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The Power of Many: Values for Success in Business and in Life Hardcover – January 26, 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; 1 edition (January 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307591212
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307591210
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,292,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Having helped shepherd Ebay, one of the few online commercial success stories, from a $4 million business to an $8 billion behemoth, former president and CEO Whitman reveals her methods in her debut, as much a memoir of her tenure at Ebay as a guidebook for struggling MBAs. Though timed to coincide with her California gubernatorial run (the out-of-place last chapter includes her reasons for running, and a defense of friend and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney), Whitman crafts an engaging and not altogether opportunistic narrative that spells out solid business values, a no-nonsense approach to work, and thoughts on corporate integrity centered around practical advice for employees, managers and business leaders ("Be authentic. You can't buy integrity"; "Enfranchise and validate"; "Prune distractions"). In an era of bloated corporate profits and downsized prospects for average workers, Whitman's sincere commitment to and insights regarding community-building are refreshing, and should prove helpful for entrepreneurs and voters seeking information about the probable candidate. END


“Meg Whitman doesn’t just talk about important values such as integrity, accountability, authenticity and courage, she lives them. In many years of working with Meg, I have seen her lead game-changing innovation, make tough decisions and passionately commit herself to important causes – all based on strong, transparent values. In this engaging and honest book, Meg shares these values and how she applied them to pioneering a new model for managing a twenty-first-century company. This book only deepens my admiration for Meg’s leadership.” —A.G. Lafley, chairman, Procter & Gamble 

“As an eBay board member, I saw firsthand Meg Whitman’s determination to live and manage by the answer to the question ‘What is the right thing to do?’ as she helped eBay develop its character as a company. This book explores the values she brought to eBay and the values she nurtured at eBay – values that ultimately helped her create a remarkable success story and a powerful consumer brand.” —Howard Schultz, chairman and CEO, Starbucks

“In The Power of Many, Meg’s great insight is that running a successful organization in the Internet Age requires constant reinvention. Advances in technology drive a lot of that, but Meg understands that the emotional connections of a community networked together can give even a simple idea global reach. This is a great discussion of the importance of listening and harnessing that energy in order to create positive change.” —Terry Semel, chairman, Windsor Media; former chairman and CEO, Yahoo! and Warner Bros.

“What Meg Whitman created and developed at eBay is truly extraordinary. This book chronicles how her vision, dedication, hard work and focus on results created the opportunity for millions of Americans to form their own businesses and secure their families’ futures. As a direct result of Meg’s leadership, eBay has contributed to tremendous job growth both here in Silicon Valley and beyond; I believe she has the ability to further develop and shape our future economy.” —John Chambers, chairman and CEO, Cisco

"Meg Whitman makes a compelling connection between achieving success and holding firm to high standards of integrity and personal values. It's clear and effective advice for motivating people to do their very best." —W. James McNerney, Jr. chairman and CEO, Boeing

"Meg Whitman is an excellent business leader and an even better person. Her ten core values in The Power of Many will resonate with everyone who has had to lead at any level. The words she picks are easy to follow: authenticity, frugality, accountability. More important, I know that Meg has lived each value. This is an important book to read as business is trying to win again in a reset world." —Jeffrey Immelt, chairman and CEO, General Electric

"This book is inspiring.  Meg Whitman steered a tiny start-up through the dot-com frenzy and emerged running a multibillion-dollar global pillar of e-commerce. The Power of Many demonstrates that integrity and values in business are not just “nice to haves,” they are essential for leaders to succeed in running modern, high-impact organizations." —Carol Bartz, CEO, Yahoo

"Reading this book is like being in a room with Meg. You feel privileged to hear her wisdom and are reminded of her wit. Her stories that touch on both key career decisions and those that impacted her personal life are riveting and instructive. Her bias for action comes out loud and clear along with her passion for people whether they be colleagues or customers. The Power of Many is inspirational both for its message and its mission. It's a must read." —Cathie Black, president, Hearst Magazines 

The Power of Many is an extremely important and highly relevant read in today's environment. It will be a crucial resource for women looking for both inspiration and practical advice on achieving success and fulfillment within all areas of their lives. A dazzling accomplishment."
Moira Forbes, publisher, ForbesWoman 

“Like any eBay user, Meg Whitman knows that having a reputation for integrity matters. In The Power of Many, she explains how timeless values such as honesty, treating others with respect, and sharing credit for good ideas can provide surprising advantages in the business arena.” —Linda Kaplan Thaler, co-author of The Power of Nice
CEO, The Kaplan Thaler Group  

"Meg Whitman's charming and candid book translates the spirit behind eBay's growth into lessons every business leader needs: how to earn profits by investing in bonds of trust with users and a culture that inspires high performance." —Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School, author of SuperCorp:
How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, profits, Growth, and Social Good 

