Cover image for Saving Big Blue : leadership lessons and turnaround tactics of IBM's Lou Gerstner
Saving Big Blue : leadership lessons and turnaround tactics of IBM's Lou Gerstner
Slater, Robert, 1943-2014.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : McGraw-Hill, [1999]

Physical Description:
vii, 309 pages ; 24 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


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HD9696.2.U64 I257 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In this honest, inside look at one of the world's most inspiring corporate success stories, bestselling business author Robert Slater reveals how Gerstner stressed service, catapulted IBM into the Internet revolution, and restored IBM's mantle of leadership. Starting each chapter with a success maxim -- as in his bestselling Jack Welch and the GE Way -- Slater provides nothing less than the roadmap for achieving success in today's turbulent corporate world.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Louis Gerstner, an ex-biscuit man (he was chairman and CEO of RJR Nabisco), was appointed chairman and CEO of IBM in April 1993, taking control of a company that had posted three years of losses. He turned a profit of $6.3 billion for the year 1998. Taking advantage of being an outsider, Gerstner examines every nook and cranny of IBM with a fresh, bottom-line eye, and the results are the corporate marvel of the 1990s. Once the company stops its financial hemorrhaging, Gerstner turns his attention to growth strategies with an emphasis away from mainframes and minicomputers and instead sees IBM's future in networking, software, and services. The jury is still out on the long-term prospects for IBM, but the first six years of Gerstner's reign has brought spectacular results. The author acknowledges assistance from IBM for this book, but not any direct input from Gerstner. It is unclear if this access makes the story more accurate or less. --Mary Whaley

Publisher's Weekly Review

Former Time magazine reporter Slater (Jack Welch and the GE Way; Ovitz: The Inside Story, etc.) doesn't go as far as Garr in IBM Redux (reviewed above) to document the story of IBM's turnaround. Slater's main method of getting at Gerstner the man is to stud the book with quotes from previously published Gerstner interviews in such magazines as Fortune and Business Week. In the chapter "What's Lou Gerstner Like: `You're Not Getting Inside My Head,'" Slater fails to dig for meaningful biographical information and instead serves up twice-warmed tidbits that shed little light on his subject: "Once I have a feeling for the choices, then I have no problems with the decisions. I love to make strategic decisions." As for telling the story of Gerstner's miracle-working, or of his notorious imperiousness, Slater's conceit of making each chapter convey a "Leadership Lesson" ("Sweep Aside the Old Corporate Culture If Necessary, but Do It Quickly"; "Shift Turnaround Tactics: End the Cost-Cutting; Search for Revenue") drains much of the drama from what, as Garr demonstrates, is a rousing business story. Slater does a credible job explaining IBM's shifts in the design and marketing of mainframes and in the conceptual changes the company underwent in moving to Web-based business, but that story is available in more detail from Garr. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved