Sunday, May 10, 2009

Book Review - Tough Choices - Carly Fiorna

Tough Choices By Carly Fiorna: Great autobiography of Carly Fiorna, the former CEO of HP. This is a must-read for B-school students. While aspiring B-school women could get more reading this book, I think aspiring men are plenty well served too. Carly explains how her parents ambitions primarily drove her excellence and decisions in early lfie, and how she transitioned to making her own decisions when she dropped out of law school. She explains her career progression at AT&T, which shows all the typical large company dynamics how leadership, influencing, strategy and execution works in such places, despite being slow, political and filled with frustrations. B-school students who might start dealing with senior management are well served by reading through her vivid experience and candor dealing with the multitude of what I'd call testosterone packs. She is candid about when she cried, when she was nervous and afraid, when she put her foot down, how she judged people and positioned herself over many different situations, all of which will be immensely useful for the folks who will go through the same in their career, to compare and learn from someone who has been before in such shoes. Of course, she also explains her perspective of what happened at HP - what again stands out is her candor in allowing the board to state she was fired, as well that she hasn't played her gender card through her career to her advantage or disadvantage. Rather than her media stereotype of a glamorous, stubborn, woman CEO, she comes out as a very capable, intelligent, balanced leader and role model.

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