Connecting the Dots

Length: 8 hrs and 28 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (122 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Silicon Valley visionary John Chambers shares the lessons that transformed a dyslexic kid from West Virginia into one of the world's best business leaders and turned a simple router company into a global tech titan.

When Chambers joined Cisco in 1991, it was a company with 400 employees, a single product, and about $70 million in revenue. When he stepped down as CEO in 2015, he left a $47 billion tech giant that was the backbone of the internet and a leader in areas from cybersecurity to data center convergence. Along the way, he had acquired 180 companies and turned more than 10,000 employees into millionaires. Widely recognized as an innovator, an industry leader, and one of the world's best CEOs, Chambers has outlasted and outmaneuvered practically every rival that ever tried to take Cisco on - Nortel, Lucent, Alcatel, IBM, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard, to name a few. 

Now Chambers is sharing his unique strategies for winning in a digital world. From his early lessons and struggles with dyslexia in West Virginia to his bold bets and battles with some of the biggest names in tech, Chambers gives listeners a playbook on how to act before the market shifts, tap customers for strategy, partner for growth, build teams, and disrupt themselves. He also adapted those lessons to transform government, helping global leaders like French President Emmanuel Macron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to create new models for growth. 

As CEO of JC2 Ventures, he's now investing in a new generation of game-changing startups by helping founders become great leaders and scale their companies. Connecting the Dots is destined to become a business classic, providing hard-won insights and critical tools to thrive during the accelerating disruption of the digital age. 

©2018 John Chambers (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Great leaders are distinguished by the ability to move their society or company from where it is to where it has never been. They act on the basis of a set of core principles, both intangible and inspirational. John Chambers, an accomplished executive in his own right, distills those principles in Connecting the Dots with elegance and common sense." (Henry Kissinger, former US Secretary of State)

"Over the years, I've seen John Chambers achieve the virtually impossible, and all by following his blueprint, which he finally reveals in Connecting the Dots. He has done us all a service by making it available, and the smartest thing you could do for yourself and your company is to make it your bible." (Meg Whitman, former president and CEO, Hewlett Packard Enterprise)

"John Chambers shares his secrets for building and leading one of the most innovative and customer-centric companies in the world. This is an invaluable resource for any CEO, entrepreneur, or leader looking to compete in the digital age." (Aaron Levie, cofounder and CEO of Box)

What listeners say about Connecting the Dots

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How Cisco changed my life!

Cisco has been rated the most sustainable company in 2018, this is due to all the hard work, smart decisions, but mostly the culture that John Chambers established. Cisco crossed my path as a high school student in 1997. They were developing an education program to teach networking to young students. Computers were interesting to me, so why not. 20 Years later I own a great carrier, family, and education to Cisco. I loved hearing the stories from John Chambers in this book. It was very nice to hear how and WHY he built the culture that he did at Cisco. Now he is focusing on Startups and digitization. I can't wait to see what he does next.

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Soft business and personal skills from many angles

Writing this book obviously was the author's labor of love. A lot of practical lessons are relayed through business and personal stories. In his life, the boundary between these business vs. personal categories was often non-existent by design; this was his way of showing compassion to all, as all people [of relevance] in either category were considered family. He also discusses many of the most important points regarding activities in the business domain that were key in the success of Cisco, as well as other business-related lessons learned before he joined Cisco (his time as IBM and then Wang). I was surprised to learn that he was so successful as a CEO likely because of, rather than despite, his lack of technical training. This really hits home the extreme value of nurturing soft skills. He ends with a discussion of his current investments as a venture capitalist, and puts more into explaining these endeavors than I would have expected. I think this is a great book for anyone interested in business case studies, as well as anyone wanting practical motivational reminders as you pursue your own ventures.

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Good points!

If you want to learn how a CEO thinks? This book is great. I notice most of the stories was repeated. Overall great book.

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Good lessons taken away

Good lessons learned and applicable in the tech industry. Was a little salesy towards the end of the book but the beginning and middle were great.

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Great leadership read

This book brought back fond memories as I worked at Cisco for 11 years and I can attest that the company culture set by John was felt. Obviously not everyone followed it in the company, but I had the opportunity to meet and work with John's direct leadership team and I can say that they followed his lead. Maybe not presented in the same, but aligned. John has always been in the look out for the market transitions (healthy paranoia as he calls it) and he has been mostly right. Definitely a great read for anyone interested in leadership from a different perspective. A more relational perspective.

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Great insights into Cisco's growth

Great things don't happen without Great Leadership. John Chambers provides wisdom and specific examples of how he developed Cisco. Also, some insights into what is next for business growth globally.

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Wealth of knowledge & experience delivered clearly

John Chambers is clearly one of the great CEOs of his or any generation. His track record speaks for itself as the basis of this audiobook. The insights on leadership are well laid out with examples & stories to reinforce the concepts. His view of the global future of business & government should at least be considered by any of today’s or future leaders. Among the insights are traits to identify employees, great startups & how to navigate markets in transition to your greatest benefit. Mr. Chambers has truly changed the way the World lives works plays & learns and shares that journey in this book.