cover image Xbox Revisited: A Game Plan for Corporate and Civic Renewal

Xbox Revisited: A Game Plan for Corporate and Civic Renewal

Robbie Bach. Brown (Ingram, dist.), $24.95 (232p) ISBN 978-1-61254-848-7

This debut from Microsoft’s former chief Xbox officer is an entertaining and refreshingly honest, if sometimes overreaching, exploration of business strategy, personal growth, and civic responsibility. Bach, now retired, sets out lessons learned in 22 years of leading Xbox and other Microsoft businesses, and shows that they can be applied to various societal issues. In fluidly assembled chapters, Bach tells the captivating story of Xbox, starting with a demoralized, fragmented team and the console’s disastrous launch at a trade show (where the “on” button malfunctioned); despite a press junket that coincided with news of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the console eventually achieved blockbuster success. While showing how he grew as a manager and leader, Bach explains that he simultaneously gained new personal skills while collaborating with his wife to save their marriage after overwork took a toll. He goes on to present his “3P Framework”—Purpose, Principles, Priorities—as a clear, commonsense way to look at problems. Unfortunately, when Bach transitions halfway through the book to discussing the U.S.’s civic challenges—including the need for education reform and a general lack of principles—the tone of the work falters. Readers who don’t share his opinions will not be enthralled, but they should still appreciate the useful business tips and frank, suspenseful narrative. (Sept.)