Enter Lou Gerstner. The presumption was that Gerstner had joined IBM to preside over its continued dissolution into a confederation of autonomous business units, effectively eliminating the corporation that had invented many of the industry's most important technologies. Instead, Gerstner took hold of the company, making the bold decision to keep it together, defiantly announcing, "The last thing IBM needs right now is a vision."
Told in Lou Gerstner's own words, this is a story of an extraordinary turnaround, a case study in managing a crisis, and a thoughtful reflection on the computer industry and the principles of leadership. Summing up his historic business achievement, Gerstner recounts high-level meetings, explains the no-turning-back decisions that had to be made, and offers his hard-won conclusions about the essence of what makes a great company run.
©2002 Louis V. Gerstner, Jr.; (P)2002 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
"A well-rendered self-portrait of a CEO who made spectacular change on the strength of personal leadership." (Publishers Weekly)
"Edward Herrmann's pacing and understated connection with the material in this memoir makes the audio seem compact and relaxed. The writing is also outstanding, lacking excessive pride or self-congratulation....An essential volume for anyone interested in technology, large organizations, or IBM's miraculous rebirth under Gerstner's leadership." (AudioFile)
"Really enjoyed it."
Nice easy listen and a fascinating story. I usually opt for books narrated by the author as they have more emotion. However Edward Herrmann really brings the story to life, and boy what a story!
Excellent listen - how someone with little IT skills transformed IBM - one of, if not , the most important companies in the world. Rare business book thats worth more than one listen.
"Great insight to major corporate change"
My company is going through a major transformation and I found this a really interesting insight to similar major changes at IBM and how one leader dealt with this. It covers the highs and lows/challenges and successes. IBM is clearly a massive complex entity and I was fascinated how such complexity still in the end has to be able to be summarised and netted out to understandable language and concepts. One gets the impression from the book that Gerstner brought this executive ability to take a helicopter view of things. He also was prepared to take tough decisions.
I have worked hands-on daily with IBM hardware, software and services for well over a decade, some of which overlapping with Lou Gerstner's period as CEO of the company, so I picked this up expecting not to learn much I hadn't already known about IBM. I was entirely wrong. This is a really engaging and honest account of the turnaround of a company that was literally falling apart as it failed to adapt to the changing world in which it was operating. The clarity of purpose which Gerstner, as a 'non IT person', brought to the company and it's strategic direction shines throughout. The book could be accused of being one-sided, but the performance of IBM during Gerstner's time at the helm is so remarkable that some element of victors writing the history is understandable. The insight into 'bet the company' decisions and simple management strategies applied to the giant organisation that is IBM is really fascinating. Great read, highly recommended.
"A nice little job"
Gerstner repaired IBM because he didn't belong there. Funny that, but it worked! Fascinating. Keep in mind that he had been in the same ring with this elephant before with other companies. See ourselves as others see us.
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