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Should Be Retitled: How To Win Raises and Promotions May 7, 2000
I had a hard time rating this book. I gave it a 5 for its dedication to Leigh Knowles, deceased chairman of Beaulieu Vineyards, a truly terrific guy and CEO. I gave it a 1 for having a misleading title. The book has little to do with becoming CEO. I gave it a 4 for generally useful advice about workplace do's and don'ts. I gave it an 7 for marketing. I rounded that to a 4. Decide for yourself what rating to give this book.
I write an article for Chief Executive Magazine each year about the best practices of the most successful CEOs. As part of this work, I have met and interviewed hundreds of the most envied corporate leaders. The subject of how each became CEO and what the lessons are usually comes up. Based on their experiences, you would write a substantially different list than Mr. Fox has provided. Key elements would include learning to do important tasks that the company needs done that no one else is doing; having a great relationship with shareholders and the board of directors; having massive integrity that is frequently demonstrated to others; making and keeping your promises; and establishing an environment in which other people perform very effectively. There's a lot more. If you are interested in more, read my article in the May 1999 issue on The Helpful Habits of the CEO... -- click on the leadership file folder to find the article).
The second problem with this book is that Mr. Fox acknowledges that most CEOs in companies get their jobs by either starting or buying the company. He then goes on to provide no direct advice on how to do either one.
The third problem with the book is that it provides general advice rather than specific advice about you and your own organization. Many of the rules he describes will vary from company to company. In front of many of his pieces of advice should be a first step: Ask the successful people in your company what the right thing to do is. In front of many of his comments about working with others should be a first step of asking the people involved what they would like you to do. The book assumes a communications stalled approach that can lead to backfires in many cases. For example, many people would prefer that you give them immediate verbal feedback along with a pat on the back when they do a good job. They would not be as pleased with a hand-written note, as this book recommends.
The final problem with this book is that it really covers the same subject as How To Be A Star At Work. That is a terrific book, and well worth reading.
If you do decide to read this book, pay the most attention to the advice to set written goals, score yourself on them, and pay attention to the goals. Research has shown that only one percent of people do this, and they usually outperform the 99 percent who do not.
Good luck in your learning of how to become a CEO!
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on 13 October 1998
I found this book to be very good! It is quick and easy to read. I finished it on one plane trip. It is motivating and presents its ideas in 75 tips. I passed it along as a "must read" to peers in an executive roundtable group. Although all 75 tips are great, I had my own top six favorites including: 1. Do not get discouraged by the idea killers. 2. Never panic or lose your temper. 3. Always take a vacation. 4. Do something hard and lonely. 5. Think for 1 hour a day. 6. Arrive 45 minutes early and leave 15 minutes late. The author's validity in compiling this list added to my satisfaction of the book.
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on 6 April 1999
A little gem of a book. Very easy to read and full of interesting ideas. Unfortunately a bit American-centric and I am not sure about the reading list. Also this is based on past research. With all the changes happening as a result of the internet, are all these 75 'solutions' future proofed? Anyway the thoughts that grabbed me include: In business, money is the scoreboard. The more you make, the better you are doing. Jobs that do not get and keep customers are redundant. Your responsibility is to acquire that experience needed at the top of your industry. There are no barriers between anyone in the company and the customer. To know your customer is to know your future. Do something few others are willing to do. Make one good ally in your company every month. To run the company, you must be invited in. Elephants grow larger on the hormones of panic and deception. Creativity without implementation is irresponsibility. Demonstrate your ability to grow by adding one big new thing to your life every year. Practice being presidential all the time. Overinvest in people. Cynicism about one's own company is the hallmark of a loser. Success in projects is anticlimactic. Homework preordains it. "Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain cool and unruffled under all circumstances." (Jefferson.) If you have ten seconds to make a decision, think for nine. Think for three hours, write for one. It does not matter who thought of the idea. What matters is who implemented it. Teach without preaching. Tight budgets promote creativity. Mistakes are milestones. They indicate action in new areas. Mistakes are the exhaust of active people. Your family must be an ally in your future plans. Goals beget goals. A spouse is either an important ally for a company or a virulent enemy. It is the manager that does more with less that is most needed by the company. Monthly reports are stupid. Idea killers help you work harder.
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on 9 June 1999
To become a CEO, I think you'll need more than what is in this book. There are some interesting tidbits here and there, but a CEO will not emerge once this book is read.
Has Mr. Fox ever traveled on business? Some of his advice (don't have a drink with coworkers, work instead in your hotel room, order room service, etc.) could be a slap in the face to the salespeople/customers/coworkers who are hosting your trip.
After reading this book, it would seem anyone could make up a few lists and publish a book about anything, and not really have to be a writer. There are some interesting parts of this small book, and I would still recommend reading it and reading it periodically again and again to get the most out of it, but wait for the paperback version.
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on 5 November 1998
Mr. Fox's 75 insights into career advancement are fascinating in that they each follow a logic trail that is indisputable, and yet lead to a conclusion that is usually provocatively counterintuitive. For example, while middle managers like me jump at the chance to sit next to the CEO on the plane, Mr. Fox warns against it, with a bulletproof argument. And based on Fox's advice not to socialize excessively with clients, I will never again feel guilty about going back to the hotel and watching a movie on SpectraVision. "How to Become CEO" is an easy read with some hard hitting advice. A great Christmas Party grab-bag gift!
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on 23 January 1999
I found this book to be very good! It is quick and easy to read. I finished it on one plane trip. It is motivating and presents its ideas in 75 tips. I passed it along as a "must read" to peers in an executive roundtable group. All 75 tips are great, I have my own top six favorites including: 1. Do not get discouraged by the idea killers. 2. Never panic or lose your temper. 3. Always take a vacation. 4. Do something hard and lonely. 5. Think for 1 hour a day. 6. Try something new; like Neurosync behavior modification software. The author's validity in compiling this list added to my satisfaction of the book.
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on 16 July 1999
Coming from an Asian culture, I found this book's approach similar to Zen. No details, but simple, clear, and deep suggestions are found in this book. How to interpret these ideas is up to the reader. If some ideas are not for you, still you can learn a lot of other basic, universal ideas that are crucial to you as a leader. This book is definitely not for those who want step-by-step instructions but for those who are wise enough to get an essence.
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on 14 November 1998
I read the book from cover to cover and all this in a bookstore in about 45 minutes! But I'm going to buy this book to keep as a reference because it is easy to read, the 'suggestions' are logical and are what you see from those CEO around you. Even if you don't become a CEO, it will certainly help you rise up in an organisation. I'm going to try using some of these tips as soon as I go back to work on Monday.
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on 1 November 1998
Fox writes with authority and confidence. However, he is not the CEO of a major corporation and many of his rules run counter to those I've seen from VERY successful CEO's of large corporations.
There is no cookie cutter for success in business. Yet Fox seems to think he's found one. He hasn't.
In summary, he has some nice tidbits, but don't take him as seriously as he takes himself.
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on 20 May 1999
These are important trueisms in decision making processes as you climb your way up the corporate ladder. This book is easy to read and many of the chapters really make you turn your focus to its validity. After your first read through I guarantee you will read it again. I would like to thank Mr. Fox for the educational lesson.
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