Jack Welch was the most famous CEO in the U.S. when he ran General Electric. During the Welch era (1981–2001), GE’s value skyrocketed, making millionaires of employees with stock options. CEOs across the globe adopted Welch’s strategies for streamlining operations, reducing payrolls and dominating markets. Welch retired superrich (current estimated net worth: $720 million) – not bad for a short, stumpy, middle-class guy with a lifelong stutter and an explosive temper. GE staffers called Welch “Neutron Jack” because of his temper, his pettiness and his heavy hand with firings, more than 100,000 during his first four years as CEO. In this book, Bill Lane, Welch’s speechwriter for two decades, reveals the true man, warts and all. Despite his singular accomplishments, Welch comes across in Lane’s book as an abusive tyrant and a bully. Lane doesn’t make himself look much better, from commenting on a female stockbroker’s “great legs” to throwing around expletives. He paints an unattractive picture of overpaid, self-indulgent, immature executives, pitching things at each other and acting, as Lane puts it, like “little boys competing for attention in the schoolyard.” getAbstract finds that this book is a top-notch primer on executive communication and recommends it for that purpose. Just don’t pay as much attention to the way its stars comport themselves when they’re not in public.
About the Author
Bill Lane was General Electric CEO Jack Welch’s speechwriter for more than 20 years.