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Who says elephants can't dance? : how I…
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Who says elephants can't dance? : how I turned around IBM (edition 2003)

by Louis V. Gerstner

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576817,182 (3.53)2
Member:wyvernfriend
Title:Who says elephants can't dance? : how I turned around IBM
Authors:Louis V. Gerstner (Author)
Info:London : HarperCollins, 2003.
Collections:Library Loans, Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:non-fiction, read, 2012, library, cc, ibm, business, corporations

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Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? Inside IBM's Historic Turnaround by Jr. Louis Gerstner

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It was interesting to read this as I spent almost a year working for IBM myself in 1998-99. It was interesting to read the story of people well above my pay grade and how they thought and what were the plans. He did visit during my tenure, but I was in training at the time so we missed him.

It's an interesting look at a change of culture and change of thinking that took IBM from where it was in 1992 to where it is now. I don't think it could have survived as it was and it will be interesting to see where it goes.

I'm sure there are things he left out, arguments and disagreements but overall it's an interesting look at a company changing from being a manfacturer of computers to more of an e-business. It was a hard change, and I saw some of it happen when I was there but I was only a lowly tech support person so it's interesting to get some of the big picture. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Dec 13, 2012 |
It was OK. The first couple of chapters before Lou joined IBM were interesting. Once he joined the book just skimmed the surface of both IBM issues and his thought process. It focused mostly on his successes without including any of the failures that must have taken place. The little bit of history on IBM was interesting. Wish there was more. It was mildly motivating, but overall I did not come away with much. Except loved the quote “not what you expect but what you inspect" matters for managers. ( )
  GShuk | May 16, 2010 |
Full disclosure: I was first hired into IBM in 1996 right after grad school and while Gerstner was in charge. I was pretty low in the organization and never really saw the real IBM. I left in 1998. I am now back at IBM after they acquired the company I am working for. I now am seeing the real inside of IBM.

If you are looking for a good book from a CEO written from a CEO's perspective, this was an excellent read. It was a brutally-honest, no-nonsense look at what it took to turn around a large failing company. The book never pretended to be more than it was and Gerstner avoided discussing things he did not know. Running a company requires hard choices and Gerstner gives you insight into how that process works. ( )
  watson_1 | Mar 30, 2010 |
Not Read
  wlchui | Aug 2, 2009 |
I included this book in my book: The 100 Best Business Books of All Time. www.100bestbiz.com. ( )
This review has been flagged by multiple users as abuse of the terms of service and is no longer displayed (show).
  toddsattersten | May 8, 2009 |
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In the history of modern business, many companies have gone from being industry leaders to the verge of extinction. Through the heroic efforts of a new management team, some of those companies have even succeeded in resuscitating themselves and living on in the shadow of their former stature. But only one company has been at the pinnacle of an industry, fallen to near collapse, and then, beyond anyone's expectations, returned to set the agenda. That company is IBM. Who says elephants can't dance? tells the story of IBM's competitive and cultural transformation. In his own words, Gerstner offers a blow-by-blow account of his arrival at the company and his campaign to rebuild the leadership team and give the workforce a renewed sense of purpose. In the process, Gerstner defined a strategy for the computing giant and remade the ossified culture bred by the company's own success. The first-hand story of an extraordinary turnaround, a unique case study in managing a crisis, and a thoughtful reflection on the computer industry and the principles of leadership, Who says elephants can't dance? sums up Lou Gerstner's historic business achievement. Taking readers deep into the world of IBM's CEO, Gerstner recounts the high-level meetings and explains the pressure-filled, no-turning-back decisions that had to be made. He also offers his hard-won conclusions about the essence of what makes a great company run.… (more)

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