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Showing 1-10 of 14 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 33 reviews
on March 3, 2017
"Giants of Enterprise" is, fittingly, a giant book: Some 400-odd pages of primary text, plus almost another hundred pages of endnotes and bibliographical comments. In the author's choice to explore several of the most extraordinary of "self-made" capitalists from American history (Carnegie, Eastman, Ford, Watson, Revson, Walton, and Noyce), he offers a textbook-quality examination of each case study -- but that is the book's predominant shortcoming, too.

It is so very long and exhaustive that the reader is challenged to find a true common thread among all seven subjects. They are each intriguing individually, and even a good student of business history is likely to learn something new. But the central thesis of the book -- that these "Giants of Enterprise" stand apart because they either invented breakthrough technologies or applied those technologies in novel ways -- isn't the strongest common thread to bind them all together.
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on September 10, 2014
I was introduced to this book via an article in Investor's Business Daily. It's refreshing to read this kind of history without all of the modern-day revisionist editorializing about "robber barons" or the evil wealthy "one percent". On a personal level, some of the men described in this book were far from moral perfection (especially Henry Ford), but all were years ahead of their time in their respective businesses. The Modern Industrial Era of 20th century America would not have been possible without the efforts of these gentlemen. No view of American history can be complete without understanding who these people were, what they accomplished and what motivated them.
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on April 4, 2013
I was hoping for another set of biographies of these great men. I've read aout them all before, so I really hoped this book had something else. And it did.

More than pointing out the accomplishments of these men and how they did it (which is what most people look for, but unfortunately won't find in any book as these men were great because they were born great), this book analyses the psychological aspect and personalities of these Barons of Industry.

Granted, you won't find secret formulas here. But you will be surprised by how these great men of business were transformed by their accomplishments to the point that, some of them, were unrecognizable years later. A very entertaining read, with the possible exception of the last part dealing with Intel's Noyce, which gets too technical for my taste.
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on March 13, 2017
can be a little slow at times, but its a great read.
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on September 7, 2013
I was surprised to find that this book is as much about the personalities and idiosyncrasies of the seven "giants of enterprise" as it is about their business methods. The book contains a great deal of interesting information and the author takes issue with a number of previous interpretations of the work of these individuals, but I did not come away with any clear overall argument regarding entrepreneurship or the evolution of big business in the U.S.
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on December 5, 2001
In Giants of Enterprise, Dr. Tedlow presents us with analyses of seven unique individuals who utilized their curiosity, their exuberance, and even their haughty foolishness, to shape American business not only during their era, but onward into ours.
Of the seven (who are presented chronologically), Andrew Carnegie first greets us, with his robust demeanor and exquisite manner, energetically shunting from his years as a teenage telegraph boy to pot-luck investor [auspiciously, thanks to his mentor, Tom Scott (p.38)], then quickly onward to cunning business manager and, inevitably, steel mogul. He was a man who quickly outgrew his impecunious upbringing in Scotland as he realized the epitome of the American dream: Limitless wealth, earned by one's own ability. In 1901, Carnegie would be congratulated by J.P. Morgan for achieving the status of "the richest man in the world (p. 64)." (J.P. Morgan was certainly by no means a 'small-timer' himself - his purchase of Carnegie Steel in 1901 founded U.S. Steel, which is now USX [market capitalization of 1.51 billion as of 12/4/01].)
At the turn of the last century, Carnegie was at a point in his life when he could afford to buy tracts of land in New York City for the construction of vast properties, and even purchase a castle back in his homeland of Scotland (today, 'Skibo Castle' is a luxurious golfer's resort).
Nevertheless, Carnegie wished for a power greater than he had achieved. All too often he displayed his callow, unrealistic visions for the world to see throughout his legacy, and Dr. Tedlow exposes these vain dilemmas with compassion and candor, from Carnegie's dealings with labor issues (the inexplicable publication of "The Advantages of Poverty" in 1891, when it was well known that Carnegie was worth quite a hefty sum), to Carnegie's futile attempt to convince Kaiser Wilhelm II to [paraphrased] 'meet with Theodore Roosevelt and warmly embrace [Carnegie's] idea for world peace (p.67),' just before World War I.
And therein lies the crux, the power of Giants of Enterprise: each of these men - these powerful, elite, seemingly invulnerable men - were, inevitably, 'deranged' by their power.
The vigorous, yet cordial prose of Professor Tedlow's shrewd observations span the 500 pages of Giants of Enterprise, and it is delivered gracefully, as if he is across from the fireplace, seated comfortably, sharing a family chronicle (or in this case, several chronicles). Dr. Tedlow does not resort to clinical observations - i.e., the kind typically culled from industry reports - and it greatly humanizes the book, making it a fascinating read. He also seems to eschew trickled-down, corporate bias for the sake of verification of these remarkable histories; it is obvious that the material within this book was exquisitely, exhaustively compiled and examined, cross-checked and researched, in order to establish a factual, honest depiction of the seven subjects. From Andrew Carnegie's aforementioned, misguided strides toward world peace, to Kodak founder George Eastman's seeming Oedipus complex (pp.72-117); from Henry Ford's anti-Semitism (pp.119-178; p.138), to Charles Revson's alleged game-show fixing and blatant misogyny (pp.247-305; p.279; p.303); all of these men are shown to be less than perfect - and Dr. Tedlow displays them in an unerring light that, for the better of all, casts them as the fallible, and very successful, people that they were.
If you've ever taken a picture, or ridden the Amtrak rails; if you've ever watched a game show, worn make-up, or wondered how Wal-Mart keeps their prices so darned low; if you have ever used a computer - to shop online, or even to read a quick book review - Giants of Enterprise will rivet you, be thee an historian; an analyst; a programmer; an MBA; or an inquisitive layman, comfortable at home, sitting by the fire, curious to read several well-written, satisfying tales of some visionaries and their visions, and how America got to where it is today.
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on July 5, 2014
Richard S Tedlow book is a history of businessmen who were great. If you are looking for a how to this book is not it. It discusses some great ideas but I found the book rather boring for its 437 pages. It is a dense read and although it does have some inspiration if is a good book but it is not a page turner.
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on October 27, 2015
A wonderful book on the greats of American business. Some of the "Giants" I heard of others I didn't. A must for any student of business.
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on December 9, 2001
My reading about business is usually limited to the business section of the daily paper, but when I read that Business Week Magazine has named Giants of Enterprise as one of the top ten books about business for this year, I was intrigued enough to have a look at it. Once I began reading, I didn't want to stop! Tedlow's prose is engaging and elegant; he obviously knows his subject thoroughly. As I read about these immensely complicated men, I was amazed by the audacity, creativity, and cunning they showed in their dealings with the world of business. Equally interesting are the glimpses into the personal lives of such figures as Andrew Carnegie, George Eastman, and Henry Ford. This book is about American history as well as the history of business; it has also made me realize that there is such a thing as the psychology of business, although in this field, it is probably as tricky to analyze and try to predict outcomes as it is in the field of economics. I thank Prof. Tedlow for hours of reading pleasure, and for elucidating of many aspects of business that were previously opaque to me. Finally - I thank him for enriching my vocabulary with what he rightly refers to as an "infelicitous" phrase: Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal!
Outstanding.
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on February 19, 2015
Informative, intelligent, and historical. Fun read and very useful in determining management styles for current business
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