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In Their Time: The Greatest Business Leaders of the Twentieth Century [Hardcover]

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Item Number 411773  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   512
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.5" Width: 6.5" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   1.9 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2005
Publisher   Harvard Business School Press
ISBN  1591393450  
EAN  9781591393450  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Examines the history of business in America in the twentieth century, tracing the sociopolitical landscape decade by decade and discussing such visionaries as Bill Gates, Walt Disney, and Madam C.J. Walker.

Publishers Description
Great business leaders possess more than celebrated traits like charisma and an appetite for risk. They have "contextual intelligence"--a profound ability to understand the Zeitgeist of their times and harness it to create successful organizations. Based on a comprehensive Harvard Business School Leadership Initiative study, Anthony J. Mayo and Nitin Nohria present a fascinating collection of stories of the 20th century's greatest leaders, from unsung heroes to legends like Sam Walton and Bill Gates. The book identifies three distinct paths these individuals followed to greatness: entrepreneurial innovation, savvy management, and transformational leadership. Through engaging stories of leaders in each category, the authors show how, by "reading" the context they operated in and embracing the opportunities their times presented, these individuals created, grew, or revitalized outstanding American enterprises. A canon of leadership success from the last century, "In Their Time" reveals insights for contemporary leaders hoping to build lasting legacies.

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More About Anthony J. Mayo & Nitin Nohria

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Anthony J. Mayo is the executive director of the Harvard Business School Leadership Initiative program. Nitin Nohria is Richard P. Chapman Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and the author of several books on management and leadership.

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1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Professionals & Academics > Business   [542  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
How great business leaders "seized the zeitgeist of their times"  Sep 25, 2007

I recently read Paths to Power, co-authored by Anthony Mayo and Nitin Nohria with Laura G. Singleton, as well as this book in which Mayo and Nohria also focus on some of the greatest business leaders of the twentieth century. As in Paths to Power, rather than limiting their attention to a set number of exemplary leaders - in chronological order -- and then devoting a separate chapter to each, Mayo and Nohria chose instead to examine the evolution of 20th century business leadership in terms of the ten decades, assigning to each an appropriate theme while frequently cross-referencing throughout the entire century. For example, Chapter One (1900-1909) is titled "The Land of Opportunity"; Chapter Six (1950-1959) is "Feeding the Machine of Consumption"; and Chapter Ten (1990-1999) is "Reengineering, Restructuring, and Reality Check."

In my opinion, as in their later book (Paths to Power), Mayo and Nohria's role, is more that of cultural anthropologists than as biographers or even business historians. They create a social and economic context within a 100-year framework as they examine what differentiated outsiders from insiders in business leadership in the 20th century.

In the city where I live, we have a number of outdoor markets at which slices of fresh fruit are offered as samples of the produce available. In that same spirit, I frequently include brief excerpts such as these from a book to help those who read my review to get a "taste." Here is a representative selection from the material that Mayo and Nohria provide:

"The business executives of the first decade were driven, opportunistic, and innovative. They operated on a large scale and constantly expanded their base of power. They built businesses that often had far-reaching impact on the way society lived, but they were, for the most part, less concerned about the way people worked; there was generally little regard for progressive employment practices. The focus was not on the quality of work life or necessarily on the quality of the product; it was often the quantity of the output. For many, there was no better way to secure quantity in the 1900s than through consolidation, and the move toward consolidation subsequently spawned another fundamental shift in business - a focus on productivity and efficiency." (Chapter One, Page 31)

Note: The business leaders discussed in this chapter include Clarence M. Wooley (American Radiator Company), Cyrus H.K. Curtis (Curtis Publishing Company), and Frank C. Ball (Ball Brothers Company).

