Summary of McKinsey's Marvin Bower

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McKinsey's Marvin Bower book summary


8 Overall

7 Applicability

10 Innovation

6 Style


Marvin Bower may be the most influential businessman you’ve never heard of. The firm he shaped into an international powerhouse, McKinsey & Company, doesn’t bear his name, and he never made splashy public gifts. Yet the company that spawned the management consulting industry would not exist today without this remarkable man’s clear, compelling vision. Bower or his consultants transformed countless companies and executives for the better. Here, author Elizabeth Haas Edersheim assembles dozens of testimonials to Marvin Bower’s integrity, honesty and drive to excel. Her book contains the story of his life, but it reads less like a biography and more like a Harvard Business School case study - a bit dry, and chock-full of interview transcripts rather than compelling narrative. However, its similarity to a case study is oddly appropriate, since Bower was one of the first graduates of the Harvard Business School and remained connected with it for many years, even defending its case study method of teaching when it came under attack in the late 1970s. getAbstract recommends this book to leaders, to those who aspire to lead and to consultants who want to study the best of their profession in action.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Who Marvin Bower is;
  • How his personal and business values shaped his firm, McKinsey & Company; and
  • How his vision of a new type of professional service business created the field of management consulting.

About the Author

Elizabeth Haas Edersheim founded New York Consulting Partners, Inc., and was the managing director for 13 years until the firm was bought. She is now a strategic advisor to a number of companies. Edersheim spent nearly a year working with Marvin Bower on this book and completed the manuscript shortly before his death.



The Bower Family
Marvin Bower was born into a middle-class Cleveland, Ohio, family in 1903. Early in his life, he learned the values of integrity, honesty, humility and respect for others. For example, throughout his professional career he expected everyone, even his employees, to call...

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