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Railroader: The Unfiltered Genius and Controversy of Four-Time CEO Hunter…

by Howard Green

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Hunter Harrison, the revolutionary railroader from Memphis, dramatically turned four publicly traded companies into cash machines. Starting as a laborer when he was a wayward teenager, Harrison spent a half century in the rail business and nearly two decades running Illinois Central, Canadian National, Canadian Pacific, and CSX.Never accepting the status quo, Harrison not only renovated established railroads, he forced an industry to shape up. As the pre-eminent proponent of Precision Scheduled Railroading, Harrison created approximately $50 billion in shareholder value. Charming, intimidating, and not afraid to make enemies, the no-bullshit CEO let nothing get in his way. At the same time, he was a talent scout and coach to thousands, and a devoted father and husband for more than fifty years. Railroader offers insights into running all businesses. Howard Green's highly personal biography is deeply researched, based on conversations with Harrison over several years. It also includes candid stories from Harrison's family and colleagues - those who admired him and those who criticized him. Green's access and decades of experience give him the unparalleled ability to tell the story of this uncompromising leader who both inspired and infuriated.… (more)

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This is a fascinating biography of a man who revolutionized the operation of modern railroads. Railroads are a capital-intensive business that require that the expensive assets be minimized, be in constant use rather than sitting idle, and that trains be scheduled so as to lessen costs. Hunter Harrison learned these principles during his work in the railroad yards as a trainmaster and applied it as he ascended to management positions. The book covers some early applications of computers to manage trains, but does not describe how this evolved over time. There is also no mention at all of the use of GPS systems to manage cars and trains, something Hunter Harrison must have used to enhance efficiency. Author Howard Green does a good job describing Harrison's early life and how it influenced his career. ( )
  bkinetic | Jun 18, 2019 |
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