“Meg attacks problems. Meg knows how to make tough decisions, how to cut through complexity and uncertainty…and find solutions to challenges. Meg knows how to lead and this book reflects that: it is both authentic and inspiring.” —Mary Meeker, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley

“Meg Whitman has had a remarkable business career, culminating as CEO of eBay. She weaves a compelling story about family, education, successes, failures (not so many), mentors, the power of teams, and the systematic acquisition and application of wisdom. She develops a coherent model for high integrity, high performance leadership that should be emulated by everyone.” —William A. Sahlman, Professor of Business Administration,
Harvard Business School 

“Meg Whitman makes a compelling case for the power of many, but she makes an even stronger case for focus, vision, and integrity. She repeatedly demonstrates all three in this refreshingly candid guide for leaders, taking us through her good and bad decisions to demonstrate that expecting the best from people is not just a philosophy; it is a winning business strategy.” —Nell Minow, chair and cofounder, The Corporate Library;
coauthor of Corporate Governance 

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 18 people found the following review helpful By J. Brown on January 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although I am sure Meg Whitman wrote this book in part for political reasons I read it for the same reasons I read other leadership remind me of the fundamental truths and hopefully pick up some new perspectives. This book did not disappoint!

This book does a great job of mixing in personal and business stories to illustrate some key leadership points. Her description of the growth and challenges of eBay was compelling. She shares what worked for her as well as admitting to mistakes. This was refreshing. She also points out where she does not agree with the traditional mindset or popular thought.

For example she states "Trying is important. But trying is not the same as achieving success. I diverge from the philosophers and poets here; to me, success is not about the quality of your experience in striving for your goal. To me, the journey is not the reward. The journey can be fantastic; my journey at eBay was fantastic. But what matters is whether or not you accomplish your mission."

I had eight pages of highlights in my Kindle. Here are 16 of the excerpts I found particularly important.

1. "When it comes to new product development or certain kinds of marketing where parameters are fluid, I very deliberately do not ask people to be perfect. In fact, I'm more inclined to say that in these realms perfect is the enemy of good enough...If we wait to try to anticipate all the problems in advance, the cost of that delay will be too high. We will learn much faster from trying it out."

2. "You can make a big goal feel small by breaking it down, but you can't make a small goal feel big."

3. "Never be afraid to borrow a good idea. Pay for it by giving credit. In fact, share credit as liberally as you can...
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20 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Jack Hsu on March 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
"The Power of Many" has distinguished itself in two ways for me. First, it is the first business biography book that I've labored hard to go through each page, looking in vain for an insight that never arrived. Second it is the first biography where I've had a lower opinion of the author after I've finished the book.

I'm an avid reader of business leader biographies and I've always found useful take-aways or feelings of being inspired from this genre of books. Michael Moritz's account of Apple and Steve Jobs in "Return to the Little Kingdom" convinced me that anything is possible if you follow your heart and dreams. Jack Welch's "Winning" reinforced the notion that leadership involves making tough decisions and choosing the right people. Unfortunately, in "The Power of Many", the only thing I've found is my sheer determination to finish every page. It was 274 pages of pain.

I think there are several problems with this book that made it unreadable. First, the story of eBay and what made it successful are already well known. Ms. Whitman failed to provide any additional insight or behind the scene account of eBay that wasn't already publicized. Grouping eBay's success factors under what she coined as "Power of Many" felt forced and unconvincing.

Second, the book is over littered with cliches - and to make things worse, Ms. Whitman had to explain every cliche that she used, such as "bias to action", "network effect", and "flame". It made me cringe when she spent an entire paragraph explaining "key metrics", and exclaimed "...I am very focused on what are called key metrics". I've got news for you, Ms. Whitman - so do millions of other middle layer managers.

Third, this is too much of a self-touting book. While Ms.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Chip S. on April 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I went through this book quickly. It was easy to read- it's very interesting, with lots on fascinating information about how eBay worked during her 10 year tenure there. However, I did go in it expecting to learn some really insightful business principles, and in that sense, it didn't really deliver. Her biggest lessons were pretty simple- "be authentic," "be frugal," "have a bias for action." Most of it was basically common sense, and she could be pretty repetitive pushing those points. Despite how I felt the book fell flat in explaining some fundamental business principles, the stories of her time at eBay still make it worth the read.
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By Don white on July 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Liked learning about the history if ebay.
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By April Engle on June 27, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Was hard to relate to so slow going...was a required work project.
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By Neela Patel on October 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A must read for women wanting to lead and succeed. Meg Whitman outlines the basic principles for professional success and a fulfilling personal life. Everything is in the balance.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
At first read, the book seemed to be sorta ho-hum about the do's and dont's of running a growing company. But as you read more and more, especially at the 3/4's point, you realize that getting eBay established and working was more about managing the decisions of an entirely new enterprise that would transform the garage sales, flea markets, consignment shops, etc. into an new model of market. A model that would require careful thinking about equity and equality across several dimensions.
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