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When Greg Dyke took over from John Birt as Director-General (DG) of the BBC in 2000, I was working for BBC Magazines in`BBC Worldwide Ltd', the commercial arm of the BBC. We were at arm's length from the BBC itself, and tiny in comparison to the organisation as a whole, but we were part of the same family. We could sense the excitement of producers and programme makers, of broadcasters and administrators caused by Dyke's arrival We got the same `all desks' emails from Dyke himself: direct, sensible, motivational. We saw the same internal brodcasts of interviews and events. Dyke was impressive and inspirational.

Dyke's predecessor, John Birt, had, rightly or wrongly, not been widely liked at the BBC (to put it mildly). He wanted a successor from within the BBC who understood his thinking and would carry on his good work. He had written a twenty-year plan for the BBC and insisted on a ludicrously long five-month handover for the new DG. He was not happy when Dyke, the outsider from commercial television, got the job. Dyke wasn't very interested in Birt's 20-year plan: "In my experience, the only thing you can be certain about when dealing with long-term plans is that they will turn out to be wrong: there are too many variables for them ever to be right." This common-sense approach is very Dyke. Dyke is also right that the last thing that an organisation needs is another leader just like the old one: change in leadership style is essential, and healthy.

If Birt's vision was to create 'the best managed public sector organisation in the world', Dyke's vision was to build 'The most creative organisation in the world.' Dyke reduced administration costs across the BBC and channelled these savings into programme-making. His most significant initiative was probably `Making it Happen': an inspirational programme that highlighted the contributions to the creation of excellent programming made behind the scenes by people at every level of the organisation. BBC personnel were energised and inspired. The mood changed.

Dyke's career as DG came to an abrupt and premature end when his resignation was accepted by the BBC's Board of Governors after New Labour's vicious attack on the BBC, led by Tony Blair's Director of Communications and Strategy, Alastair Campbell, for having allowed one its journalists, in the build-up to the war with Iraq, to suggest that the dossier claiming that Iraq was capable of launching weapons of mass destruction within forty-five minutes had been `sexed up'. The row stirred up by the government over this issue led to the suicide of UN weapons inspector David Kelly, one of the BBC's sources.

Dyke is conscientious and even-handed in his reporting of the events surrounding this national crisis. When he left, staff demonstrated in the street. Some cried. As Herb Schlosser, ex-president and CEO of NBC wrote to Dyke: "I saw on the internet BBC employees marching in support of a CEO. This is a first in the history of the Western World."

The only fault in this intriguing account of Dyke's career in broadcasting, before and after the BBC, is the amount of time that he devotes diligently to recording the precise events that were investigated by the Hutton enquiry. He could have saved his pains: we would all be happy, now, with a much shorter version that simply records that the BBC fulfilled its journalistic duties honestly and faithfully, and that the government brought unreasonable pressure to bear on the national broadcaster in an attempt to deflect criticism of its actions.

Inside Story is an excellent record of a remarkable period in British broadcasting history and a valuable document for those studying the issues surrounding the Iraq War. But it is also, and above all, a masterclass in modern management and leadership. It comes as no surprise to read that Dyke's mentor at Harvard Business School was the great management and leadership thinker, John P. Kotter. Kotter must be proud of his student.
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on 25 December 2010
I had previously not had much to go on when it came to judging Greg dyke. My impressions were of a lefty mouthy television man made good, and that was about it. This auto-biography shows him to be much more, and is a well written account of a number of moments in recent popular history about which he offers some intriguing insight.

The key chapters are about the Hutton report and his downfall, TVAM and Murdoch's ruthless rise to pre-eminence in sport. Inevitably, given that Dyke lost his job as DG of the BBC as a result, the Hutton report and his justification of the role that the BBC played in the whole scenario takes up a disproportionate amount of the book and is passionate defence of his role and that of the BBC. At times he overstates his case, but that is only because of the plethora of material which he can draw upon.

