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Publisher's Summary

Fresh from her triumph at Lucent, Carly Fiorina took command of Hewlett-Packard in July 1999. Suddenly a woman was running one of the largest technology companies on earth, venturing farther than anyone else dared into traditional men's territory. This wasn't just the engineer's realm of bits and bytes, this was the guys' world of beer blasts, rolled-up shirt sleeves, and deer-hunting trips to the founders' ranch.

Perfect Enough is the definitive account of her daredevil bid to remake HP with a record-shattering $20 billion acquisition of archrival Compaq Computer. It is a story with unexpected heroes, courage in the face of disaster, and a struggle so fierce that it could only be settled in a courtroom showdown. Not since the late 1980s, when Wall Street operatives battled over the fate of RJR Nabisco, has a takeover drama so decisively moved beyond the business pages and become an enduring passage in American History.

Looming in the background for the entire story are the ghosts of Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett. The two men will forever be American heroes; they founded Hewlett-Packard in a Palo Alto garage during the Great Depression and built it into what was widely known as "the best outfit on earth." Some of the book's most searingly emotional scenes come when Carly Fiorina and Bill Hewlett's oldest son, Walter, fight to the point of exhaustion about which of them is truly the rightful heir to the founders' legacy.

In Perfect Enough, Anders draws on unparalleled access to Hewlett-Packard insiders and board members, including dissident Walter Hewlett, to write about a takeover battle that rocked Wall Street, stunned the computer industry, and is still being digested today. It is a spellbinding chronicle of hope, ambition, betrayal, despair, and family pride.

Executive Producer: Karen DiMattia
Producer: Paul Ruben
Jacket photograph by Doug Kanter © AFP/Corbis
© 2003 George Anders
(P) 2003 Random House, Inc.

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  • Overall

Perfect Enough (Unabridged)

This is a well-researched book on the history and current happenings of the Hewlett-Packard company from its beginning to the recent events surrounding the merger with Compaq and beyond. It especially highlights the challenges facing the IT industry today. It also describes the particular challenge of moving a company established by two individuals in the 1930's and built with strong values into a company that can survive in today's business environment with employees who are from a different generation than in the early stages of the company's development. This gives some insight into some of the challenges faced today by modern companies where the balance of employee programs with the need for company achievement and productivity is not always possible to be completely in alignment and requires careful management and leadership skills.
It highlights Carly Fiorina's character and steadfastness in moving HP towards the merger of the two companies. I think that the book was weakened by the constant praise of Fiorina. Her strength of character comes out through the story but there was some interpretation of her style which seemed to be packaged for the right approval and I found this a bit irksome.
Overall a good book and well worth the read.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Phil
  • Vancouver, WA, USA
  • 06-28-03

A must read for HP people, past and present!

A must read for present and former HP/Agilent people. Regardless of your opinion of Carly, the author captures the HP many of us loved. The book does not paint over the fact that HP needed change to survive and hopefully prosper. I for one am grateful to have worked there and appreciate the book?s articulation of my companies? rich history.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Interesting facts, but totally biased presentation

Very interesting content centered around a key period of HP company history written just at the time the Compaq merger happened. A decade of developments allows to understand the book in a different way and see the hubris in the decisions and the wisdom of some of the critics. Current HP soulsearching shows that the problems existing then went unresolved
However, severely lacking in objetivity and even handness, sounding at time like a PR piece on Carly Fiorina. Language is quite unfit for serious non-fiction and psychological analysis of characters is shallow and full of boosterism. On top of that overly-centered in the proxy contest of the Compaq merger
Would not be my first choice but an interesting read if you are interested in the period

  • Overall
  • Pierre
  • New Minas, NS, Canada
  • 11-27-06

Great read!

This is a very entertaining and informative book. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it during my walks.

It added texture and background to the major events of the past few years in the world of business and technology.

  • Overall

The author clearly had an agenda

Interesting story but it has a clear pro Fiorina agenda. That is all the more poignant in light of resent events.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful