- Hardcover: 141 pages
- Publisher: Crown Business; 1 edition (February 13, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0609608398
- ISBN-13: 978-0609608395
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 98 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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What the CEO Wants You to Know : How Your Company Really Works Hardcover – February 13, 2001
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Ram Charan learned about business from his family's shoe shop in India before attending Harvard Business School and going on to advise senior executives in companies large and small. His experiences taught him that universal laws apply "whether you sell fruit from a stand or are running a Fortune 500 company," and that the business acumen that comes from understanding these basics can be applied throughout any operation. What the CEO Wants You to Know is Charan's primer on this point, which he illustrates with explanations filtered through the eyes of street venders and other small shopkeepers. One, for example, involves a woman in Managua, Nicaragua, who sells clothing from a small cart and beats the oppressive interest rates on her loans and the puny profit margins on her goods with a skillfully selected inventory that is quickly and repeatedly turned over. Whether it's a corner merchant or a giant manufacturing concern, Charan notes, "the faster the velocity, the higher the return." Relating such thinking to cash generation, customer satisfaction, and other essentials, he describes the universal principles that help all companies make money. "What your CEO wants you to know is how these fundamentals of business work in your company," he writes before embarking on a very lucid explanation that can be quickly absorbed and put into practice. --Howard Rothman
From Publishers Weekly
Charan (Boards at Work), a consultant, draws an analogy between the decision-making processes of the CEO and the street vendor in his native India. The vendor must focus on profit margin, returns and customer demands. CEOs must "Think like the street vendor. Cut through to the nucleus of the business." Successful leaders, says Charan, aren't afraid to seek help---from coaches, colleagues or employees. With its friendly, conversational tone, this book will be useful to some readers on the lower and middle rungs, but may prove too simplistic for aspiring CEOs.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
Unfortunately, this book is not like that. Apart from a single chapter outlining the main drivers of the business (cash, growth, margin, velocity, and customer satisfaction) most of the pages he just talks about how brilliant certain CEO's are in their leadership, without making it sufficiently clear how exactly they did this. E.g. they "picked the right people", as if managers want to pick the wrong ones! The problem is that it is trying to cover too wide a scope with all types of companies. For me, this book just touches the surface and does not provide anything new.
In my view, this is probably the single best business book written because it simplifies the fundmentals of business through comparing a simple business in India with decisions make in complex corporations.
Any confusion readers may have about this book could occur because so many people in business do not understand the fundamentals of business. Rather, they understand specifics about their specialty. The job of a CEO is difficult principally because of the need to weave together all aspects of a business into each decision.
The problem that most career executives have is that they rise through functional ranks, or even with general management experience, lack the fully rounded business experience of someone who is completely responsible for a business from shareholder's through to customers. This is the point of the book - to help readers understand the overall business.