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She visited the Amazon.com offices to give a talk to our employees about the book before it was published, and we were so impressed with what she had to say--and the open and focused way she said it--that we wanted to share some of her visit with you. Click on the image below to watch a section of her talk that explains what fear and choice have to do with leadership:
Watch Carly Fiorina talk about Tough Choices
Two Tough Choices
We also asked her to tell us here about two of the many tough choices she writes about in the book:
Amazon.com: Why did you decide to drop out of law school, and why was that a hard decision?
Fiorina: I went to UCLA Law School mainly because my father was a lawyer and he encouraged me to follow in his footsteps. From the very first day it left me cold. Although I could respect the law, I felt no passion for it. I had terrible headaches every day and barely slept for months.
When my father came to visit, I told him I hated it. He was concerned, but he didn't want me to quit. He had always taught me that quitting was the same as failure--you stuck it out, even in a tough situation. And so, although I had planned to tell him I'd decided to leave law school, I didn't. I went back and stuck it out for another month.
Then I came home one weekend to visit. I was in turmoil. As dramatic as it sounds, I had an epiphany while taking a shower on Sunday morning. My body had been trying to tell me something with all those months of headaches. I suddenly realized I had no idea why I was in law school at all. At twenty-two, at that moment, it finally dawned on me that my life couldn't be about pleasing my parents.
I think of that as the day I grew up. I had made a truly difficult decision on my own.
Amazon.com: Tell us about the time when you were a junior sales person at AT&T, and you had to choose whether or not to attend a meeting at a strip club.
Fiorina: One day my senior colleague, David, let me know that the two of our most important customers were coming to town for a meeting. I was delighted. It would be great to have my first introduction to these customers come from a veteran like him.
The day before the meeting, David came to my cubicle. "You know, Carly, I'm really sorry. I know we'd planned to have you meet the two directors. The thing is, they have a favorite restaurant here in D.C., and they've requested that we meet there. It's the Board Room. So I don't think you'll be able to join us."
This didn't make any sense to me, until someone else explained that the Board Room was an upscale strip club for businessmen. Between acts, the young women who worked there would dress in see-through baby-doll negligees and dance on top of the tables while the patrons ate lunch.
I was both very embarrassed and very anxious. I sat in the ladies' room to think about it in private, and worked myself into a state of near panic. I had no idea what I was supposed to do in this situation. I couldn't tell myself it didnt matter--it clearly was important to meet these clients and to convince David that I should be taken seriously. It never occurred to me to be outraged and demand that they not go--and that wouldn't have worked anyway.
Finally, I went to David's desk and said, "You know, I hope it won't make you too uncomfortable, but I think I'm going to go to lunch anyway. I'll meet you all there." You could have heard a pin drop in the office as everyone watched this scenario unfold.
What happened the next day at the strip club is a funny story, but I'll save that one for the book.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Carly Fiorina's journey in the professional world is outlined in great detail. It clearly demonstrates how decisions are made in the corporate world.Published 9 months ago by Neela Patel
I did not like this book it was slow and uninteresting. I would not buy this book or tell anyone to do so.Published 13 months ago by Dylan
When I think of the lives that this piece of human debris has destroyed, it simply infuriates me that she just won't go away. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Brad Rules
A really challenging and educating book on leadership. A bit dry sometimes, and hard to get through. But a lot to learn for new leaders!Published 15 months ago by Atle Rovik
Very readable and thought provoking--am sending it on to my daughter. I heard her speak and was excited to read the book--did not disappoint.Published 15 months ago by MKN
I enjoyed reading Carly's book. I really liked her approach to dealing with both customers and staff - having a good working realtionship with both. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Paul Bert
I needed this book for a project at school, but found it very interesting to read about her life. I was particularly interested about her time as CEO of HP. Good Read.Published 18 months ago by EaglesFan
Enjoyed hearing her story (Sept 2012) at the Leadership Summit. Her story shows how we can be redirected to better opportunities when we are willing to let go of things of the... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Dlite
This interesting if self-congratulatory book sadly leaves all of the more interesting questions unanswered. Read morePublished on April 20, 2012 by Jonathan Gifford