In 2009, at the peak of the financial crisis, AIG - the American insurance behemoth - was sinking fast. It was the peg upon which the nation hung its ire and resentment during the financial crisis: the pinnacle of Wall Street arrogance and greed.
When Bob Benmosche climbed aboard as CEO, it was widely assumed that he would go down with his ship. In mere months he turned things around, pulling AIG from the brink of financial collapse and restoring its profitability. Before three years were up, AIG had fully repaid its staggering debt to the US government - with interest.
Good for the Money is an unyielding leader's memoir of a career spent fixing companies through thoughtful, unconventional strategy. With his brash, no-holds-barred approach to the job, Benmosche restored AIG's employee morale and good name. His is a story of perseverance, told with refreshing irreverence in unpretentious terms.
Called "an American hero" by Andrew Ross Sorkin, author of Too Big to Fail, Benmosche was a self-made man who never forgot what life is like for the nation's 99 percent; again and again he pushed back against obstinate colleagues to salvage American jobs and industry. Good for the Money affords you a front-row seat for Benmosche's heated battles with major players, from Geithner to Obama to Cuomo, and offers incomparable lessons in leadership from the legendary CEO who changed the way Wall Street does business.
©2016 Bob Benmosche (P)2016 Gildan Media LLC
For the genre, it's one of the better more livelier and passionate stories. Hagiographic, of course, but in harmony with its proud subject. Good details of boardroom and sub-cabinet DC drama.
Mr. Benmosche's story is told like war story. It is messy, personal, surprising, often profane, at times humorous and blunt. Through Bob's eyes you see AIG as a valuable asset worth saving. This belief defines his time with AIG and initially is the source of conflict with his board.
You can count on one hand those he criticizes for failing to participate in the fight to restore the company's function and brand. However, he is lavish in crediting the employees of AIG as the vehicle that drove the turn around and respectful of the efforts of those who came before him. More surprisingly, though more concerned with AIG's responsibility to repay the tax payers, the government becomes a is partner in AIG's eventual recovery.
Interspersed with the story of AIG is Bob's story. What made him who he is. His beliefs and principles. His skill set. His fight with the cancer that would eventually kill him.
When reading this book you need to remember that Bob was not a participant in the decline of AIG. He defined and oversaw it's amazing turnaround. So, sit back and enjoy it. You'll have a rare glimpse into the characteristics and complexities of leadership during crisis. You'll also come away with an appreciation for what made this man tick.
This book is extremely well read. The reader can make or break an audio book. This one is easy on the ear.
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