Summary of Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?

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Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? book summary


9 Overall

7 Importance

8 Innovation

9 Style


Legendary CEO Louis V. Gerstner Jr. pulled off the turnaround of the century by bringing IBM back from near bankruptcy. He completely remade IBM, a monumental task considering its size, its hallowed traditions and mission, its strong corporate culture, and the remarkable challenges it faced in a rapidly evolving marketplace. He details the steps he took to resurrect IBM and restore its legendary leadership position, and he explains why he chose a bold, risky path to strengthen and unify the iconic company when astute observers believed it had become an irrelevant corporate relic. Gerstner says that even though he wasn’t an author, he decided not to use a ghostwriter. Be glad he stuck with his own voice. getAbstract finds that he has written a superior business book: analytical, well organized, focused and methodical – a work of masterful storytelling in straight-shooter prose. Current and aspiring CEOs can learn from Gerstner’s war stories and from his visionary leadership. This may be an ironic twist, considering Gerstner’s famous quote that IBM didn’t need vision – it needed superior strategizing and marketplace performance. As it turns out, he supplied all that and vision, too.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How IBM became the computer industry’s dominant firm;
  • How it lost its prestigious position; and
  • How CEO Louis V. Gerstner Jr. re-engineered the firm, sold assets, consolidated functions, boosted performance and revamped the culture to restore IBM’s dominance.

About the Author

Louis V. Gerstner Jr. was IBM’s chairman and CEO from 1993 to 2002. Previously, he served as chairman and CEO of RJR Nabisco, as a senior executive at American Express, and as a consultant at McKinsey & Company.



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