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Tough Choices: A Memoir Paperback – Bargain Price, September 25, 2007
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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.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
What struck me as the biggest disconnect between the book and what we saw was Carly's emphasis in the book that "strategy and execution are two sides of the same coin." Nice phrase. Too bad she didn't actually do it, though it seems she thought she did. Her strategic visions were always compelling, though of course they changed from one marketing campaign to the next (from "leading technology company" to "all the world is digital, virtual, etc, etc"). So maybe you can't really call them strategies. But far worse was the execution. There was no accountability. There were matrix orgainizations everywhere. We saw the sales force sandbagging every quarter, mentioned this up the line, and were told to shut up. We saw the "42 longs" in the senior management ranks and marveled at how long they got away with non-performance. We saw that 65% of our operating expenses came from assessments over which we had no control. When we complained, we were called "whiners" and told to live with it. It's this kind of stuff that Hurd has fixed.
Then there were the small irritations. In the book, she complains about people being overly polite and not airing their true feelings.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book written by a highly intelligent lady. It gives you a lot of insights on the complexities of the business world for a women in a cutthroat business.Published 1 month ago by E. Bonus
I really really admire this woman. Didn't hear much about her until the 2016 presidential race but once I started hearing her speak at the debates and reading up on who she is I... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jacob
Carly Fiorina is a strong woman, leader, and survivor. This book is a great read about a woman who I feel would've made a great first female President.Published 4 months ago by Matt
Carly is transparent, Her book tells her mistakes. It describes how she dealt with challenges. Despite her fear, she runs into burning buildings not away from them - and helps... Read morePublished 6 months ago by J Philip
It took me 10 years to get around to reading a book I got back in 2007 - and time makes the book better. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Edward J. Barton
I would have preferred more details about her background;family, schooling.interests,religious beliefs that brought her to make those tough choices.Published 8 months ago by water garden lady