Business: If You Give Up, They Win

Like many fashionable Italians, Alessandro De Tomaso, owner of the Maserati car company, carries an elegant man's handbag dangling from a shoulder strap. But his bag is unusual in one respect. By slipping his hand through an open flap on the side, De Tomaso can quickly grab a .38 revolver that he keeps cradled inside. Says he: "It is just a normal hazard of business life in Italy today."

Nowhere in the world are such defensive tactics so pervasive—or extreme. Although American executives would be appalled by the kind of precautions that Italians must take, the Italians themselves shrug off personal danger...

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