Jack Straight From The Gut by Jack Welch with John. A. Byrne

Harsha Reddy
Harsha Vardhan Reddy

Harsha is a final year student of Mechanical Engineering at BITS Pilani, Pilani Campus. He has led various student initiatives in the past three years in Pilani and has just finished his summer internship at Accenture Management Consulting. He was also the head of AIESEC chapter at BITS Pilani.

Bytes and Banter VercdictThis is the autobiography of Jack Welch, the chairman and CEO of General Electric from 1981 to 2001 and one of the biggest corporate icons of twentieth century. First of all, let me just say that this book certainly justifies its caption. It is written with great honesty and is neatly divided into various parts, each part representing different phases of Mr.Welch`s life. As expected, it invariably consists of GE from beginning to end.

The book is an exciting tale about an Irish boy from Massachusetts, climbing up the corporate to the highest of positions. The book gives a great insight into the early years of Jack and how his years at high school and college helped him in building a philosophy. Jack, starting as a chemical engineer at GE was initially frustrated with the bureaucracy and even thought of quitting. This is exactly what he goes on to change as the CEO and make GE a dynamic and “boundary less” organization.

Jack Straight From The Gut

The book also gives interesting inside tales which thrills the reader. For example, when Reg Jones was preparing a list of potential future CEOs, Jack was excluded from it. The greater part of the book focuses on his time as CEO and the major happenings of the time. Jack also tries to defend a lot of allegations made against him in his years leading GE and ends up making a reasonable point.

In the years of Enron and corrupt Wall Street, this book gives a refreshing view of a company determined to make lives of billions of people better and stay extremely competitive at the same time. It also has quite a lot of management principles and practices useful for aspiring people at all stages of a career. It focuses on how the drive to grow is the most important thing in a corporate setting and how GE has successfully emulated this across all of its numerous divisions.

The second half of the book talks about the major initiatives taken up during Jack`s time – Globalization, Growing service, Six Sigma and e-business. It finally concludes with the succession process of Jeff Immlet and the after years of Jack. Overall, it is an exciting read and a great source of knowledge and Inspiration.

Bytes and Banter Verdict: A Piece Of Art - 4/5

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