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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 1999
There is no doubt about it, Jack Welch is one of the best CEO's ever. I put a low rating on the book. I couldn't stand the style. Half the book is quotes from a Welch speech...which is fine. However, the other half is just paraphrasing everything Jack says to a "T". Very very very very very very very redundant. You can get great take-aways from Jack's style. Unfortunately you have to read through the entire book. It's 10 pages of great leadership skills packed into 300+ pages.
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44 of 51 people found the following review helpful
This is Robert Slater's third book about Jack Welch, who has achieved almost mythic status in his 17 years as CEO of GE, making the company the wolds most valuable. This new book focuses on the lessons all businesses can learn from how Welch transformed GE from a manufacturing to a service centered business by embracing change, creating a boundaryless organization focussing on globalization and emphasizing communication. Slater is a Welch fan. I would also recommend reading Thomas F. O'Boyles muckraking work AT ANY COST, JACK WELCH, GENERAL ELECTRIC and THE PURSUIT OF PROFIT as an antidote to boosterism and an insight to the darker side and human cost of radical change in a giant corporation. After you have finished with Welch and GE read the refreshing 2000 PERCENT SOLUTION by Mitchell, Coles, and Metz for a wealth of information and freeing your organization from common practices that stall growth. Welch examples may inform us but Mitchell, Coles and Metz give us a blueprint for achieving success in our businesses and organizations and involving our employees in the process of exponential growth
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 1999
Jack Welch got right to the point on key management ideas used to propel GE to the top. It's easy to read and digest, without unnecessary long descriptions. The key points of each topic is clearly summarized by a quote on the front of each chapter. If you have never taken a management course, read this book and you're half way there. The ideas are so simple yet so often ignored as managers are faced with a sea of complicated management theories.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 1999
This book was given to me as a must read by the leadership of our organization. The "rah rah" patronizing of Jack Welch nauseated me after 10 chapters, by chapter 20 I was sick.
Not much substance. As one review stated, a 2 page summary would suffice.
I would not recommend this book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2000
I was hopeing this would be a well written book on the leadership and style of Jack Welch. It turned out to be a pep rally on what great things Jack did. Somehow it would have been better if I went to the local high school rally than sit through this book. I didn't even finish the first couple of chapters before I put it on the shelf. Should have returned it. I wouldn't recomend this bood to anyone who enjoys reading books on leadership.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 1999
I've read countless business biographies and books on leadership. Slater wrote "Get Better or Get Beaten!, the 31 Jack Welch Secret's to Leadership" and this is just the long version of it. It is barely readable, as it is obvious Slater is personally involved with his subject and cannot be objective. This is unfortunate and causes the reader to "take away" (a Welchism) absolutely no sense of the man, Jack Welch, let alone to care about his ideas on leadership or "the GE way". Too much "way to go Jack Welch" quotes and not enough content. You can skip both of these books if you are looking for insights into great leadership. If your goal IS to read a book with some great insights on leadership, I highly recommend the fine books on leadership by CEO's James Autry and/or Max DePree. These books will make you think and do things differently after having read them versus Slater's leadership cheerleader dribble. Save your money folks!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2004
Good overview of the Jack Welch way, including a variety of innovative business ideas that brought GE forward.
However, as a book goes, it would appear the author was paid by the word. Each of the "secrets" is presented, reviewed, repeated, and presented again in a 300+ page book that would better be summarized in about 20. I kept reading after the first two chapters thinking I would learn somthing new, but honestly, save your money, read chapter one at the library, and go home with just as much insight.
To the publisher, I'd recommed an "executive summary" version for the next edition.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2000
Slater's book can be compared to other books written about famous and successful leaders. Its goal is to take lessons from the behavior of an individual leading a large firm during a successful period. What makes it different from many other books is that Jack Welch was still in power when it was written and the author had the privilege to meet him on a regular basis and to interview most of the senior management of GE.
Slater has selected a few management principles frequently mentioned by Welsh and demonstrates how they are applied on an every day basis inside GE worldwide. The outcome is rather convincing. Welch relies on a few basic principles that he is consistently teaching to his employees and applying when he has something to decide on. Welch's leadership philosophy can be summarized by: "Select a few extremely simple and strong messages, repeat them all the time and justify all important decisions by them in order to convince everybody that you are right and consistent." As much as the value and the quality of the principles, in turns out that Welch's success is also built on an heavy communication exercise. The real quality and originality of some messages might be questionable but for sure Welsh's persistence in repeating them is rather unique. Given the diversity of the core businesses of GE worldwide, Welch sometimes appears more to act as a management consultant than a CEO involved in day to day business.
All in all, this book is well documented and provides a good presentation of successful leadership principles. On the negative side, one can wonder if the obvious success of GE is only due to the strength and simplicity of Welch's messages. One would also have expected a little more distance from the author and a more critical point of view. Slater obviously admires Welch and the book sometimes sounds like a commercial for GE and his boss. Welch often says "Face reality" and by interviewing more employees at a lower management level, the author might have been able to draw a more objective picture.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2001
Good Job, Jack!!
As a one-time Wall Street professional, I find books about the top minds of business interesting. Truly, this book about the now-retired CEO of General Electric, the world's best run company, is fascinating. It not only gives us insight into Jack Welch the man, but the strategies he used to make GE a darling of Wall Street and Main Street.
What I found most intriguing about this book is its dedication to showing HOW and WHY Mr. Welch employed his fresh attitudes towards his pursuit of excellence. He addresses many salient issues, including
1. Leadership being the key to successful management, not managing; 2. Harnessing the true power of the corporation: its employees; 3. The advantages of large corporations acting like small companies; 4. Growth by globalization; 5. Corporate change is natural and necessary. Jack Welch has proven that he was one of the greatest leaders corporate America has known. The author, Robert Slater, does a superb job of taking us inside GE and Jack Welch's head. This book will stand as a tribute to GE's greatness and Welch's vision, strength, courage and brilliance.
If you are an entrepreneur, corporate manager or business executive, this book is well worth the read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 1998
Do not buy this book if you are looking for new insights into what makes Welch a great leader and GE a great company. I found its stories too shallow and overly complementary to Welch (almost as though they were written by GE's public relations folks.)
Noel Tichy's book "Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will" while somewhat dated is a much better read.
I cannot wait for a critical evaluation of GE's successes and failures, that includes lessons that other managers can apply in their companies. This book certainly does not get me there.
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