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World Changers: 25 Entrepreneurs Who Changed Business as We Knew It Hardcover – December 8, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover (December 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591844509
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591844501
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John A. Byrne's distinguished magazine career included periods as executive editor of BusinessWeek, editor in chief of Fast Company, and associate editor at Forbes. He is the founder of C-Change Media, a digital media company that is building a network of Web sites and blogs in business niches. He is the author or coauthor of eight other previous books, including Jack: Straight from the Gut, with Jack Welch. He lives in Corte Madera, California.

More About the Author

John A. Byrne is chairman and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media Inc., a digital media startup that is launching a network of websites for the global business community. C-Change currently has two highly successful sites, Poets& and Poets& Little more than two years old, P&Q generates more than one million monthly page views and boasts a book imprint division which published its first title in 2012. Byrne is also the author of "World Changers: 25 Entrepreneurs Who Changed Business As We Knew It," his first book in ten years since the publication of his collaboration with General Electric Chairman Jack Welch. That book, "Straight from the Gut," was a New York Times bestseller for 26 consecutive weeks.

Byrne's collaboration with Mort Mandel, a self-made billionaire and highly successful entrepreneur in both the for-profit and non-profit worlds, will be published in December of 2012 by Jossey-Bass as part of its Warren Bennis leadership series. The book is entitled "It's All About Who You Hire, How They Lead...and Other Essential Advice from a Self-Made Leader."

Until Nov. of 2009, Byrne had been executive editor and editor-in-chief of He led to record levels of reader engagement and traffic, oversaw the redesign of the site, and launched extensive new areas of coverage on management and lifestyle. Mr. Byrne initiated the site's twice-daily executive news summary, weekly interactive case studies, multi-media classroom videos, as well as new blogs and podcasts. He helped to develop and launch a major Web 2.0 initiative called the Business Exchange, an innovative product utilizing social media and news aggregation.

Under his leadership, won two consecutive National Magazine Awards, the most prestigious recognition in magazine publishing, an EPpy for Best Business Website with over one million unique visitors (over The Wall Street Journal), and second place honors as the Best Website of the Year for news and business by the Magazine Publishers Association. In 2008 alone, captured an unprecedented 21 awards and nominations for journalism excellence. His weekly podcast on Business Week's cover story has been downloaded nearly 10 million times. Mr. Byrne's views on the future of journalism have made him a popular speaker and essayist. In the past two years, he has spoken at more than a dozen conferences, has been frequently interviewed about the new world of journalism, and has been published by Harvard University's Nieman Reports, The Christian Science Monitor, and MediaWeek magazine.
Prior to role at, he was the executive editor for the print publication since 2005, during which he began three new annual franchises, including the highly successful Customer Service Champions and the Best Places to Launch a Career, and recruited to the magazine such popular weekly columnists as Jack and Suzy Welch, Maria Bartiromo, and renown wine critic Robert Parker.

Previously, Mr. Byrne was editor-in-chief of Fast Company magazine. He joined Fast Company in April 2003, succeeding founding editors Alan Webber and Bill Taylor, where he worked to reinvent the business magazine. Under his leadership, Fast Company won many coveted journalism awards, including its first Gerald Loeb award, the highest honor in business journalism. Mr. Byrne also made Fast Company the first business brand to launch an online blog and created, through a partnership with Monitor Group, an annual award competition for social entrepreneurs. More importantly, Mr. Byrne found and cultivated a buyer for the magazine, resulting in a $35 million purchase that saved the publication from an almost certain closure.

Before joining Fast Company, he worked for BusinessWeek for nearly 18 years, most recently holding the position of Senior Writer and authoring a record 57 cover stories for the magazine. His articles have explored the fairness of executive pay, the folly of management fads, and the governance of major corporations. Mr. Byrne's magazine writing has won numerous awards and has been republished in collections of the best writing on business. He was named a National Magazine Award finalist as well as a Gerald Loeb award finalist twice. Among his more widely recognized cover stories are "Philip Morris: Inside America's Most Reviled Company," a provocative exploration of the men who ran the largest tobacco corporation in the world, "The Fall of a Dot-Com," an investigative story on how big-name investors, blinded by Net fever, poured millions into a dot-com that fell into bankruptcy, "Joe Berardino's Fall from Grace," a narrative of how Arthur Andersen's CEO presided over the demise of his legendary firm, "The Man Who Invented Management," a reflective essay on why management guru Peter Drucker's ideas still matter, and "Are CEOs Paid Too Much?," an early examination (1992) of why executive compensation was out-of-control.

Mr. Byrne developed the idea of a monthly best-sellers list, launched the industry-leading business school rankings, established and managed the magazine's ranking of the best and worst corporate boards, and created its annual list of the most generous philanthropists. He also built out the business education franchise online in the mid-1990s, setting the stage for a highly regarded online community and one that has reaped tens of millions of dollars in annual revenue for BusinessWeek. He has been a frequent commentator on television, having appeared on CNN's Moneyline and CNBC's Squawk Box and Business Center.

Mr. Byrne is the author or co-author of more than ten books on business, leadership, and management, including two national bestsellers. World Changers, to be published by Penguin Books' Portfolio imprint, is his first book in ten years. His previous book, published Sept. 11, 2001 by Warner Books, was Jack: Straight from the Gut, the highly anticipated collaboration with former General Electric Co. CEO Jack Welch. The book debuted at the very top of The New York Times bestseller list and remained on the list for 26 consecutive weeks. Mr. Byrne has written or co-authored seven other books, including Chainsaw (HarperCollins, 1999), the behind-the-scenes story of Al Dunlap's rise and fall as a business celebrity. The book received widespread acclaim. Publishers Weekly called the book a "blistering saga" and a "sizzling tale." The said Chainsaw "should be required reading in all business and accounting schools."

