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FORTUNE The Greatest Business Decisions of All Time: How Apple, Ford, IBM, Zappos, and others made radical choices that changed the course of business. Hardcover – October 2, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Time Home Entertainment; 1 edition (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603200592
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603200592
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #221,649 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"CEOs make thousands of decisions every year, but only a few of them have dramatic impact on a company's brand, performance, and culture. IBM knows something about those types of 'big bets.' This book is a concise look at some of those big decisions and the C-suite moves that separated winners from the competition." -Samuel J. Palmisano, Chairman and former CEO, IBM

"When you look at the best business decisions that have been made throughout the years, a clear pattern emerges: The best decisions require not only great insight, but courage and commitment as well. The greatest business leaders are the ones who focus their energy not solely on profits, but on improving people's lives. These important lessons from our past, which this book brings to light, are more relevant than ever today." -Bill Ford, Executive Chairman, Ford Motor

"This is a treasure trove of compelling, insightful, and digestible stories that will provoke any leader to rethink how they make big decisions. A great read too." -Patrick Lencioni, President, The Table Group; bestselling author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and The Advantage

"A great resouce! Learning about how others make great decisions can help you make great decisions! A fascinating, practical history that can change the way that you make decisions. Required reading for decison-makers- at all levels!" -Marshall Goldsmith, named the No. 1 Leadership Thinker in the World by Thinkers50, is a consultant and author of the New York Times bestsellers MOJO and What Got You Here Won't Get You There.

"Out of millions of decisions made every day, the 18 big decisions highlighted in this book provide great insight. The authors give enough context that the reader can understand the goals, the needs, and the possibilities for the decisions. The stories portray the studied nature of some decisions and the serendipitous nature of others. The book reminds those who want to lead that they have to choose a different path from the well trodden one of competitors." -Howard Stevenson, Professor Emeritus of Entrepreneurship, Harvard Business School

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Customer Reviews

An easy book to read and very informative.
Gene Christie
What a nice quick history of some modern day business decisions that we can apply to everyday life and any business!
Carina Vichr
An excellent collection of essays which provides sage advice across a wide range of issues and disciplines.
William L. Mince

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Mike Ache on October 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I've never written an Amazon review before but was compelled this time as this book is an incredible disappointment. Consider it more a list of already well-known business decisions with a few pages of added fluff to make the book long enough. I know it sounds silly to judge a book by it's length, but at 200 pages with large font on a small page, it's just impossible to actually cover 18 business decisions in any detail. To think about an analogue, a Business Week magazine cover story has probably 4 or 5 times the content each of these stories does. Pass on this book, because you won't learn anything new from it.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on November 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
While the topic is worthwhile and the writers are knowledgeable, the materials presented are far too brief to provide value; worse yet, some of the situations cited were misinterpreted. Of course, some were valid, though again, only briefly covered.

The book begins with the decision by Apple's board to bring Steve Jobs back after an 11-year hiatus. In the interim Apple had turned from a cash gusher to a money loser - losing $816 million in 1996. Reality is that bringing Jobs back to Apple occurred more by accident than design, with little/no reason to credit the board. At the time, Apple needed a new operating system and NeXT (with Jobs) was the only potential source after first pick Be (JeanLouis Gassee) played too hard to get. Jobs himself wasn't that excited by the opportunity - he'd already reached billionaire status via Pixar and wanted to continue as CEO of that entity; his lack of faith in Apple's future at the time was reflected in his asking that the bulk of the $427 million paid for NeXT be paid in cash rather than Apple stock. He didn't even want the CEO position after then CEO Amelio did himself in via poor presentations and operating results. Jobs was persuaded to join Apple's board, with the condition that he could remake it (all but two were shown the door). The board had previously hired a search firm to fill Amelio's position, but nobody would take the position with Jobs hanging about in the background. Jobs then proceeded to focus Apple, laying off thousands while killing marginal products and hiring logistics expert Tim Cook, who then closed its factories.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ben Nelson on January 16, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was pretty underwhelming. The decisions appeared too simplified for my taste. I wanted something closer to case studies or at least have some deeper understanding of the difficulty of the decisions. This book didn't provide that.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jose Ernesto Passos on October 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The title of the book is not correct, they did not do their homework to identify the greatest business decision of all time. I don't know if it is possible to identify the greatest business decisions of all time, but I am sure that the book is a partial collection of great decisions. The authors have a preference towards decisions made recently, there are a few examples that were taken more than 100 years ago. For example they don't mention any major decision made by the Rothschilds, and sure they became a powerful group in the XIX century (maybe the most powerful economic group at the time).
My impression is that the book is the product of a conversation at the bar drinking beer. Each one of the authors were in a big round table and each one gave examples of the greatest decisions they remembered. Looks like stories told based on the opinions of the particular author that wrote the chapter. The stories looks like gossip, they are not supported by real facts.
In summary I think it is a shallow book, one can read it to have some stories to tell at the bar.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael Assad on December 5, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a worthwhile read, but it did not have the depth that I expected from a Verne Harnish book.
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Format: Kindle Edition
It is an interesting book but is somewhat repetitive, since a few simple principles apply to success in business. at least that is my opinion after reading about a fourth of the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paul Sanders on June 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A simple truism of life, management consultant Verne Harnish reminds us, is that success equals the sum total of all the decisions we make. While adding up all these decisions make for our success or failure, there are often singular choices that make monumental change.

Such decisions made by great business leaders are the subject of Harnish's insightful and revealing new book, The Greatest Business Decisions of All Time: How Apple, Ford, IBM, Zappos, and others made Radical Choices that Changed the Course of Business.

Determining the most significant business decisions is not an easy task. Harnish sagely turned to his colleagues at Fortune magazine, where he is a contributor, for help. The result is a fascinating compilation of the best business decisions made by successful companies.

Harnish and his team of contributors single out 18 significant management decisions that are distinctive and often counter-intuitive. In their success, these decisions created a wave of imitation. Ultimately, the decisions selected here are those that have stood the test of time with undisputed value that could be applied to any business.

Each chapter can be read independently, giving the reader the option to choose companies, decision makers, or subjects in selecting where to begin. It can prove to be a difficult and enticing choice; each author is an expert in the industry or subject they present and the writing is superb.

Don't skip over the Foreword by Jim Collins, who from the first paragraph sets a tone for the rest of the book. Decisions, Collins suggests, are usually thought of as very much about "what?" In his research and interviews, however, Collins has found that the greatest decisions were not "what?" but "who?
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