Customer Reviews


23 Reviews
5 star:
 (12)
4 star:
 (6)
3 star:
 (5)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine lesson in the art of management
Not only an interesting and compelling potted history of one of the global economies leading companies, this audiobook is also a fascinating diary, detailing the personal trials and triumphs of Louis Gerstner. He comes across as a man of action and vision, someone who while unafraid to make unpopular decisions regarding company restructuring, always led from the heart...
Published on 30 Jan 2005 by Richard MCGUINNESS

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good primer on business basics, but not a compelling yarn
This is a fairly good book by an immensely talented CEO. It takes up more or less a few decades after the retirement of one of the greatest businessmen of the 20C (TWatson Jr.), when the business had lost its way and was under attack by extremely nimble rivals.
Gerstner took over the failing, almost bankrupt, company and both re-made its startegy and culture,...
Published on 20 April 2011 by rob crawford


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine lesson in the art of management, 30 Jan 2005
By 
Richard MCGUINNESS "rich_mcg" (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?: How I Turned Around IBM (Audio CD)
Not only an interesting and compelling potted history of one of the global economies leading companies, this audiobook is also a fascinating diary, detailing the personal trials and triumphs of Louis Gerstner. He comes across as a man of action and vision, someone who while unafraid to make unpopular decisions regarding company restructuring, always led from the heart. His descriptions of difficult choices and hard-won results make this a great mini-MBA - some very valuable management advice is there for the taking. And it sure beats listening to the radio on the drive to the office!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Louis V. Gerstner Jr.'s fascinating account of how he saved IBM, 28 April 2011
By 
Rolf Dobelli "getAbstract" (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Legendary CEO Louis V. Gerstner Jr. pulled off the turnaround of the century by bringing IBM back from near bankruptcy. He completely remade IBM, a monumental task considering its size, its hallowed traditions and mission, its strong corporate culture, and the remarkable challenges it faced in a rapidly evolving marketplace. He details the steps he took to resurrect IBM and restore its legendary leadership position, and he explains why he chose a bold, risky path to strengthen and unify the iconic company when astute observers believed it had become an irrelevant corporate relic. Gerstner says that even though he wasn't an author, he decided not to use a ghostwriter. Be glad he stuck with his own voice. getAbstract finds that he has written a superior business book: analytical, well organized, focused and methodical - a work of masterful storytelling in straight-shooter prose. Current and aspiring CEOs can learn from Gerstner's war stories and from his visionary leadership. This may be an ironic twist, considering Gerstner's famous quote that IBM didn't need vision - it needed superior strategizing and marketplace performance. As it turns out, he supplied all that and vision, too.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?, 27 Sep 2008
By 
Louis Gerstner, In my opinion, tells a compelling story of his experience, leading the amazing "turn-around" of this behemoth, ... IBM a commecial-Industrial Dinosaur, rushing to its' extinction!
Gerstner details the defying approach he was able to employ, with the help of others who, also, were able to "see the woods for the trees" and did what was necessary ... not, what was possible!

I found it to be a fine account of corporate bravery, informed determination & exceptional leadership, in the face of great uncertainty. I recommend it as an excellent text of how, in the face of adversity, with the correct insight, ability and determined belief, even an overwhelming commercial culture which has lost its way, and its purpose, can again have its great assets gainfully deployed.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent account of how to turn around a supertanker., 8 May 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?: How I Turned Around IBM (Audio CD)
Changing corporate culture is one of the toughest jobs that any CEO can undertake so it great to hear from someone who has done it. Fascinating and inspirational. Great to listen to on the way to the office.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good primer on business basics, but not a compelling yarn, 20 April 2011
By 
rob crawford "Rob Crawford" (Balmette Talloires, France) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This is a fairly good book by an immensely talented CEO. It takes up more or less a few decades after the retirement of one of the greatest businessmen of the 20C (TWatson Jr.), when the business had lost its way and was under attack by extremely nimble rivals.
Gerstner took over the failing, almost bankrupt, company and both re-made its startegy and culture, re-focusing it on customer needs and re-engineering it (i.e. laying off an awful lot of people). In this book, he tells the outlines of how he did it, which is indeed extremely interesting. In particular, he stresses that while a strategy is needed, implementation of it is far more important.

Unfortunately, he does not go into enough detail for the reader to fully understand what he faced and how he did it. Neither the technology nor the brutal methods he had to employ were adequately addressed, at least for me. I read it carefully and did not feel I had had quite the full meal I expected. The reader also gets virtually no insight into what makes Gerstner tick, other than that he "wants to win" with passion. THe book was also entirely written by Gerstner; his style is competent, if somewhat like a business memo: good analyses are "actionable" and effective actions are "impactful."

Nonetheless, this is a very good primer on basic strategy and organizational behavior. He has lots of valuable advice to give and pinpoints many important issues. I will keep it and return to it.

