Lessons for Advisors (and Life) From Emery Kertesz (Part Four)

Emery Kertesz III. June 10, 1956-January 29, 2021

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This is the fourth part in a series about my late partner, Emery Kertesz. He was a remarkable person, partner, leader and friend. Although he had no formal training in management, he could have run any Fortune 500 company or advisory firm and achieved the same remarkable results he earned for our audio companies over a 20-year span.

In this series of articles, I’ve summarized his management principles. They have broad applicability.


Emery never forgot his hardscrabble roots. Long after he could afford more, he drove a beat-up pick-up truck.

He eschewed the trappings of wealth and power. Our offices were modest. He continued to watch every item of expense, telling me, “It’s not the big expenses that will do you in. It’s the aggregation of small ones.”

As our sales increased from hundreds to thousands to millions, his vigilance never wavered. At the end of his life, he could still tell me how much pencils cost.

Our success didn’t impact his approach to business. He slugged it out every day with meticulous attention to detail. He took nothing for granted.

He could conduct himself in this disciplined, unwavering way because he was humble. He had no need for power or prestige. When he traveled to trade conferences and met with competitors and vendors, he would often say nothing in meetings.

He didn’t solicit praise or recognition. He just listened...and learned. When he returned to the office, he sorted out the ideas bandied about and implemented the good ones.

He made no effort to be the most interesting person in the room.

He was the most interested.