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Jack: Straight from the Gutby Jack Welch
Synopses & Reviews
As CEO of General Electric for the past twenty years, he has built its market cap by more than $450 billion and established himself as the most admired business leader in the world. His championing of initiatives like Six Sigma quality, globalization, and e-business have helped define the modern corporation. At the same time, he's a gutsy boss who has forged a unique philosophy and an operating system that relies on a "boundaryless" sharing of ideas, an intense focus on people, and an informal, give-and-take style that makes bureaucracy the enemy.
In anecdotal detail and with self-effacing humor, Jack Welch gives us the people (most notably his Irish mother) who shaped his life and the big hits and the big misses that characterized his career.
Starting at GE in 1960 as an engineer earning $10,500, Jack learned the need for "getting out of the pile" when his first raise was the same as everyone else's. He stayed out of the corporate bureaucracy while running a $2 billion collection of GE businesses in a sweater and blue jeans out of a Hilton in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
After avoiding GE's Fairfield, Connecticut headquarters for years, Jack was eventually summoned by then Chairman Reg Jones, who was planning his succession. There ensued one of the most painful parts of his career Jack's dark-horse struggle, filled with political tension, to make it to the CEO's chair. A hug from Reg confirmed Jack was the new boss and started the GE transformation.
Welch walks us through the "Neutron Jack" years, when GE's employment rolls fell by more than 100,000 as part of a strategy to "fix, sell, or close" each business and how he used the purchase of RCA to provide a foundation for the company's future earnings. There were mistakes, too and Jack confronts them openly. In "Too Full of Myself," he describes one of the biggest blunders: the purchase of Kidder Peabody, which ran counter to GE's culture.
The riveting story of his last year the elaborate process of selecting a successor and the attempt to buy Honeywell is also told in compelling detail. This book is laced with refreshing interludes, such as "A Short Reflection on Golf," that capture Jack's competitiveness and the importance of friendship in his life. Destined to become a business classic, Jack: Straight from the Gut is a deeply personal journey filled with passion and a sheer lust for life.
"Jack is the Tiger Woods of management. All CEOs want to emulate him. They won't be able to, but they'll come closer if they listen carefully to what he has to say." Warren Buffett, Chairman, Berkshire Hathaway
"An American treasure, Jack Welch teaches us how a leader with keen intellect, guts, and honor can impart courage to people around him, weather unexpected storms, inspire performance, and take an organization to greater and greater heights. His formula challenges all of us and any institution striving for excellence." Bernadine Healy, M.D., President and CEO, American Red Cross
They called him Neutron Jack. They called him the world's toughest boss. And then Fortune called him "The Manager of the Century." In his twenty-year career at the helm of General Electric, Jack Welch defied conventional wisdom and turned an aging behemoth of a corporation into a lean, mean engine of growth and corporate innovation. In this remarkable autobiography-a classic business book and runaway New York Times bestseller now updated with a new afterword by the author-Jack Welch takes us on the rough-and-tumble ride that has been his remarkable life. From his working-class childhood to his early days in G.E. Plastics to his life at the top of the world's most successful company, Welch tells his intensely personal story with his well-known fire and candor. And although it chronicles billion-dollar deals and high-stakes corporate standoffs, Jack is ultimately a story about people-from a man who based his career on demanding only the best from others and from himself.
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