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Jack: Straight from the Gut | [Jack Welch, John A. Byrne]

Jack: Straight from the Gut

Jack Welch lifted GE from a conglomerate with a market value of about $12 billion to one of the world's largest and most widely-admired companies, with a market value of more than $500 billion. In Jack, the author reveals the strategies and philosophies that put him at the top.
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Publisher's Summary

As CEO of General Electric for the past 20 years, Jack Welch has built its market cap by more than $450 billion and established himself as the most admired business leader in the world. His championing of initiatives like Six Sigma quality, globalization, and e-business have helped define the modern corporation. At the same time, he is a gutsy boss who has forged a unique philosophy and an operating system that relies on a "boundary-less" sharing of ideas, an intense focus on people, and an informal, give-and-take style that makes bureaucracy the enemy.


In anecdotal detail and with self-effacing humor, Jack Welch gives us the people who shaped his life (most notably his Irish mother) and the big hits and the big misses that characterized his career. Starting at GE in 1960 as an engineer earning $10,500, Jack learned the need for "getting out of the pile" when his first raise was the same as everyone else's. He stayed out of the corporate bureaucracy while running a $2 billion collection of GE businesses - in a sweater and blue jeans - out of a Hilton in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.


After avoiding GE's Fairfield, Connecticut headquarters for years, Jack was eventually summoned by then-Chairman Reg Jones, who was planning his succession. There ensued one of the most painful parts of his career - Jack's dark-horse struggle, filled with political tension, to make it to the CEO's chair. A hug from Reg confirmed Jack was the new boss - and started the GE transformation. The riveting story of his last year - the elaborate process of selecting a successor and the attempt to buy Honeywell - is also told in compelling detail.


This is classic Jack Welch: down to earth, powerful, and filled with common sense.

©2001 by Jack Welch; (P)2001 by Time Warner AudioBooks

What the Critics Say

"As a self-portrait of one of America's most successful modern business leaders, Jack is remarkable for its candor." (Ther Economist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (604 )
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  •  
    Matthew Wauwatosa, WI, USA 10-13-04
    Matthew Wauwatosa, WI, USA 10-13-04 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A little substance. But just a little."

    There are some truly important and different ideas in this book about managing your career and managing a company. All tied together, however, those moments account for only about an hour of this book. The rest comes across as a self-congratulatory ode to Jack Welch and GE. It gets more than a little old in a hurry.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Enid In The City USA 05-27-14
    Enid In The City USA 05-27-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Interesting autobiography of an extraordinary man"
    What did you love best about Jack?

    I enjoyed learning about this remarkable man and how he went straight to the top.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sojourner T 09-15-13
    Sojourner T 09-15-13 Member Since 2013

    Suzzanne Schnabel

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    "The Hatchet Man......."
    Would you try another book from Jack Welch and John A. Byrne and/or Mike Barnicle?

    Definitely not, I don't give a fig for Jack Welch's personal life. I expected to hear about how he made GE work better, not how he threw his family over because he grew apart from them, his sleeping habits with a woman much younger than himself, his mother and father, row home living , and how he was just a regular guy.
    HOW DID HE MAKE GE work better. IMO it wasn't there. Sounded to much like a "come clean and get all this off my chest" story instead of the get it done mechanics of making a bureaucratic intense organization -- that does stupid, cost inefficient things all the way up the food chain --work at the root.


    What aspect of Mike Barnicle’s performance would you have changed?

    Mr. Barnicle did a good job of reading,.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The parts that really talked to the very dramatic reorganization and restructuring of GE. Can't deny that part the guy got right and GE employees were the big winners; they had good jobs and were part of something great for awhile. But, I have to add -- I know an appliance repair man that wouldn't give a dollar for GE products; of course that's now -- not when "Hatch" was at the wheel.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daryl Cypress, TX, United States 07-08-13
    Daryl Cypress, TX, United States 07-08-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Must Have for the Career Professional"

    This book is a must-have for the career professional. Not everyone is willing to make the all-out sacrifice to be CEO of a global organization, but there are plenty of take-aways for everyone who is building a career and a life.

    Jack Welch has been a role-model for the way I think and behave since I first heard of differentiation. I actually resigned from a position when I realized that I was in the bottom 10% of an organization and moved to a place where I could be firmly in the critical 70%. Now, I am examining what it takes to be in the top 20% of my discipline so that my contributions are long-lasting and meaningful.

    If you buy one business book this year - this is the one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alberto Sao Paulo, Brazil 03-03-13
    Alberto Sao Paulo, Brazil 03-03-13
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    "Jack Welch's vision is overwelming"
    Would you listen to Jack again? Why?

    I would like to read it again the next decade. After 10 years of work experience Im sure it will bring a different view of a bussines.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The best part of the audio version is how Mike transmits the passion for the bussines that Jack Welch surely had. In several parts the book gets hard to follow because he is so exited telling what happened in certain meeting or in certain problem that he speeds up the story. But at the same time, is so contagious that makes you want to become the next GE's CEO


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P.D.TZEREFOS 02-01-13
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    "Must read (or rather listen to)"
    Where does Jack rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the best I've listed so far. Content wise it is the distilled knowledge of a great CEO. The narrator managed to deliver the passion of the man.


    Any additional comments?

    If you have any interest in becoming a better professional, just read it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KP United States 08-29-12
    KP United States 08-29-12 Member Since 2005
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    "Surprisingly Listen-able"

    I was initially skeptical that I could listen to a business autobiography (vs reading it) as I usually only listen to fiction. However, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. First, Jack Welch was a character, and all of his good points come across in a light, entertaining and informative manner. (You hear about some failures also, but there's a lot more time spent on the positives -- not surprising, as it's an autobiography.) Second, there is a lot to take away from his experience if you run a business or manage people. Third, it is well narrated -- I especially liked that the narrator has an accent appropriate for representing a Massachusetts native (as Jack Welch is).

    The focus is extremely heavy on his professional life and his personal life gets little mention, which I personally liked, but that may not be for everyone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jackson E.M. Mamogale Fourways, Gauteng South Africa 08-13-12
    Jackson E.M. Mamogale Fourways, Gauteng South Africa 08-13-12
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    "Great read, a practical and pragmatic view mngt"
    Would you listen to Jack again? Why?

    Yes, Very practical and pragmatic in an approach of the story line in management and leadership.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Employee Performance manage specifically the four e's + p.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    michael POUGHQUAG, NY, United States 01-21-12
    michael POUGHQUAG, NY, United States 01-21-12
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    "A must read for business management professionals"
    Where does Jack rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    the best book I have ever listened to that provides an interesting life story but also teaches best practices in management


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Grunt Style 12-16-11
    Grunt Style 12-16-11 Listener Since 2009

    Founder/CEO of Grunt Style. Design, markets, produces and fulfills our own products. No formal business education, military background.

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    "How Jack did it and how he thinks."

    ...is basically how he writes this book. It's very interesting since I was quite young in the 80s and don't remember some of the situations back then.

    Jack Welch stresses the culture that he tried to breeds into GE. He explains how he was willing to make changes if it bettered the company later on in life.

    Overall, great book, probably a one or two time listen though, but well worth the listen if you are interested in business culture and dealing with management.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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