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Tough Choices: A Memoir [Hardcover]

Carly Fiorina
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

9 Oct 2006
By accepting the CEO job at Hewlett-Packard, an iconic company that had lost its way, Carly Fiorina confirmed her status as the most powerful businesswoman in America. But she also made herself a target for everyone who disliked her bold leadership style and resented her rapid rise. For six years, as she led HP through drastic changes and a controversial merger, Fiorina was the subject of endless analysis, debate, and speculation. She appeared on the cover of every major magazine and her every word was scrutinized. Yet in all that time, the public never got to know the person behind the persona. "Tough Choices" finally reveals the real Carly Fiorina, who writes with brutal honesty about her triumphs and failures, her deepest fears and most painful confrontations - including her sudden and very public firing by HP's board of directors. It's an amazing life story: Fiorina was a liberal arts major and law school dropout who didn't even consider a business career until her midtwenties. But soon she was blazing through big jobs at AT&T and then Lucent Technologies, with a growing reputation as a creative, hard-working, visionary leader. Her career path would have been remarkable for anyone, but in an industry dominated by men, it was unprecedented. "Tough Choices" shows what it's really like to lead a major corporation in a time of great change while trying to stay true to your values. It's one woman's inspiring story, along with her unique perspective on leadership, technology, globalization, sexism, and many other issues.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 319 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio (9 Oct 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159184133X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591841333
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16.3 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,865,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Superb." - The Economist "This book has more spice, and a great deal more drama. than the typical business autobiography. It is also well written, sometimes moving, and refreshingly candid." - The Sunday Telegraph" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
HOW A STORY ENDS has much to do with how it begins, and so I must begin with my mother and father. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revealing trip into Carly Fiorina's world 28 Mar 2007
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
At last, Carly Fiorina speaks for herself. The controversial Hewlett-Packard ex-CEO starts at the beginning, which means that anyone interested in her perspective on the HP/Compaq merger and her subsequent firing should skip straight to chapter 20. Nevertheless, her full story is important. Willingly or not, Fiorina remains a role model for women in business. The devil is in the details - in this case, her breathlessly earnest descriptions of the inner workings of various AT&T business units (not as interesting as all that precedes and follows), and numerous slightly preachy digressions on the challenges and virtues of leadership (her leadership, of course). Despite these flaws, or perhaps because of them, Fiorina reveals herself as a human being who cries, takes risks that don't always work out and agonizes over difficult decisions. She introduces a kinder, gentler woman to readers who may know only her ruthless reputation as reported by outsiders. We think this memoir makes fascinating reading for managers at all levels.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Jonathan Gifford VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
This interesting if self-congratulatory book sadly leaves all of the more interesting questions unanswered. The defining action of Fiorina's six year stewardship of Hewlett Packard was the merger of HP with Compaq in 2001. It ran into huge opposition from the company's own shareholders, led by the son of founder Bill Hewlett. Did Fiorina see this coming? Apparently not. After her successful defence and implementation of the merger, Fiorina gets summarily sacked by the board. Why? Fiorina has no idea. It's a mystery.
Fiorina had already acquired the unfortunate nickname of `Chainsaw Carly' as a result of her swingeing programme of cuts and lay-offs following the crash of the technology bubble in late 2000. But her assessment of the state of the industry post-crash (and then post-nine eleven) was almost certainly more right than most other people's: growth rates of five times GDP were a thing of the past; it was time for the still-young industry to consolidate.
Fiorina is keen to portray the Compaq merger as 'not her baby': another board member first raises the idea; Fiorina is cautious; all options are explored; the board finally and unanimously endorse the decision to undertake the merger. But investors and Wall Street as a whole are deeply sceptical. More importantly, Walter Hewlett spearheads a shareholder revolt aimed at preventing the merger. Things get very nasty, but Carly leads a successful defense and the merger is finally approved.
Fiorina's implementation of the merger is deeply impressive, and reflects her core belief in attention to detail. Whatever faults Fiorina may have, she emerges from this book as a class act in terms of the leadership and management of major initiatives at the highest possible level.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Revealing trip into Carly Fiorina's world 28 Mar 2007
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
At last, Carly Fiorina speaks for herself. The controversial Hewlett-Packard ex-CEO starts at the beginning, which means that anyone interested in her perspective on the HP/Compaq merger and her subsequent firing should skip straight to chapter 20. Nevertheless, her full story is important. Willingly or not, Fiorina remains a role model for women in business. The devil is in the details - in this case, her breathlessly earnest descriptions of the inner workings of various AT&T business units (not as interesting as all that precedes and follows), and numerous slightly preachy digressions on the challenges and virtues of leadership (her leadership, of course). Despite these flaws, or perhaps because of them, Fiorina reveals herself as a human being who cries, takes risks that don't always work out and agonizes over difficult decisions. She introduces a kinder, gentler woman to readers who may know only her ruthless reputation as reported by outsiders. We think this memoir makes fascinating reading for managers at all levels.
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Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring insights into living life to the full. 28 Jun 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the best book of any category I have read for a long time. It gripped me with the intensity of an intriguing and thrilling novel. It moved me with its insights into humanity and the brutality of which we are capable. It taught me, especially about the purpose and value of both leadership and management, and their differing roles. Carly Fiorina's memoir is exceptionally well written. It is deeply insightful into the way people, as well as industry and corporations, function. It is unfailingly generous, even when dealing with gross betrayal. This book is clear, perceptive and inspiring. It is a challenge to living well and leading others.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
This is an amazing book. If you are interested in management and business I would defiantly recommend reading it. Alongside the story of Carly Fiorina's career she gives lots of interesting insights and observations on life in general and business management.
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