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Bill & Dave: How Hewlett and Packard Built the World's Greatest Company Hardcover – April 5, 2007


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Bill & Dave: How Hewlett and Packard Built the World's Greatest Company + The HP Way: How Bill Hewlett and I Built Our Company (Collins Business Essentials)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover; First Edition edition (April 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591841526
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591841524
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #371,491 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A lesson plan for managers trying to make their own fame and fortune on an ever more competitive scale. -- San Francisco Chronicle

His tale of Hewlett-Packard's rise and fall recalls the time when, incredibly HP was cool. Malone chronicles how the two quickly outgrew what Packard called "that damn garage" and developed the HP Way, the cultural operating system standard for high tech companies. -- Wired

It's worth reflecting on how fine Bill and Dave's achievement really was. -- Newsweek

Malone has produced a biography, management guidebook, and business history, all in one. -- Businessweek

Mike Malone does the legacy of Hewlett and Packard a great service with this book. I hope it inspires a whole new generation of entrepreneurs to rise to the standards set by these two remarkable leaders. -- Jim Collins, author Good to Great, co-author Built to Last

Recounting the well-known HP stories and unearthing some new ones, his account of the two tech titans and the world they made has a fresh feel throughout. -- Washington Post

The book is the best account so far of the lives of the two men who started Silicon Valley and created many of its lasting traditions and institutions. -- San Jose Mercury News

About the Author

Michael S. Malone, a Silicon Valley native, is one of America’s most distinguished technology journalists. The former editor of Forbes ASAP and currently a popular Web columnist for ABC, he has written for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Wired, and Fast Company magazines. Among his books are The Big Score, The Virtual Corporation, Infinite Loop, and Intellectual Capital.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Malone is much more positive on HP's culture, and with good reason.
A. Freiburghouse
Michael S. Malone's solid corporate biography skirts hagiography as he covers the business that Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard built, and why and how they built it.
Rolf Dobelli
This is an extremely well written and interesting book that all entrepreneurs and business people should read.
Robert Kirk

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Charles H. House on April 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The best book, by far, about the founders of the Hewlett-Packard company. Malone, with an insider's emotional connection and a polished journalistic style, has produced a warm, empathetic portrait of two remarkable men that will likely never be equaled. Malone embeds their story remarkably well in the context of the times, over a fifty-five year business span of twentieth-century America. Working with hitherto unavailable resources, both from the families and the Hewlett-Packard archives, this book dissects the character of the two men (all the harder for the very private, very shy dyslexic Hewlett) and establishes their worth and contribution in a way that, I suspect, many HP alumni will find incredibly accurate and compelling.

This is not a hagiography - in places, Malone observes that they did some things on occasion that they later would not tolerate in their employees, avowedly exhibiting a fake product at a trade show, for example. He chronicles some near-misses - learning the lessons of cash flow or ethical behavior or pricing strategies the hard way. And he puts their life evolution into context as well, noting that they did far more than "simply" build a great company - they became business statesmen, national statesmen, and valuable world scene philanthropy, learning all the while throughout long and productive lifetimes.

Importantly, Malone interprets Packard's own autobiography for the serious student of HP. Packard wrote a laconic austere account near the end of his life - Malone analyzes many passages and gives them far more liveliness than did Dave himself.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By S. Witten on April 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am an HP retiree so I have a particular bias here... I am also a great admirer of Mike Malone's writing and television work. You are free to take everything I say with a grain of salt...

I liked this book very much. It puts more meat on the bones of Packard's book "The HP Way". It rambles in places (HP "rambled" in places and at times... ex-HPers will understand that) but it's all in all very interesting. The book focuses on Bill and Dave -- the people and their years of building/managing HP from the days at Stanford to their deaths in the 1990's. Above all, Malone never forgets that the story of Bill & Dave and HP is the story of HP people -- as Malone as described in other places, "a company of den mothers and little league coaches."

If you are looking for a history of HP's memorable products and technical discussions about them, this is not the book for you. There are some stories about products but they are woven into the context of the bigger picture of HP at the time of the product's introduction or to illustrate the contribution to society the product made (e.g., the HP-35 calculator).

I especially enjoyed the beginning sections about Bill & Dave's childhoods and the early years at Stanford. I didn't know Bill was dyslexic and that was the source of both his genius and his shyness. I wish Malone had provided some more information about Lucille Packard and Flora Hewlett (both of whom were very important to HP -- especially during the early years) and their family lives.

Malone leaves out some things though... John Minck (who's quoted several times in the book) once sent me a version of the HP Corporate Objectives dated prior to 1966. That version that has "Contribution" as #1 and "Profit" as #2.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John Erisman on January 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a fascinating account of what is (or at least was) one of the most admired and respected companies, not just for its product reputation, but for its corporate culture and management style that was unique in its day, and copied by many others since.

The book chronicles how Hewlett and Packard started a bare-bones company in a one-car garage with a single product and grew it into a multi-billion dollar global corporation. Malone looks at their childhood years and how their unique life experiences shaped their personal characters and values, as well as the culture of the company that bears their name. It was most interesting to see how these men, friends from their Stanford years, but with very different, though complementary, personal styles, learned to work together in an attitude of complete trust, and to instill in their company a set of values known popularly as the HP Way. Malone, thankfully, does not view Bill and Dave through rose-colored glasses, but is realistic about their personal foibles as well. Numerous examples are provided to show how they learned from their mistakes and went on to re-invent themselves several times over in response to issues of growth, to changing product needs and to the business climate - all while keeping the core set of guiding values in tact. And it was encouraging to be reminded, that despite the enormous fame and wealth that came to them, they never forgot their beginnings, but became almost as well-known for their philanthropic efforts.
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