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Testosterone Inc.: Tales of CEOs Gone Wild Hardcover – April 30, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A smarmy wallow in the sleaziest escapades of four powerful and highly visible CEOs, Byron’s latest serves up a titillating mix of snark, sanctimony and pop psychology. In his last book, the bestselling Martha, Inc., the veteran business journalist asserted that Stewart was driven by resentment toward her brutish father and her humble roots. In this new book, Byron’s analysis leads him to the loopy conclusion that his four subjects—Jack Welch, Dennis Kozlowski, Ronald Perelman and Al Dunlap—are all victims of excessive testosterone. What, Byron asks, could motivate such accomplished businessmen to jeopardize their legacies by divorcing devoted wives, siphoning corporate funds or engaging in tawdry affairs? "The answer," he eagerly insists, "lies not in their stars but in their skivvies." Though Byron examined some 15,000 documents and interviewed 90 people for this book, none of his four subjects would agree to an interview for this project, so there are no first-hand accounts to corroborate (or refute) his diagnosis. But tracing the fine points of psychology, or delivering a measured analysis of business strategy, isn’t really the point of this book, which aims to entertain with juicy accounts of embarrassing peccadilloes. Readers who get a chuckle out of watching rich and powerful men make fools of themselves will find plenty to like here. As for all that research: this book contains little that is especially new or valuable, unless you really care to know such details as exactly which of Welch’s uncles was a drunk.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

This self-described tale of "CEOs Gone Wild" chronicles four of the best-known businessmen of the 1980s and 1990s, mixing stories of their personal and professional lives with an emphasis on their marital infidelities and career power plays. General Electric CEO Jack Welch takes center stage, his rapid climb up the corporate ladder all the way to the top spot in 1980 leading to a "Corporate Reign of Terror," resulting in the firing of almost one-third of the GE workforce. But it is his propensity for bar hopping and passing around secretaries that led to the nickname "Jack the Zipper," and his trophy wives and expensive divorce proceedings dominate these pages. Also profiled is the much-feared Al "Chainsaw" Dunlap, who single-handedly destroyed Sunbeam Corporation with his take-no-prisoners approach; bond king and egomaniac Ron Perelman (with a Monica Lewinsky tie-in); and Tyco's Dennis Kozlowski, with details on the now-infamous $2 million toga party for his wife's fortieth birthday, expensed to Tyco shareholders. The author postulates that the extreme alpha-male behavior exhibited by these men is purely hormonal, their off-the-chart testosterone levels driving them to act like wild teenage boys well into their fifties and beyond. Readers looking for a titillating peek into the private lives of the power elite will be highly satisfied. David Siegfried
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley (April 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471420050
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471420057
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,915,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Much needed antidote to all of those nauseating Jack Welch cheerleaders that we had to endure during the bubble and afterward. This book is funny and entertaining. My favorite part is when Jack Welch gets drunk for a party thrown in his honor as the new CEO of GE. Amazing! For their "trophy wives", these guys paid more in their divorce settlements than even a very lucky CEO could could make in his whole career. Kudos to Byron for finally exploding the Jack Welch myth.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Amazing, hilarious, and downright scary!! The behavior of the men who ran the world in the 1990s exposed from the Oval Office to the corner office. Apparently these guys were most interested in getting more money for themselves, more power, and laid more -- by women other than their wives. How sad that this behavior was masked or applauded and got a free pass from the press. What is so noble about giving the market what it wants while treating so many with such disrespect whether from layoffs or abusive treatment of employees? That's not providing shareholder value but simply lining the pockets of a few at the expense of many. Byron should get a medal for exposing men in power behaving badly. No wonder the 1990s ended in such a bust.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Levy on May 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
At long last! Someone has taken the time to write a definitive and authoritative text on the abusive and destructive leadership of a few heralded CEOs from a (hopefully) bygone era. The research in this book is superb. It is exhaustive and painstaking in its determination to be fact-based, detailed and accurate. I think the author and his team deserve gold medals for truth seeking, accuracy, insightful observation and analysis. Thank you, Mr. Byron, for knowing who to go after, and for having a sense of humor as you do.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I found it amazing to read the tales of these so-called "industry leaders" who may indeed be leaders in the boardroom, but surely not on the homefront. Granted some of these tales are not new, but this book still manages to satisfy the insatiable desire for gossip with more detail than we've heard through the media in many instances, all the while making you stop and seriously think about how all this "wild" behavior affects your investments in the companies the CEO's represent.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 8, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Read this book and you'll understand why these four American CEO's are in desperate need of a first rate psychiatrist! Each and every one of the men profiled in this book are an utter nightmare. Simply put, they a disgrace to our system regardless of how much money they've made for others. There is a solid arguement to be made that for every dollar they put in their own pocket, they took tenfold from someone else's. These icons of business, (at one point in time or another) are completely lacking in morals and ethics! What does it say about our culture that it promotes these types of personalities into such positions of power? This book will leave you feeling ashamed and angry at the decision makers. It seems our country is light years away from the very values our country was founded upon. How sad for the United States. How sad for Corporate America!
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Derek on April 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Bravo to Chris Byron for finally telling the real story of these celebrity CEOs. The pillars that we placed these men on is chipping away and it is about time someone gave us another voice. Jack Welch and the men of GE should be ashamed of themselves. I found this book both entertaining and downright stunning at the same time. Read this book--you'll be shocked!
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By ann witt on April 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As a fan of Christopher Byron's prior book, Martha Inc. and his New York Post column, I anxiously awaited the publication of Testosterone Inc. I was not disappointed. I absolutely loved this book !!! It is a total page-turner. I read it in 2 days.
The rise and fall of the American CEO is a culturally defining moment and no one tells the story better than Christopher Byron. The money, the women, the greed ... while we were admiring these "all powerful CEOs", they were acting like drunken frat boys behind our backs. Thank you Christopher Byron for telling us the inside story - the very entertaining yet very scary true story.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It's about time someone got the goods on these pigs in suits. Byron nails them, and he also has a very funny way of telling their stories. Of course, I'd be laughing harder if it weren't so egregiously out of hand. I just read somewhere that Perelman (just as an example) is on, what, his fourth wife? Amazingly, as Byron points out, even one divorce used to be an indication of unfitness for leadership in a corporation. There's one rule that no longer applies! You'll be amazed by the behind-the-scenes stuff Byron has dug up for this book.
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