The Best 12 Books on Jack Welch
Jack Welch has long been esteemed as one of the greatest business leaders of our time. An ordinary man who came from modest means, he developed an extraordinary character and an effective executive style that, when he was tapped to lead General Electric in 1981, vaulted him into business history. His remarkable story is truly an inspiration to leaders from all walks of life.
In Jack Welch and Leadership, business expert and bestselling author James W. Robinson illuminates the leadership secrets of a man who created an unflinching set of principles that enabled him to not only conquer obstacles in his youth, but also triumph in a brutal marketplace that destroys billion-dollar corporations in the blink of an eye. You'll discover how Welch's vision and inexhaustible energy allowed him to take GE from a $13 billion organization to a $494 billion cash engine, how his demand for precision and excellence spawned the legendary Work-Out program, and how his passion for teaching created a corporate culture that cultivated new leaders. From the dark days of the Kidder Peabody scandal and the failed Honeywell bid to the renaissance of NBC and GE's securing its place atop the business world, Robinson reveals a Welch who is both steely and human.
Today's business world requires leaders with guts and an indomitable spirit who can turn on a dime and build real company value. Welch was such a leader—he succeeded brilliantly where others failed. Guided by his magnificent example, so can you.
"Jack Welch has not only trasformed General Electric into a global powerhouse, his leadership principles and management initiatives have inspired legions of fans and followers throughout the business community. It's a tremendous American success story, and Jim Robinson is the ideal person to tell it."
—Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
#1 Wall Street Journal Bestseller and New York Times Bestseller
The business titans and #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling authors of Winning return with a modern, essential guide for everyone in business today—and tomorrow—that explores the most pressing challenges related to creating winning strategies, leading and managing others, and building a thriving career.
In the decade since their blockbuster international bestseller Winning was published, Jack and Suzy Welch have dug deeper into business, traveling the world consulting to organizations of every size and in every industry, speaking before hundreds of audiences, working closely with entrepreneurs from Mumbai to Silicon Valley, and, in 2010, starting their own fully accredited online MBA program, which now has approximately 1,000 students enrolled. Over the same time frame, Jack has advised more than seventy-five companies through private equity, and dozens more in a senior advisory role at IAC. Now, Jack and Suzy Welch draw on their experiences to address the biggest problems facing modern management—and offer pragmatic solutions to overcome them.
Going beyond theories, concepts, and ideologies, they tackle the real stuff of work today. When you get down to it, they argue, winning in business is all about mastering the gritty, inescapable, make-or-break, real-life dilemmas that define the new economy, the old economy, and everything in between. Work is a grind. We just got whacked. My boss is driving me nuts. I’m stuck in career purgatory. My team has lost its mojo. IT is holding us hostage. Our strategy is outdated the day we launch it. We don’t know what our Chinese partners are talking about. We’re just not growing. These are some of the day-to-day issues the Welches take on. Coupled with Jack’s years of iconic leadership and Suzy’s insights as former editor of the Harvard Business Review, their new database of knowledge infuses The Real Life MBA with fresh, relevant stories and equally powerful solutions that every manager at any level can use right now.
In Winning, their 2005 international bestseller, Jack and Suzy Welch created a rare document, both a philosophical treatise on fundamental business practices and a gritty how-to manual, all of it delivered with Jack's trademark candor and can-do optimism. It seemed as if "no other management book," in the words of legendary investor Warren E. Buffett, would "ever be needed."
Instead, Winning uncovered an insatiable thirst to talk about work. Since the book's publication, the Welches have received literally thousands of questions from college students and seasoned professionals alike, on subjects ranging from leadership and global competition to tough bosses and building teamwork. Indeed, questions about virtually every business and career challenge have poured in—some familiar, others surprising, many urgent and probing, and all of them powerfully real.
Winning: The Answers takes on the most relevant of these questions, and in doing so, its candid, hard-hitting responses expand and extend the conversation Jack and Suzy Welch began with Winning. It is a dialogue that is sure to be both compelling and immensely useful to anyone and everyone engaged in the vital work of helping an organization grow and thrive.
Jack Welch knows how to win. During his forty-year career at General Electric, he led the company to year-after-year success around the globe, in multiple markets, against brutal competition. His honest, be-the-best style of management became the gold standard in business, with his relentless focus on people, teamwork, and profits.
Since Welch retired in 2001 as chairman and chief executive officer of GE, he has traveled the world, speaking to more than 250,000 people and answering their questions on dozens of wide-ranging topics.
Inspired by his audiences and their hunger for straightforward guidance, Welch has written both a philosophical and pragmatic book, which is destined to become the bible of business for generations to come. It clearly lays out the answers to the most difficult questions people face both on and off the job.
