Weighty Wisdom

By Lear, Robert W. | Chief Executive (U.S.), March 2000 | Go to article overview
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Weighty Wisdom

Lear, Robert W., Chief Executive (U.S.)

Wisdom of the CEO--29 Leaders Tackle Today's Most Pressing Challenges.

By William Dauphinais, Grady Means, and Colin Price of PricewaterhouseCoopers. John Wiley & Sons. 384 pp.

This book is a Herculean effort by a team of PricewaterhouseCoopers partners to present statements from 29 prominent CEOs on the most critical problems they and their companies are currently facing.

Ordinarily, when you ask 29 busy and beleaguered CEOs to write something on the same subject for a book the result is going to be a lot of big sky approaches, a certain amount of chest beating, and quite a bit of duplication. "Wisdom of the CEO" has its share of these distractions. And there's always the lurking feeling that these 29 CEOs are probably PWC clients and that this is an expensive, expansive 384-- page press release,

In this book, however, the authors have worked hard to present their CEOs in an organized and literate manner. The book is divided into eight separate chapters-ranging from Globalization to Organizational Transformation to E-Commerce and three or four of their CEO authors are slotted into each chapter. The chapters are introduced by an 8- to 10-- page dissertation contributed by some 38 other PWC colleagues and the three authors. (I told you it was a massive effort!)

When you add it all up, there are an awful lot of writer/cooks stirring the book/broth. Assuming that most of the CEOs had some writing help with their statements, we end up with around 100 people authoring the book. It just can't be as clear and easy flowing and tied together as a tome by a single author on the same subject such as say, Drucker or Handy.

How did they do? Under the circumstances, not too bad. Some of the lead-in chapter introductions are very well done-I particularly liked the one on Organizational Transformation.

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