Mr. Byrne's other books include: Informed Consent (McGraw-Hill, 1995); The Headhunters (MacMillan, 1986); Odyssey (Harper & Row, 1987), the business biography of former Apple Computer chairman John Sculley; and The Whiz Kids (Currency/Doubleday, 1993), which explored the life and times of ten Army Air Force officers who helped to remake the Ford Motor Co. in the post-war period. Managment guru Tom Peters called The Whiz Kids "an important milestone in American management analysis. Warren Bennis has said the book is "the best history of American business from World War II to the present." Mr. Byrne also wrote BusinessWeek's Guide to the Best Business Schools (McGraw-Hill, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1995, and 1997) and co-wrote BusinessWeek's Guide to the Best Executive Education Programs (McGraw-Hill, 1992).

As part of a new book imprint division at Poets&Quants, Byrne also is the co-author of "Handicapping Your MBA Odds: Profiles of 101 Applicants & Their Odds of Getting Into a Top Business School." The book was published in the summer of 2012.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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This book is also a quick and easy read.
Brooklyn Joe
A very good collection of successful entrepreneurs; good interviews conducted as background for the book.
Lawrence Sullivan
This is a great book for anyone looking to better themselves and not only in the area of business.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jesse D on March 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The book is written very simply, presumably to appeal to a wider audience, but there is nothing that would trouble an eighth grader with even minimal exposure to business. The book lacks any form of independent thought or contemplation, but is essentially a short profile of each of the entrepreneurs. It appears as though one would learn more about the subjects if one were to look at their Wikipedia pages than by reading the book. Questions such as "what did you learn from that experience?" (229) or "what are the other guiding principles?" (99) are softball questions that are typically asked of entry level job candidates by corporate recruiters.
In the rare instance that an editor of a major news organization receives the chance to interview some of the world's most successful entrepreneurs, one would hope that he would take the advice of his interviewees and seize the "opportunity" to learn something significant. The book lacks any critical thought or process that separates it from other profiles of successful leaders. Indeed, the chapters themselves are more laudatory of the subjects and their achievements than they are critical. As a motivational tool for the uneducated, this book would be effective, but in terms of expanding the decision making capacity of future leaders or managers, "World Changers" serves only to underline rudimentary business concepts.
Having said that, for the marketing novice, the book contains a fair number of ideas presented by each of the subjects that can be useful. "Look for opportunities where you can truly bring a better offering forward to the customers and market you serve" (Dell 123) is good advice for those who are not experienced, but for experienced business students and decision makers it is an elementary concept.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John Coleman on January 10, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In World Changers, John Byrne has assembled a fascinating cast of characters from Oprah Winfrey to Steve Jobs. Through excerpts from their published interviews and Byrne's own one-on-one interviews with these entrepreneurs, Byrne pieces together not just a readable volume of personal narratives but a collection of insights into what it takes to change the world. The stories are diverse, but taken as a whole, they are inspirational and educational. World Changers is a quick read than can be taken on in one sitting or managed in chapter-by-chapter 10 minute chunks. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in building world-class organizations or learning how the great entrepreneurs of our age created the companies and organizations that have helped define our times.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Srikumar S. Rao VINE VOICE on December 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
John Byrne writes well. Chainsaw was an account of Al Dunlap's shenanigans at Scott Paper and later Sunbeam and I thought it was a page turner.

World Changers is not a page turner in the sense that you breathlessly want to know how it all turned out. How can it be when it is a collection of independent chapters? But it is a highly readable book and it gives you a glimpse into the lives and motivations of business titans. And what a group of entrepreneurs he has chosen. Collectively they have redefined the face of global business and spawned companies that are trendsetters in every way - Amazon, Apple, LinkedIn, the Virgin Group, Starbucks, Home Depot, Dell, Microsoft, Whole Foods, Google, Infosys and many others. There are some companies that I would not have included in this group such as Kohler and Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette but that is a minor quibble.

Byrne has been a business journalist for decades - he was editor in chief of Fast Company and Executive Editor of Business Week - and thus is very familiar with his subjects. He uses this knowledge to tie persons together. So, for example, we learn what Michael Dell told Howard Schultz when the latter sought his advice on whether to return to Starbucks and what to do to revive the flagging brand.

Byrne has a keen eye for the revealing story, the one anecdote that gets across the essence of the person being profiled. So you know that Sir Richard Branson is flamboyant but did you know that he had himself hoisted high on Times Square on a crane and and stripped to the buff with his privates covered by a Virgin cell phone. Great publicity stunt that also tried to get the point across that Virgin's service had no "hidden" charges. You learn the Branson's mother "...
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By SEA on January 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I was disappointed when I read the Steve Jobs chapter, which is a copy of the famous Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech 2005, but that is not all! Most of the info is so general that you can read it on the Internet with only a simple search! I know that the World changers are talking a lot about their success and everybody knows their story but exactly that problem should solve an author of a book!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brooklyn Joe on May 8, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was amazing. It gives us a quick glimpse of twenty five modern day business leaders and entrepeneurs. The author writes about them and even interviews some of them to share their experiences and what we can learn from them. I really enjoyed and appreciated many of the works on men I have read about in more detail. It's a nice compilation and review.

Although many lessons are repetitive and the profiles seem to sound the same after a while, I still feel like this was an amazing reinforcement for the reader. I believe that one can never get enough motivation and inspiration. That is what this book truly gives you. It makes you want to go out there and achieve your passionate dreams in life.

This book is also a quick and easy read. The short chapters enable you to ready them quickly but thoroughly. I even took notes on every chapter in order to organize the great lessons learned. Therefore, I don't only recommend this book. I say it is a MUST READ for anyone looking to succeed in business and in life.
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