The Self-Made Billionaire Effect: How Extreme Producers Create Massive Value

John Sviokla and Mitch Cohen. Penguin/Portfolio, $27.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-59184-763-2
Who wants to be a billionaire? And how, exactly, does that happen? The second question is what Sviokla and Cohen explore in this in-depth examination of the traits that self-made billionaires share. The authors set up a research team at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where both of them work, to study a randomly selected sample of 120 such moguls. The results dispel some common misconceptions, like that recently minted billionaires tend to be young and in the tech industry; in fact, fewer than 20% of the sample group came from this sector. According to Sviokla and Cohen, the people they surveyed– including such well-known names as Joe Mansueto from investment research firm MorningH; Sara Blakeley from Spanx; and Chip Wilson from Lululemon– typically differed from other high achievers in that they mastered multiple skills, not just one. The book's most helpful insights, however, are into creating corporate cultures that will promote the same type of behavior exhibited by billionaires. Its prose is, at times, overly jargon-filled: "the job of leadership in promoting Producer-friendly culture change is to put a wrapper of legitimacy around non-traditional activity." The ideas, meanwhile, aren't always as specific as they should be. Still, this ambitious book deserves a few hours' worth of attention from equally ambitious readers. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/2014
Release date: 12/30/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-4690-6201-3
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