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In Their Time: The Greatest Business Leaders Of The Twentieth Century Hardcover – September 1, 2005
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First the great business leaders were not only described but they were also characterized by their ability to seize the opportunities that existed in their time.
Second the book breaks down the "happenings of the time" into 6 key components.
1. Government Intervention
2. Global Affairs
4. Social Mores
Third it taught me how to look upon our current world to better identify where we are heading (while providing me with a solid understanding of where we have been.)
In Their Time was a massive undertaking by Tony Mayo and Nitin Nohria. Like good researchers they changed their focus several times as new trends became evident. The result is a book that is provocative and profound, entertaining and educational.
Jason C. Steinle.
One factor recognized by the leaders is something they call 'contextual intelligence.' This is an ability to understand the times in which they are working. Through this factor, they are able to direct their company to take advantage of the times. Bill Gates and Microsoft for instance came along at just the right time to capitalize on new personal computer market. There were other software companies with competing products, but they are now just part of the history.
The business leaders that have succeeded so well are put into three general categories:
Entrepreneurial Innovation - Here is Microsoft, but also Ford, Disney, Wal-Mart. This is the biggest category
Savvy Management - Such as Alfred P. Sloan who took over a struggling auto company and made is a giant - General Motors.
Transformational Leadership - Jack Welch who transformed GE from a faltering conglomerate into a powerhouse in selected industry segments.
It gives excellent details about how the business leaders leveraged the environment (business context) to succeed.
It is very inspirational to anyone thinking of creating a business and dreaming of making it big.
In my opinion, as in their later book (Paths to Power), Mayo and Nohria's role, is more that of cultural anthropologists than as biographers or even business historians. They create a social and economic context within a 100-year framework as they examine what differentiated outsiders from insiders in business leadership in the 20th century.
In the city where I live, we have a number of outdoor markets at which slices of fresh fruit are offered as samples of the produce available. In that same spirit, I frequently include brief excerpts such as these from a book to help those who read my review to get a "taste." Here is a representative selection from the material that Mayo and Nohria provide:
"The business executives of the first decade were driven, opportunistic, and innovative. They operated on a large scale and constantly expanded their base of power.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Favorite business book to share with others! It won't disappoint ever! Extremely well written and riveting from beginning to the end as we learn from the past to help create a... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Sue Thirlwall
Very useful book - I've read others like this, and I feel this one did a better job at weaving context and continuity. Read morePublished on February 7, 2014 by lilcreative
I expected that a book on business leadership published by the Harvard Business School would be solid reading and I was anticipating the traditional 10 Best with honorable... Read morePublished on September 12, 2010 by johnjhogan
This is an important read beyond the standard insights of Collins, Charan and others. The historical settings of each leader are detailed to set the traits and skills of each... Read morePublished on August 10, 2007 by Lightyearscapes