THere were some things that I found questionable and surprising, if also unintentionally revealing. FOr example, he made IBM both an honest broker in offering comprehensive technology-based business solutions - for the first time, its employees could recommend the hardware of competitors if they better suited the customers' needs - while another part of the company continued to strive to produce the best hardware. This flatly contradicts both what Porter advises and Gerstner himself argues elsewhere in the book regarding the self-reinforcing compatibility of the elements of a business strategy and makes me question if Gerstner really thought it all thru. In addition, he astonishingly posits that Japanese business reporters are the best in the world, when in fact - and I worked in Japan for Nikkei, a leading business news wire service - they are merely part of the PR apparatus of firms, reporting verbatim what they were told to report by companies! If that is what Gerstner expected of Western reporters, then he was naive. But then, he was a benevolent dictator and is open about his dislike and lack of trust of the press.

REcommended. But if you really want a rivetting account of IBM, I would recommend Watson's autobio, Father Son & Co. There is also an excellent account of the turnaround of Xerox, using TQM, that is far more compelling a read than this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 21 Aug 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?: How I Turned Around IBM (Audio CD)
An excellent review of Gerstner's experiances. Worthwhile for MBA students since it provides a comprehensive cross-modular resource upon which exam papers and assignments may draw. The audio delivery is superbly useful since it facilitates in-car listening.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars good reading, 16 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
And yes, Elephants can fly...depends always on the music and the maestro that you put n front of them.
GREAT BOOK.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Applied common sense for leaders who can think and have the courage to act, 23 Oct 2013
By 
A. K. Sparrow (Wellington, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Gerstner is obviously a man who thinks clearly and acts decisively. He writes the same way. The major part of the book tells the story of how he came to be at IBM and what he did. That's interesting in itself but it was a wee while ago. The value for me lay in his lessons learnt and observations at the end of the book, which draws on all of his experience.

On strategy:
1. Focus - you have to know and love your business. Acquisitions that fit with an existing strategy have the most likely probability of success.
2. Good strategies are long on detail and short on vision ("The last thing IBM needs right now is another vision")
3. A good strategy will always identify critical holes, competitive weaknesses, and the potential to fill them with tactical acquisitions.
4. If things get tight, more often than not, profit centre managers will be tempted to starve the future-oriented projects.
5. Execution is the critical part of a successful strategy. Getting it done, getting it done right, andgetting it done better than the next person is far more important than dreaming up new visions of the future.
6. People do what you inspect, not what you expect.
7. Execution is all about translating strategies into action programmes and measuring the results.
a. Managers must be asked to report on their performance and explain their successes and failures. More important, no credit can be given for predicting rain - only for building arks.
b. If you want to out-execute your competitors, you must communicate clear strategies and values, reinforce those values in everything the company does, and allow people the freedom to act, trusting that they will execute consistent with the values.

Leadership is personal:
1. Leadership is about passion.
2. Fairness or even handedness is critical for successful leadership. Those who don't demand uniform and fair adherence to good principles and policies lose their effectiveness.

Centralisation:
1. Every CEO has to decide what is going to be uniquely local (decentralised) and what is going to be common in the enterprise.
a. Back office functions yield to economies of scale and should be centralised.
b. Business processes that are more closely linked to the marketplace and the customer where common systems that offer benefits to the customer outweigh the costs of linking varying parts of the business together.
c. There is great risk in asking a decentralised unit to be good at its traditional mission and at the same time fulfil a shared role in a new mission; this level of integration is dangerous and should not occur unless absolutely necessary.
2. CEOs must take power away from existing barons and bestow it publically on new ones. Asking barons to play nicely never work.
3. Change the measurement and reward systems to reinforce a new direction, if one is chosen.

IT customers
Customers find technology hard to integrate into their enterprises; industry promises are overblown and the returns more difficult than promised. Many of the crucial decisions managers have to make have little to do with technology - or that technology may be an impediment.

Successful companies:
1. Manage margins and expenses brilliantly.
2. The best competitive advantage is a cost structure and a model that allows revenue to be used as a weapon against competitors.
3. Cash flow, not revenue, sustains success.

Shareholder value:
1. A major force in a growing market/market segment.
2. Holding/increasing share in those segments as a result of sustainable advantages
3. Increased share results from growing cash flow after all expenses (not EBITDA)
4. Using cash flow in a wise manner
5. Management tem aligned with the shareholders
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars So very interesting, 18 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
We were lent one of these and have now bought it as a Christmas present for our son. It was particularly interesting to us as we are both retired IBMers.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Practical journey on how to transform a business, 14 Oct 2013
By 
C. E. Lopez Ferreira "Carlose Lopez" (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a well written book, very practical and full of information on how Lou Gerstner saved and transformed IBM. The book explains how important is execution, focus and behavioural change. I strongly recommends this book to any one passionate about change management, transformation, leadership, customer focus and strategy execution.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?: How I Turned Around IBM
Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?: How I Turned Around IBM by Louis Gerstner (Audio CD - 12 Nov 2002)
Used & New from: 22.00
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews