Jack Welch. He’s the “big guy” everybody in the business world wants to become but (apparently) can’t because he’s just that big of a legend. A superhero. America’s Toughest Boss. Neutron Jack. I’ve always wondered what the fuss was about. I’d see his name in the headlines and I knew he was the CEO who brought GE’s market share from $14billion to more than $140 billion. He was a CEO for twenty years and prior to his executive role, he had worked at GE for twenty years – he started from the bottom and quickly rose to the top. Unlike his intimidating nicknames, however, the book reflected his soft side and love for his passion, people, and philosophies. His autobiography, Jack: Straight From the Gut, is a quick-paced, easy read. I spent all day yesterday reading the 500+ pages and it was rather inspiring. I think his being born in Massachusetts was a cherry on top for me (and he is a Sox fan!). He speaks of every little detail of his life including, his personal growth, his fond relationship with his strong-headed mother, and his ambition for the transformation of the company.
He was an amazing CEO but he came from a humble, morally-rooted, and over-zealous background, which makes him more extraordinary and respectful. He includes anecdotes that illustrates the kind of vision he had during his time at GE, and of women and men who showed efforts beyond his expectations that contributed to making GE one of the most successful firms of its time. Not to mention- he did have to fire over ten thousand employees to create a tighter, more cultured, and well-rounded company. The cutbacks during his term helped GE’s market share increase drastically. Although this type of book should not be evaluated by its literary nature, I couldn’t help but get a tiny bit bored by his layman use of words and context. I know, I know; it’s not a memoir or creative-writing but a bit of proactive adjectives could have helped spice up the tone. Otherwise, JACK is an invigorating book that shares how the American dream of an unconventional man led him to become the Exec of the Century.
dee’s recommendation: 4/5