The TVAM story is fascinating, breezily told, interesting and insightful. The hand to mouth existence is remarkable and I suspect is probably his finest hour. It combines skill, judgement, good management and luck in an invigorating cocktail of intrigue an anecdote.

His combination of experience as a Man United Director, TV Sport man , and businessman makes his insight into Sky's rise and ITV and the BBC's fall in sporting coverage particularly interesting. Refreshingly, what comes across was that there was a man in charge of sport who actually loved sport.

Some themes run throughout. His enmity with Alistair Campbell and Rupert Murdoch is undisguised as is his disillusion with the Blair Administration, although his criticism of Blair itself is somewhat tempered most of the time.

However, anyone interested in the three main aforementioned topics will enjoy reading good accounts, well told.
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on 14 March 2009
Greg Dyke's account of his rise to Director General of the BBC from a working class East London family via journalism and commercial TV. He rose to power and wealth through TVam and London Weekend Television and made his fortune building up the Pearson Group into one of the biggest independent production companies in the world.
According to his account (and believable), he turned round the morale and fortunes of the BBC following John Birt's efficiency drives by concentrating on programming and on the organisation and decision making powers of people throughout the organisation. He ran a Making it Happen campaign to move away from historically imbedded bureaucratic ethos within the BBC and empowered people. He seized the opportunities of the digital future and brought the BBC to the vanguard of digital broadcasting. He regarded Murdoch as too powerful and a threat to power structures within Britain.

But his downfall was brought about by his defence of freedom of the press (as he saw it) as threatened by Alistair Campbell and Tony Blair over the issue of Andrew Gilligan's reporting of the lack of substantial intelligence regarding weapons of mass destruction to justify Britain's active support of the USA in the invasion of Iraq. He completely condemns the Hutton report into this issue as a whitewash and a submission to the institutional interests. He clearly is deeply hurt by what he regards and his unjust sacking from the BBC.

Plausible and readable.
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on 14 October 2004
As one of Gregs ex 25,000 staff you can understand that there is not a lot of time to get any reading done. However this is a gripping, fascinating and at times surprising book and I was quite able to read it in 5 minute chunks while resting in the smallest room. Although Greg worries about becoming a 'Hutton Bore' this definitely lays his '45 minute' demons to rest and clarifies all the points it is so difficult to make in interviews and the soundbites that his nemesis Mr Campbell so loves. A great DG, an inspiring manager and a story that will inspire you to strive for the best you can do. READ IT!
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on 27 September 2004
Greg has a natural ability to communicate. This was demonstrated through his success at the BBC and is carried through to the easy flow and style of his book. The chapters on the BBC could easily have been separated into a book of its own and titled "A modern managers' handbook". This should be required reading for all business management courses and strategists. Thank you, Greg, although I don't know you, you have become my personal hero and role-model.
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on 9 January 2005
greg dyke is the sort of man who should be leading the nation. sure he is blunt, a rough diamond, not much of an intellectual, actually a bit on the thick side, greedy, a big mouth with an ego but he also has a big heart and as such should be given a chance to show that he is better than the politicians he castigates here. anyone who fears you need to be born into privilege with a silver spoon in england need only to read mr dyke to know it is not so. as a boy he says he was a hooligan who could barely read. having stolen and then fathered a child - and more of that later - he moved into television. it was that or prison. he found his niche. the common man with a waspish sense of humour. in his book mr dyke describes how he climbed to power, stabbing and yes he is not not proud of that his friends,. in a memorable passage he declaims that money matttered more than anything. not so now he argues.there are chapters on roland rat and his relationship, never consummated with janet street porter of celebriry jungle fme. the climax is the bbc. mr dyke defends himself with wit and verve here. i was not convinced. to me he is a small man who was lucky. others would call him a giant. whatever the truth this is a fine book.
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on 25 September 2015
The book is clearly used and I opted for a new book
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on 29 June 2010
Two stars because there is at least some content.

This book starts with an account of the publication and impact of the 'Hutton Inquiry'. Dyke's account is simply not credible. The BBC has plenty of lawyers - I think I saw a figure of 77 - and it's impossible they would be unaware, especially in a world where unelected EU types impose bizarre unworkable laws, that reports ordered by governments will be slanted. They must have expected something of the sort. And made plans - but maybe they wanted Dyke out. He says resignation wouldn't matter to him anyway - the BBC still had to pay! There are similar ironies throughout this book, for example a woman called Salmond in 'Human Resources' had a better pension deal than Dyke (he may have meant a percentage, though)... fantastic job titles of these people - apparently selected by a military-minded megalomaniac propagandist ... the almost lunatic way Dyke discounts the few billion advantage the BBC has over almost everyone else.

Dyke has little interest in the BBC - there is no account of who selected the 'Governors', despite their obvious relevance. He has little interest in the world, either. He seems to have a chip on his shoulder about Hayes, Middx. He appears as a boy to have been the type to carefully note who has a car, who has a TV, who has this, who has that. As a student, he seems to have been happy just putting down a couple of conflicting views - I don't think he had any interest in trying to unravel mysteries. Ideal training, in fact, for the BBC! When he was born, the BBC was run by ex-military types - there are some amusing accounts, written by women. People would be informed by letter that they were, or weren't, hired, or fired. The policy was probably decided by the Foreign Office and Home Office, I would guess. As late as Dyke, the FO funded the 'World Service', and no doubt still does. Dyke doesn't comment on this, or the 'listening post' Cavendish Park stuff, and it's hard to believe he had any interest. Decisions on things like (in sequence) mass murders in eastern Europe, the JFK murder, mass murders in Vietnam and Biafra, immigration, industrial policy, who should control printed money, AIDS, 9/11 etc etc must have been simply handed down for the hacks to extrude. The policies are too monolithic to have been anything other than deliberately thought out. It must have been like a prestigious but horribly secretive civil service department. No wonder there is not one single well-written memo, biography, or essay collection by an employee - it would be like expecting amusing pieces about life in the Pravda buildings.

Anyway Dyke cut his teeth on lightweight stuff, though it's hard to know what he actually did. The script and camera work, and the money and the contracts and the sales, all seem to have been someone else's job. Maybe he simply talked to everyone, or did his best. A striking aspect of all this is the smallness of the 'industry'. When Thatcher introduced the idea of bids for companies, there were very very few. Probably the 'industry' was overweighted by overpaid people, and expensive equipment (digitised stuff started to come in over the whole period after about 1980). Dyke gives no figures for overall advertising revenue, needed by his rivals, though he says there was no room for others, and that it started to plummet after about 2000.

It's impossible to know what Dyke did. He states - and it seems highly likely - that one action was simply to collect suggestions, and act on them. There are some pathetic examples - a building's atrium, blocked off for a decade or two, or more, was at last opened up to employee lunch hours. A coffee machine (or something) was installed somewhere. Godawful buildings were made slightly less godawful.

The BBC is a state propaganda machine, and clearly Dyke was an ideal person to run it, as he had no ideas whatever on human progress or societal goals or whether truth should be allowed out occasionally. The book is mostly concerned with - first part - deals, including breakfast TV - there was of course a loan-backed pseudo-boom. And - second part - office politics. When a new 'Director-General' was being thought about, whole squadrons of office people started to back one or other from an amazingly short shortlist. Dyke's book is unanalytical, so it's impossible to know whether his descriptions are reliable, though I'd guess the people he liked, and didn't like, are recorded correctly. There are a few pages on a 'Dyke must stay' campaign - again, hard to deconstruct from the quoted emails and letters - it's hard to believe they could be serious about their 'creativity' for example. My best guess is that he was believed more likely to fork out more money than the others.
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on 13 April 2016
A good read
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on 7 February 2015
pleae see star rating, thanks,
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