Welch's objective is to speak to people at every level of an organization, in companies large and small. His audience is everyone from line workers to MBAs, from project managers to senior executives. His goal is to help everyone who has a passion for success.
Welch begins Winning with an introductory section called "Underneath It All," which describes his business philosophy. He explores the importance of values, candor, differentiation, and voice and dignity for all.
The core of Winning is devoted to the real "stuff" of work. This main part of the book is split into three sections. The first looks inside the company, from leadership to picking winners to making change happen. The second section looks outside, at the competition, with chapters on strategy, mergers, and Six Sigma, to name just three. The next section of the book is about managing your career—from finding the right job to achieving work-life balance.
Welch's optimistic, no excuses, get-it-done mind-set is riveting. Packed with personal anecdotes and written in Jack's distinctive no b.s. voice, Winning offers deep insights, original thinking, and solutions to nuts-and-bolts problems that will change the way people think about work.
"Jack Welch has long been one of my heroes. When you read this bookyou will understand why." -Warren Buffett Chairman, BerkshireHathaway.
"Jack Welch is a management genius who attacks life as he doesbusiness-with unconventional flair, a restless intellect, and notolerance for phonies. And I'd say that even if he weren't myboss!" -Tom Brokaw Anchor and Managing Editor, NBC
"Jack Welch describes himself as 'just a man in a room.' Janet Lowetakes us into this room by letting the man speak for himself.Through his own words, it becomes clear why he is listened to andemulated all over the world. Big man, big room." -Sam Nunn FormerU.S. Senator; Partner, King and Spalding.
"All too often, the journalistic adulation heaped upon businessleaders is misplaced or vastly overstated. In the case of Welch,he's even better than his press." -Larry Bossidy Chairman and CEO,Allied Signal Inc.
"Jack Welch Speaks shows business at its most fascinating. It givesthe reader a valuable insight into the mind and personal philosophyof one of America's keenest, most effective business leaders." -ElyCallaway Founder and Chairman, Callaway Golf.
"The gold standard against which other CEOs are measured."-BusinessWeek.
"The most acclaimed SOB of the last decade is the most acclaimedCEO of this one." -Industry Week.
He is one of the most praised, perhaps the most feared, andcertainly one of the most confounding and controversial bosses inAmerica-a complex, intensely private man, revered as the manager'smanager. As Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GeneralElectric, Jack Welch has been at the forefront of thereconstruction of American industry. From the moment he assumed hisposition 16 years ago, Welch sought dramatic and swift change. Hequickly realized the demands of the new, global, high-techenvironment, and met the challenge with decisive action and, in theopinion of many, ruthless determination. He broadened corporateAmerica's vocabulary with words that still strike terror in thehearts of many an employee: restructuring, downsizing, rightsizing.In the process, Jack Welch turned an aging, albeit highly respectedand historic, business icon into what is considered by many todayto be the best managed company in the world and, above all, one ofthe most profitable.
Now, Janet Lowe, author of the bestselling Warren Buffett Speaks,presents in Welch's own words the insights, vision, passions, andpersuasions of a legendary leader. Here's just a sample of whatyou'll find inside:
* "We're going to demand from you earnings growth every year. . . .Those are the rules of the road. . . . You take charge of yourdestiny. If you don't, we will."
* "As I went to bigger pieces of GE, I found bigger bureaucracies,layers and all that stuff and it wasn't friendly. Business was veryserious-turf-boxes. Business isn't that. Business is ideas and funand excitement and celebrations, all those things."
* "When you're running an institution, you're always scared atfirst. You're afraid you might break it."
* "If someone tells me 'I'm working 90 hours a week,' I say,'You're doing something terribly wrong.' I go skiing on theweekend, I go out with my buddies on Friday and party. You've gotto do the same or you've got a bad deal."
* "Speed is everything. It is the indispensable ingredient incompetitiveness. Speed keeps business and people young. It'saddictive, and it's a profoundly American taste we need tocultivate."
In the fully revised Second Edition of Jack Welch Speaks, Lowe presents-in Jack Welch's own words-the insights, visions, and philosophies that have guided Welch throughout his extraordinary career at GE and his post-GE life. This book offers an objective assessment of Welch-from the management principles that helped him soar to the controversy surrounding his compensation package-and provides lessons in leadership that cannot be found anywhere else. With this book as their guide, readers will not only learn how Jack Welch became one of the world's most-lauded CEOs, but they'll also discover exactly what it takes to achieve unparalleled success in today's dynamic business environment.
Janet Lowe (Carlsbad, CA and Santa Fe, NM) is the author of the bestselling Bill Gates Speaks (0-471-29353-9) and Oprah Winfrey Speaks (0-471-39994-9). Her articles have appeared in such publications as Newsweek, the Christian Science Monitor, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle.