I do not think I need to start with a lengthy introduction of Jack Welch. The book is about Welch and we will be discussing him throughout the review. Further, Jack Welch is a famous man - former CEO of one of America's largest corporations, celebrated for his charismatic leadership and novel management theories - though after reading the book, I felt the theories were not so novel as perhaps alien to the American way of doing business at the time Welch was leading GE. Welch became the youngest CEO of GE in 1981 and led the company for the next twenty years. He is credited with turning GE into the most valuable company of the world and is known for his championing of initiatives like differentiation, six-sigma quality, boundaryless behavior and e-business. However, some people (including yours truly I might add) believe that Jack Welch hogs more credit and adulation than he deserves.
GE was already doing quite well when Welch came to the helm. The previous CEO Reginald Jones had been crowned "the most admired businessman in America". Unlike the quietly suave Reginald Jones, though, Jack Welch was loud, brash, charismatic - a man who tended to attract attention. More importantly, he reigned in an era when TV channels brought CEOs into the American drawing rooms and made them the new age heroes of the American people. No matter what one believes, however, Jack Welch has been far too influential a business leader to ignore and such were my sentiments when I decided to pick up and read his autobiography "Straight From the Gut". The experience has been interesting and thought provoking to say the least.
Let me start by pointing out that the book, though it may purport to be an autobiography, is not one.