Hewlett Packard is an American icon, the largest information-technology company in the world. The bedrock of Silicon Valley, it employs more than 300,000 people, its market capitalization is in excess of $100 billion, and its products are in almost every home in the country where there is a printer or computer.
In 1999 the company began a transition from the family management style of its founders. It made a bold statement by hiring as its new CEO the most visible female business executive in America: Carly Fiorina. In 2005, the board fired her, amid accusations of imperiousness that had begun to leak damagingly into the business media.The board at that time included one of Silicon Valley's most flamboyant venture capitalists and owner of the largest and most expensive yacht in the world, and a former CIA asset who believed he personally channeled the values of the company's founders. Each had a long and complicated history with HP, and each believed he should determine the company's future.
They ran up against a corporate governance expert whom they could not roll, and a new CEO whose loyalties on the board were entirely opaque. In this way, the stage was set for a rancorous feud that split the board into implacably distrusting factions. In the middle of the damaging schism, HP introduced the Big Lie. The lie was pinned on the chairman, who was receiving treatment for stage 4 ovarian cancer. And it sizzled through a largely unquestioning media.
Anthony Bianco gets to heart of the ethical morass at HP that ended up damning the entire board that created it. Almost every American has an interest in how the country's greatest corporations are run, and the character of the people entrusted with them. The story of Hewlett-Packard reflects power struggles that shape corporate America and is an alarming morality tale for our times.
This book is good if you like true business stories like I do. But I must comment on the reader/announcer. Several times throughout the reading he mispronounces words that, as a professional, he ought to know. One word was "forte" meaning strength. He pronounced it "fort". When I heard it the first time, I merely let it slip by, but when I heard it a second time, I had to roll the audio back and convince myself of what I had actually heard. If it was only that, I could let it pass, but there were several others. One major mispronounciation was the last name of former Defence Secretary Robert McNamara, which he pronounced "mic-MAN-era". Here again, I had to go back in order to be sure of what I was hearing.
To me this is inexcusable by not only this man, but by the producers as well as now I'm listening for the next mistake, rather than enjoying the book. Also, one is left wondering if he is pronouncing the names of the characters correctly. How can we tell?
Audible should bring this to the attention of the editors, to get this recording corrected.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I could not get past the narrator so I stopped listening after 30 minutes. He gives the book a very scholar tone which makes it tedious to listen to.
I needed a more enthusiastic reader. It was very insightful to be inside the boardroom. The beginning was more interesting than the middle and end.
Way too much inside baseball. It's very hard to write a business book that keeps the reader's interest.
Held my interest, a tell-all in the corporate world, a fun listen. I enjoyed hearing the history of how HP started, also the separate stories of two women who would rise in the ranks at HP. I highly recommend this book. The narration is excellent.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
A strongly researched and detailed, realistic portrayal of events. Yet its quite spoiled by Bianco's strongly partisan depiction about one of the main players involved in the HP spygate episode. Even the protagonist's past is shown in favorable light. While this may be deserving, Bianco could have done well to give the positive aspects and leave the final verdict to his readers. Narration is too fast and at times very dull. Book could have been a bit longer (12/13hrs) to give listener time to digest narration. Serious readers such as myself would not mind the longer time.