! Notification now went to ASME Press and Mr. Skakoon. Heh.

posted 11:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous

Phew... looks like talking with the Raytheon GC paid off.

God I love the internet.

Great job, Carl, for identifying this issue!

posted 7:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous

That spokesperson for Raytheon, Wickham sounds like an idiot

posted 2:00 PM

Blogger Bobin

Hey Carl, great work here!!

He did come up with a #34 after all..

"This experience has taught me a valuable lesson – new Rule #34: 'Regarding the truisms of human behavior, there are no original rules.'"

posted 8:50 AM

Anonymous Nicanor


After my comment on your first post about this two IP's from the Raytheon company visited my site. I am glad the original author has received credit. I also checked the USA Today the day of your letter and each day since, but I have not seen the letter in print.

For writers everywhere, keep up the good work.


posted 6:45 AM

Anonymous Anonymous

I am a Raytheon engineer and I'm curious as to how all this is going to pan out. I'm concerned that this might be cause for him to step down as the company leader. Although this is a serious infraction, no one can deny that this man has turned our company around and headed us in a positive direction. I would personally be satisfied with hearing a sincere public apology, and credit given to the original author. Also, I think it would be appropriate for any proceeds to be given to the original publisher and author's kin. I'm sure that many will disagree with me on this because there is blood in the water and as one of your anonymous blogger's wrote: "I can't believe I'm enjoying this so much! Thanks Carl, for providing me this much fun!" Doesn't that make you more sick to your stomach than the original plagarism? After reading that, I was reminded of how much some people take a sick enjoyment of bringing down others. Have your fun (anonymous blogger) and hope that if you ever make a serious mistake (or should I say get caught) that there won't be someone like yourself trying to crucify you for it.

Anyhow, every year we are required at Raytheon to have "ethics training" where we (in small groups of about 6) run through different scenarios and decide the ethical thing to do, given the situation. We then present our results to the other teams and are given feedback by the folks who like to stand up and be heard. The whole process always seems like a waste of time because it is always obvious what the ethical outcome should be; just as it is alway obvious to us when we cross an ethical boundary. The question is will you decide to cross it at that magic moment. It is this company push for our annual ethics training that leads me to believe that Mr. Swanson will be forced to step down from his position. This is unfortunate because I believe that he is well-liked by his employees. I'm not saying that this crime should go unpunished. It just makes me wonder what the extent of the punishment should be in a situation such as this.

posted 12:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous

Mr. Engineer:

*I* am the anonymous poster who is enjoying this. And I'm enjoying it because it's just one more shining example of the large amount of corporate hypocracy that exists in the US. Your example of annual ethics training (we have the same thing where I work) is worthless if even the CEO just gets a slap on the wrist for a violation. Do you think they would pause for ONE MILISECOND if you were the violator?

I'm enjoying this for THAT reason... not because I enjoy watching someone get crucified for a single mistake. And if this IS just a single mistake, then it's a very large one and should not go unpunished. However, he not only plagiarized, but also consistently LIED about where he got the rules. My favorite, perhaps, is where he tries to "explain" how some of the rules "just came to him" through his own life events.

You, as a Raytheon employee, deserve better. If Mr. Swanson is, as his behavior seems to suggest, more than just a one-time offendor, then what else has he lied about? What else has he taken credit for that he didn't do? Where is he guiding your company? And, as a large government contractor, why should *I*, as a taxpayer, fund his illegal acts - which may or may not be spilling over into Raytheon's acts?

All in all, this really isn't fun, it's sad. And I'm sorry if this is a good man who made a single bad mistake. It's a career killer. But that's not my fault.


posted 12:23 PM

Anonymous -James-

In regards to the “anonymous Raytheon engineer” No worries mate he won’t be fired…the incident is more equivalent to pie in the face and people will only laugh at him and show him less respect for the incident. On another topic, yes you are right, the most ethical solution to some situations is obvious, but you are very wrong to generalizing that it is always obvious. Most of the population doesn’t wake up one day and say “hey I think I’ll do something really unethical today.” It is far from obvious to them what the ethical thing to do is. There are many physiological and sociological factors that cause people to do unethical things. Most of the people who perform these acts are just like you and I. They were just put in a particular situation or situations which caused them to loose perspective and their “moral compas”. Lack of training in how to handle these grey situations leads to people making unethical decisions. It is not an inherent trait. It seems Raytheon needs to do some tuning in the ethics training area…you should address your concerns to the HR department. The training would be more helpful to you if it taught you how to “navigate the grey” areas of ethics. Like you said the current program only offers scenarios where the most ethical solution is obvious so you are learning nothing. You will appreciate the extra effort it if you ever find your self in a situation where you can’t tell up from down and need some guidance.

posted 12:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous

Thank you for exposing Bill Swanson's hypocracy to the entire world! I know of two travel consultants who used to book travel for Mr. Swanson; both were relieved of their duties at his behest. The first one was removed because a front desk clerk @ the hotel Bill was staying at failed to recognize that Mr. Swanson was a VERY IMPORTANT PERSON. The second agent was removed because MRS. Swanson was given a Buick Lesabre instead of a Lincoln Town Car for a personal reservation. So much for treating others with respect, Bill. Instant karma's gonna get you, Bill!

posted 11:19 AM

Anonymous Anonymous

I like today's comment from the
spokeswoman:not Bill's fault it was somebody else who put the book together.Talk about passing the book... I mean buck. Another dumb PR flub.

posted 12:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous

I know what you mean. The USA article from December has Bill peacocking about is rules. Then the SHTF. Yes its"on track" with the 1944 book but it was derived from experiences. Now all of a sudden Bil did not write it. C'mon folks so you think we are stupid!

posted 3:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous

Two days ago, Raytheon stopped shipping the book:

Yesterday's USAToday reported that Bill's not getting a raise this year and is getting a 20% cut fro new stock options this year... all as a result of this book "issue". :)

Again, I love this, but now because I can't believe the Board still has "full confidence" in him.

If you're a Raytheon shareholder, I'd bail out soon.

posted 7:08 AM

Anonymous Anonymous

Time Magazine is now reporting that some of the other aphorisms in the Swanson book were stolen from Donald Rumsfeld and Dave Barry.

Dude... this guy will NEVER learn. Which is why it's now even funnier still.

posted 9:41 AM

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