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Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?: Inside IBM's Historic Turnaround

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Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?: Inside IBM's Historic Turnaround Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In 1990, IBM had its most profitable year ever. By 1993, the computer industry had changed so rapidly the company was on its way to losing $16 billion and IBM was on a watch list for extinction — victimized by its own lumbering size, an insular corporate culture, and the PC era IBM had itself helped invent.

Then Lou Gerstner was brought in to run IBM. Almost everyone watching the rapid demise of this American icon presumed Gerstner had joined IBM to preside over its continued dissolution into a confederation of autonomous business units. This strategy, well underway when he arrived, would have effectively eliminated the corporation that had invented many of the industry's most important technologies.

Instead, Gerstner took hold of the company and demanded the managers work together to re-establish IBM's mission as a customer-focused provider of computing solutions. Moving ahead of his critics, Gerstner made the hold decision to keep the company together, slash prices on his core product to keep the company competitive, and almost defiantly announced, "The last thing IBM needs right now is a vision."

Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? tells the story of IBM's competitive and cultural transformation. In his own words, Gerstner offers a blow-by-blow account of his arrival at the company and his campaign to rebuild the leadership team and give the workforce a renewed sense of purpose. In the process, Gerstner defined a strategy for the computing giant and remade the ossified culture bred by the company's own success.

The first-hand story of an extraordinary turnaround, a unique case study in managing a crisis, and a thoughtful reflection on the computer industry and the principles of leadership, Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? sums up Lou Gerstner's historic business achievement. Taking readers deep into the world of IBM's CEO, Gerstner recounts the high-level meetings and explains the pressure-filled, no-turning-back decisions that had to be made. He also offers his hard-won conclusions about the essence of what makes a great company run.

In the history of modern business, many companies have gone from being industry leaders to the verge of extinction. Through the heroic efforts of a new management team, some of those companies have even succeeded in resuscitating themselves and living on in the shadow of their former stature. But only one company has been at the pinnacle of an industry, fallen to near collapse, and then, beyond anyone's expectations, returned to set the agenda. That company is IBM.

Lou Gerstener, Jr., served as chairman and chief executive officer of IBM from April 1993 to March 2002, when he retired as CEO. He remained chairman of the board through the end of 2002. Before joining IBM, Mr. Gerstner served for four years as chairman and CEO of RJR Nabisco, Inc. This was preceded by an eleven-year career at the American Express Company, where he was president of the parent company and chairman and CEO of its largest subsidiary. Prior to that, Mr. Gerstner was a director of the management consulting firm of McKinsey & Co., Inc. He received a bachelor's degree in engineering from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Review:

"The book leaves the reader thinking that a few more Gerstners around in the '90s might have prevented the bubble from swelling so large — and popping with such a bang." The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"For those who follow business stories like football games, [Gerstner's] tale of the rise, fall and rise of IBM might be the ultimate slow-motion replay....Gerstner writes most vividly about the company's culture....Gerstner's writing occasionally is myopic....Still, the book is a well-rendered self-portrait of a CEO who made spectacular change on the strength of personal leadership." Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Lou Gerstner, Jr., served as chairman and chief executive officer of IBM from April 1993 until March 2002, when he retired as CEO. He remained chairman of the board through the end of 2002. Before joining IBM, Mr. Gerstner served for four years as chairman and CEO of RJR Nabisco, Inc. This was preceded by an eleven-year career at the American Express Company, where he was president of the parent company and chairman and CEO of its largest subsidiary. Prior to that, Mr. Gerstner was a director of the management consulting firm of McKinsey & Co., Inc. He received a bachelor's degree in engineering from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780060523794
Subtitle:
Inside IBM's Historic Turnaround
Author:
Gerstner, Louis V.
Author:
Gerstner, Louis V., Jr.
Author:
by Louis V. Gerstner
Publisher:
HarperBusiness
Location:
New York
Subject:
Leadership
Subject:
Management
Subject:
Computer Science
Subject:
History
Subject:
Computer Industry
Subject:
Corporate turnarounds
Subject:
Electronic office machine industry
Subject:
Industries - Computer Industry
Subject:
Corporate & Business History - Strategies
Subject:
Management - General
Subject:
Electronic office machines industry
Subject:
Computer industry -- United States -- History.
Subject:
International business machines corporation
Subject:
Business Writing
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Series Volume:
1663
Publication Date:
November 12, 2002
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1.21 in 20 oz

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Related Subjects


Business » Business Profiles
Business » General
Business » History and Biographies
Business » Human Resource Management
Business » Management
Business » Writing

Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?: Inside IBM's Historic Turnaround Used Hardcover
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$1.48 In Stock
Product details 384 pages HarperBusiness - English 9780060523794 Reviews:
"Review" by , "The book leaves the reader thinking that a few more Gerstners around in the '90s might have prevented the bubble from swelling so large — and popping with such a bang."
"Review" by , "For those who follow business stories like football games, [Gerstner's] tale of the rise, fall and rise of IBM might be the ultimate slow-motion replay....Gerstner writes most vividly about the company's culture....Gerstner's writing occasionally is myopic....Still, the book is a well-rendered self-portrait of a CEO who made spectacular change on the strength of personal leadership."
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