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In Their Time: The Greatest Business Leaders Of The Twentieth Century Hardcover – September 1, 2005

5.0 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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The authors, Harvard Business School academics, offer profiles from their exhaustive study of the greatest business leaders of the twentieth century. Leadership arises from knowledge and appreciation of one's economic, social, and political situation in the world, and we learn about "contextual intelligence," or the understanding of how to make sense of one's time and to seize the opportunities it presents. Mayo and Nohira classify great business chiefs as entrepreneurs, those who create businesses; managers, those expert at taking advantage of every opportunity; and leaders, those who reinvent industries and see new opportunities in them. With the book's organization by each decade of the twentieth century, we learn the importance of such legends as Sam Walton, Walt Disney, Bill Gates, Henry Ford, Ray Kroc, Jack Welsh, Estee Lauder,^B Ted Turner, Lee Iacocca, and Lou Gerstner Jr. Recognition is also given to "unsung heroes," the large corps of nameless team members who provide support. Although written in a textbook manner, the book offers valuable insight into business excellence. Mary Whaley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Anthony J. Mayo is the executive director of the Harvard Business School Leadership Initiative program. Nitin Nohria is Richard P. Chapman Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and the author of several books on management and leadership.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 444 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 50443rd edition (September 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591393450
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591393450
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #415,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
When I ordered In Their Time I was expecting a book of business biographies. I thought the usual suspects--Gates, Ford, Channel, Walton--would all be featured. Instead the book went three steps further.

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
3. Demography
4. Social Mores
5. Technology
6. Labor

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.
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Format: Hardcover
The field of leadership is littered with numerous books that are nothing more than anecdote based accounts that conclude with a list of platitudes for successful leadership. For those who want to go beyond the cute lists of success factors for leadership that lack much substance to a well researched, historically grounded, and comprehensive account of what really makes great leaders, this is your book. This book is among one of the first to try to go beyond contemporary fads and fashions that may be in vogue to take a detailed look over a 100 year time period and distill the essential qualities that have made great leaders across this extraordinary century in human history. The authors uncover the important quality of contextual intelligence evident in great leaders across this time period and provide inspiration and insight for those who aspire to follow in their footsteps. A must read for anyone on the journey to great leadership!
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Format: Hardcover
What makes some leaders of some businesses soar to success over their competition? The authors of this book has studied some 1,000 of the centuries business leaders that have made their companies into household names. They were attempting to find out what made these leaders succeed while others languished.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
This book explores how context, over time, creates different types of opportunities, and how business legends can be defined by the types of opportunities they pursued. What distinguishes this book from similar studies of legendary leaders, managers and entrepreneurs, is the underlying theme of contextual intelligence-the profound awareness and sensitivity to macro-level factors driving the creation, growth or transformation of business at a particular time. The authors discuss and assess the great names in business in the context of their time, organizing the book by decades, beginning in 1900 through the end of the last century. The book makes for fascinating,d enjoyable reading. This is a top-notch contribution to the study of those who have created and shaped business enterprises.
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Format: Hardcover
Gives good sense of American economy combined with history and the leaders who shaped the economy.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
I recently read Paths to Power, co-authored by Anthony Mayo and Nitin Nohria with Laura G. Singleton, as well as this book in which Mayo and Nohria also focus on some of the greatest business leaders of the twentieth century. As in Paths to Power, rather than limiting their attention to a set number of exemplary leaders - in chronological order -- and then devoting a separate chapter to each, Mayo and Nohria chose instead to examine the evolution of 20th century business leadership in terms of the ten decades, assigning to each an appropriate theme while frequently cross-referencing throughout the entire century. For example, Chapter One (1900-1909) is titled "The Land of Opportunity"; Chapter Six (1950-1959) is "Feeding the Machine of Consumption"; and Chapter Ten (1990-1999) is "Reengineering, Restructuring, and Reality Check."

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 ›
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