Book Reviews and Products
Jack: Straight From The Gut
By Jack Welch and John A. Byrne
This book is vintage Jack Welch: down to earth, powerful, and filled with
common sense. (Click here for a free chapter on Building Self-Confidence)
As CEO of General Electric for the past twenty years, he has built its market
cap by more than $450 billion and established himself as the most admired
business leader in the world. His championing of initiatives like Six Sigma
quality, globalization, and e-business have helped define the modern
corporation. At the same time, he's a gutsy boss who has forged a unique
philosophy and an operating system that relies on a "boundaryless" sharing of
ideas, an intense focus on people, and an informal, give-and-take style that
makes bureaucracy the enemy.
In anecdotal detail and with self-effacing humor, Jack Welch gives us the
people (most notably his Irish mother) who shaped his life and the big hits and
the big misses that characterized his career.
"Jack is the Tiger Woods of management."
-Warren Buffett, Chairman, Berkshire Hathaway
Starting at GE in 1960 as an engineer earning $10,500, Jack learned the need
for "getting out of the pile" when his first raise was the same as everyone
else's. He stayed out of the corporate bureaucracy while running a $2 billion
collection of GE businesses -- in a sweater and blue jeans -- out of a Hilton in
After avoiding GE's Fairfield, Connecticut headquarters for years, Jack was
eventually summoned by then Chairman Reg Jones, who was planning his succession.
There ensued one of the most painful parts of his career -- Jack's dark-horse
struggle, filled with political tension, to make it to the CEO's chair. A hug
from Reg confirmed Jack was the new boss -- and started the GE transformation.
"JACK is about something so rarely encountered in American life today. That something is called getting it right. Getting it really right....The point of this book is to help us understand how Jack Welch got it done."
-Michael M. Thomas, Financial Observer
Welch walks us through the "Neutron Jack" years, when GE's employment rolls
fell by more than 100,000 as part of a strategy to "fix, sell, or close" each
business; and how he used the purchase of RCA to provide a foundation for the
company's future earnings. There were mistakes, too -- and Jack confronts them
openly. In "Too Full of Myself," he describes one of the biggest blunders: The
purchase of Kidder Peabody, which ran counter to GE's culture.
The riveting story of his last year -- the elaborate process of selecting a
successor and the attempt to buy Honeywell -- is also told in compelling detail.
This book is laced with refreshing interludes, such as "A Short Reflection on
Golf," that capture Jack's competitiveness and the importance of friendship in
his life. Destined to become a business classic, Jack: Straight From The
Gut is a deeply personal journey filled with passion and a sheer lust for
Biography & Autobiography
A category of Hachette Book Group USA
Also Available as an AudioBook.