"Although innovation and technical competence were the principal drivers of products in the 1940s, marketing, advertising, and standardization drove products and services in the 1950s. Sales volume was further increased because many products followed a planned-obsolescence life cycle. Successful businesses adopted this use-and-replace strategy, which was aided significantly with the rise in products manufactured with plastic or other synthetic materials. The lack of focus on product quality would eventually become a major liability for U.S. manufacturers, but that was hard to see in the general prosperity of the 1950s and 1960s as corporate profits continued to rise."

Note: The business leaders discussed in this chapter include Howard J. Morgens (Procter & Gamble), C. Kemmins Wilson (Holiday Inn), Raymond A. Kroc (McDonald's), and Malcolm P. McLean (SeaLand Service).

"As we have seen in our analysis of previous decades, the full impact of the entrepreneur's work is often not visible for many years; these businesspeople often push the limits of what is possible and even what is conceivable. By their nature, entrepreneurs and their businesses are ahead of the curve, and it is relatively dangerous to assess performance and impact as it is unfolding.

Note: The business leaders discussed in this chapter include Alfred M. Zeien (Gillette Company), Louis V. Gerstner Jr. (IBM Corporation), and Meg Whitman (eBay).

Those who share my high regard for this brilliant book are urged to check out the aforementioned Paths to Power as well as Stuart Crainer's The Management Century and Stewart H. Holbrook's The Age of the Moguls: The Story of the Robber Barons and the Great Tycoons. (obtaining a copy of it is well worth the effort.) In his book, Holbrook examines a number of "lords of capital" who, in his words, "made `deals' purchased immunity, and did other things which in 1860, or 1880, or even 1900, were considered no more than `smart' by their fellow Americans, but which today would give pause to the most conscientiously dishonest promoter....They were a motley crew, yet taken together they fashioned a savage and gaudy age as distinctively purple as that of imperial Rome, and infinitely more entertaining." The group Holbrook considers is divided into three categories: promoters, bankers, and industrialists, with merchants in the latter group. They include Jim Fisk, Jay Gould, Charlie Gates, Thomas William Lawson, Henry H. Rogers, Henry Morrison Flagler, and Samuel Insull; Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Cyrus McCormick, Philip D. Armour, Henry Clay Frick, Henry Ford, and the Du Ponts; also the Guggenheims, Andrew W. Mellon, James J. Hill, Edward Henry Harriman, Henry Villard, the first two Vanderbilts, and the Astors. Some of these names remain familiar in our own time; others do not. All were "tough-minded fellows, who fought their way encased in rhinoceros hides and filled the air with their mad bellowings and the cries of the wounded." A colorful lot indeed.

Holbrook's account of 19th century robber barons and great tycoons "sets the table" for the "feast" of information and analysis that Anthony Mayo and Nitin Nohria so skillfully provide.
More than history - the insights of History on Business in the 21st Century  Aug 10, 2007
This is an important read beyond the standard insights of Collins, Charan and others. The historical settings of each leader are detailed to set the traits and skills of each business leader in context of the social and economic realities of their times.

Get two copies and give one to someone you admire and start a conversation on how important the social and economic realities are to business.

Interesting Book  Aug 8, 2007
I bought this book for one of my MBA courses. It is a great outline of business in America. I really enjoyed reading the book from the intro to the conclusion!
V. good read  Dec 28, 2005
Gives good sense of American economy combined with history and the leaders who shaped the economy.
It gives excellent details about how the business leaders leveraged the environment (business context) to succeed.
It is very inspirational to anyone thinking of creating a business and dreaming of making it big.
This book explores how context, over time, creates different types of opportunities, and how business legends can be defined by the types of opportunities they pursued. What distinguishes this book from similar studies of legendary leaders, managers and entrepreneurs, is the underlying theme of contextual intelligence-the profound awareness and sensitivity to macro-level factors driving the creation, growth or transformation of business at a particular time. The authors discuss and assess the great names in business in the context of their time, organizing the book by decades, beginning in 1900 through the end of the last century. The book makes for fascinating,d enjoyable reading. This is a top-notch contribution to the study of those who have created and shaped business enterprises.

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