Doing What Feels Right Despite the Evidence

1. Mergers and Acquisitions

CEOs love M&A — to goose the stock and display some vision. But studies show that mergers designed to create added value — Delta and Northwest are talking about being the first global airline — rarely do so and more often than not destroy value. This summer, Delta’s and Northwest’s stocks were both down more than 40% from last April’s merger announcement.

2. The New Indiana Jones Flick

Even the trailers for this summer’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull gave off the whiff that the fourth entry in the series would be lackluster. But that didn’t stop ticket buyers, who have helped Crystal Skull rack up more than $700 million in global box-office revenues.

3. Herbal Remedies

We buy dietary supplements even though there’s no FDA or FTC approval of their claims. Annual sales of Airborne’s cold-prevention tablets, for example, have topped $100 million. Last spring, Airborne announced that it settled a class-action lawsuit accusing it of misleading advertising. Despite being out $23.3 million, CEO Elise Donahue maintains, “Airborne helps support your immune system — just like it always has.”