IBM Redux: Lou Gerstner and the Business Turnaround of the Decade

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9780788198717: IBM Redux: Lou Gerstner and the Business Turnaround of the Decade
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When Gerstner took the helm at IBM in 1993, it was in a death spiral & lost $8 billion that year. One of the nation s industrial giants seemed destined to die in bankruptcy. Six years later, after a miraculous recovery, IBM was thriving once again. Here is the first in-depth look at Gerstner, the man who led IBM s recovery & how he did it. Chronicles Gerstner s rise, his arrival as the first steward from outside the company s ranks, & his implementation of new business & marketing strategies. From the complete overhaul of IBM s culture & image to the takeover of Lotus & the development of network technology, Garr vividly illustrates Gerstner s operating methods, management philosophy, & vision.

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Review:

Lou Gerstner, the man who flipped IBM's fortunes, has what a former colleague calls "a vertical vision of reality." That is, if things aren't moving upward, he's very unhappy. When he took over at IBM in 1993, they were moving downward at a frightening speed, and what he did to turn the company around will probably be studied in business schools in future generations. Until then, we have IBM Redux, by Doug Carr, a very entertaining and instructive look at Gerstner and the company he revived.

Carr, a former IBM speechwriter, possesses an insider's knowledge about the Gerstner years at IBM: the despair of watching the company sink into the tar pits of ever-deeper red ink; the ruthlessness of the early firings and other cost controls (one woman was downsized--"excessed" is the actual IBM euphemism--when she was eight and a half months pregnant and coming off a stellar performance review; another was given his termination papers while in a coma); the business decisions that led to the turnaround; and finally the elation of seeing the company reinvented as a nimble information-services provider.

This is far from a hagiography of Gerstner, however. Because Carr didn't have access to him, he relies on anecdotes from those who know Gerstner and have worked with him, and the result is a fascinating portrait of the CEO as a young man (one former high school football teammate recalls an errant pass from quarterback Gerstner that led to the teammate's career-ending knee injury); as a man in a hurry (the chapters on Gerstner's years at American Express and RJR Nabisco foreshadow his accomplishments at IBM); and finally as a seasoned businessman who succeeded in overhauling a company that few thought would survive intact. --Lou Schuler

About the Author:

Doug Garr is the author of IBM Redux: Lou Gerstner and the Business Turnaround of the Decade. His work has appeared in BusinessWeek, Fortune's Technology Review, GQ, Popular Science, Worth, New York, and MIT's Technology Review. Garr lives in New York.

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9780887309434: IBM Redux: Lou Gerstner and the Business Turnaround of the Decade

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ISBN 10:  0887309437 ISBN 13:  9780887309434
Publisher: HarperBusiness, 1999
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9780887309441: IBM Redux: Lou Gerstner and the Business Turnaround of the Decade

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9780471491880: IBM Redux : Lou Gerstner & the Business Turnaround of the Decade

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