WINNING

Jack Welch, Author, Suzy Welch, Author with Suzy Welch. HarperCollins $27.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-075394-8

One oft-heard comment about Welch's generally praised (and bestselling) 2001 memoir, Jack: Straight from the Gut , was that the book skimped on useful business advice. The respected but controversial former chief of General Electric pays readers back double here. Written with Welch's wife, a onetime editor of the Harvard Business Review , the book delivers a brilliant career's worth of consistently astute (and often iconoclastic) business wisdom and knowledge from the man Fortune magazine called "the manager of the century." Welch knows what he's talking about, and here offers an admirably concise primer on how to do business that's a paragon of tough common sense. From practices he employed at GE (e.g., the much-debated differentiation, which includes winnowing 10% of the workforce at regular intervals), to the personal qualities that lead to success (to Welch, candor is essential), to advice on job hunting and how to work with a bad boss, to ways to maximize the budget process (divorce it from performance rewards), Welch comments frankly and by myriad example, with a common touch that will draw readers in ("that was hardly the first time I'd gotten my clock cleaned by the press"). He explains upfront that the book arose as an attempt to codify his beliefs, in response to the many questions he's received at numerous public appearances since he retired from GE in 2001; as such the book has a somewhat lumpy feel, like an overstuffed bag of presents. But the writing, full of personality and ideas, is a model of clarity and insight, even on such dense subjects as the quality control program Six Sigma. It's difficult to think of anyone in business who wouldn't benefit from reading this savvy, engaging cubicle-to-boardroom guide to success; and it's likely, given Welch's reputation and the massive ad/promo HarperCollins is putting behind the book, that enough business people will want to read it to push it toward the top of the charts. (Apr. 5)

Reviewed on: 02/28/2005
Release date: 04/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
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