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July 16, 2007

Staff Picks: Jack Covert Selects Winning (again)

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 7:30 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

"Winning" by Jack Welch with Suzy Welch, HarperBusiness, 350 Pages, $27.95, Hardcover, April 2005, ISBN 9780060753948
Note: At the end of this 2005 review I wrote "Not only is this book relevant today, but I think it will be adding value for many years to come." I'm no prophet, but I do know that my prediction was right. Winning is still publishing sensation and one of our bestselling and most-often requested books.
This is really weird. I am writing that this time Jack Welch got it. Point is: I truly like his new book much more than I liked his first book. First off, this book is not an autobiography, it is a primer for all people on all levels in business on how to succeed. As he states:
"This book offers a road map. It is not, incidentally, a road map for senior level managers and CEO's. If this book helps them, terrific. I hope it does. But this book is also very much for people on the front lines: business owners, middle managers, people running factories, line workers, college graduates looking for their first jobs, MBAs considering new careers, and entrepreneurs."

The book is divided into five sections:
Underneath It All - This section revolves around mission and values, candor, differentiation, voice and dignity.
Your Company - The first topic covered in this section is Leadership. The most valuable chapter in my opinion, it has leadership rules interspersed throughout the chapter. They alone make this chapter worthwhile. Other topics include hiring, people management, and change.
Your Competition - Strategy, budgeting, etc.
Your Career - The right job, getting promoted, etc.
Tying Up Loose Ends - Speaks for itself.
As is very clear from the five sections, everything internal and external in the business environment is covered. In utmost detail, and with frankness. This gives the book that feeling of reading something true and real. Which is rare. To give you a feel of the style of the book and Jack's style consider what he says in the Leadership chapter:
"...a word on paradoxes. Leadership is full of them.
The granddaddy of them all is the question I often get 'How can I manage quarterly results and still do what's right for my business five years out?'
My answer is, 'Welcome to the job!'
Look, anyone can manage for the short term--just keep squeezing the lemon. And anyone can manage for the long--just keep dreaming. You were made leader because someone believed you could squeeze and dream at the same time. They saw in you a person with enough insight, experience, and rigor to balance the conflicting demands of short- and long-term results.
Performing balancing acts every day is leadership."

Not only is this book relevant today, but I think it will be adding value for many years to come. It's the book that business schools around the world will be using to teach students the how's and why's of how to be better business people. Written by a guy who clearly is no stranger to winning.

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.