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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars15
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 15 March 2010
As an employee within BP and having met Lord Browne on several occasions, I found his book to be very educational and insightful. Understanding his rise to the top of the company, and the challenges he faced along the way, provide great context to what it takes to be a leader. He certainly was a man at the centre of each of BP's major steps forward to become the global success that it is today. However the book also touches on his personal turmoils and the influence of family and his own sexuality, and how each shaped his ascent and ultimately descent from the top of the UK's largest company (on market cap).

If you're interested in the oil industry, in BP, or in a personal insight to a man's views on the history and future of this vast global industry that touches everyone in some shape or form, I'd recommend you read this book.
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on 29 March 2010
Having worked in the energy industry for most of my career, I found this book to be a fascinating story of the last 3 to 4 decades of the industry, told in a very candid and engaging way by one of its key protagonists. The fact that each chapter is arranged as a semi-independent story about a different geography makes the book very gripping and easy to read. Highly recommended, even for readers with no direct connection to the energy industry.
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Between 1995 and 2007, John Browne was CEO of BP and transformed the company into a major player on the world stage. In Beyond Business he discusses the challenges encountered in various countries including Colombia, Libya, Angola, Moscow and China. Political interference, the harsh natural environment, pressure groups and the engineering challenge of extracting and transporting the oil were all difficulties that had to be faced and solutions found.

In many ways Browne was a pioneer, calling for investigation into climate change and transparency in dealings with totalitarian governments long before his competitors. This helped BP gain a reputation as a company with a high standard of probity.

However the Gulf of Mexico spill, which happened after his resignation, was deeply damaging to the company worldwide. But Browne is convinced that in time BP can regain the trust that it has currently lost.

A fascinating read which proves that integrity and big-business can sometimes co-exist.
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on 21 June 2010
I bought this for an insight into an esteemed business leader of our time. I wasn't disappointed.The bonus was an interesting history of the oil business over the last century. Fascinating in BP's current situation.
Recommended.
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on 2 September 2010
In this book Browne reflects on key experiences, places and people that had shaped his life as well as transformed BP during his reign. If you're interested in business development or big commercial picture then this book provides a excellent insight into a growth philosophy that propelled BP. If you're in the oil industry, it provides one perspective on many strategic, leadership or organisational choices that any leader needs to make in the process of change or growth of oil or any other business. Interestingly enough, I found this book a lot of about managing external events and powering growth rather than about managing and staying in control of business as complex technically, technologically, operationally as any big oil company is (I work in one). If in anyway this reflects leadership bias of Browne, then that may explain safety and integrity incidents that now seem to be as characteristic of BP as its exciting growth story.
For people outside the industry it hopefully provides the kind of honest image that can dispell conspiracy theories about big oil and hopefully de-mistify and de-villify the industry, particularly in the context of the latest events. As the author himself put it- 'the industry ... measured by its weakest member , the one with the worst reputation'. He said it about another company, but how true are those words today !
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on 28 February 2015
if nothing else...entertaining....remarkable career
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on 17 March 2010
A rare glimpse into the life of a living legend. This book is a must read for any current/former employee of bp, anyone in the oil & gas industry or anyone who aspires to understand the nature of high integrity leadership and how it can be applied to Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Profits within their own organisations. It is also an incredible journey of one man's life adventure, and demonstrates the virtues of being flexible in your approach, confident enough to adapt to change and ready to quickly seize new opportunities as they unfold in the world about us. As a former employee myself and having worked in the FSU with bp for many years, I know that no matter where you were in the bp organisation, John Browne was (and still is) a very well respected, highly motivating and communicative leader. He literally changed your way of thinking. In publishing this book he continues to share the very rare leadership talent that he possesses. The book also provides a very useful reference on "how to get it more right the next time" for the oil industry given the honest analysis of successes and failures and the advice presented.
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on 6 March 2010
This book exceeded expectations by some way. It is very well written and extremely interesting. Highly recommended.
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on 26 December 2010
As a retired Employee of BP I found this a fasinating and very interesting book. It was slightly annoying in that as a memoir he tended to jump back and forward to relate events which happened in Different Countries but overall it is a great insight into his influence over BP as it grew from a mid sized oil Company to one of the world super majors. I would certainly recommend it as a great read for all current or ex BP employees
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on 11 April 2014
I liked a lot the detail of some of BPs streategic challenges.
I would have prefered to see more information good and bad if competitors
Very good was also his perspective on environmental challenges and the way forward.
Finally i liked a lot his perspectives on leadership
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