Winning / Edition 4


Winning is destined to become the bible of business for generations to come. It clearly and succinctly lays out the answers to the most difficult, important questions people face both on and off the job. Welch's objective is to speak to people at every level of the organization, in companies large and small. His audience is everyone from line workers to college students and MBAs, from project managers to senior executives. He describes his core business principles and devotes most of Winning to the real "stuff" of work--how to lead, hire, get ahead, even write a budget. Welch's optimistic, no excuses, get-it-done mind set is riveting. His goal is to help anyone and everyone who has a passion for success.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Let's be honest: Jack Welch doesn't need our praise. Pitched at everyone from iron-willed CEOs to befuddled college grads, this book was an instant bestseller. But once you've spent a few pages with its pithy, candid advice -- Welch's plainspoken guidelines for hiring and managing people, beating the competition, finding the right job, getting promoted, and most everything else associated with winning the game of business -- you'll see why.
", practical and not afraid to address tough subjects"
"...candid and accessible...insights and wisdom to share."
The Wall Street Journal
"The right stuff -- Mr. Welch offers knowing descriptions of dilemmas and problems that are all too common in American business life, and he proposes a few ideas for solving them.."
USA Today
"Welch dispense the sharp-edged business acumen...He is giving back what he learned, and not just to fellow CEO's. He is able to write a book that might just reach the rest of us."
Library Journal
Welch (Jack: Straight from the Gut) follows up his successful and frank autobiography with his equally straight-shooting insights on winning that focuses more on business and management. The now legendary retired CEO of General Electric presents management wisdom he learned in his 40 years with GE that culminated with growing the company from a market capitalization of $4 billion to nearly half a trillion dollars. Since his retirement in 2001, Welch has been on a whirlwind tour of speaking engagements tied to his first book and Q&A sessions with managers from all levels, and this work summarizes his beliefs that were covered in these appearances. Written with his wife, a former editor of the Harvard Business Review, the book is organized into four parts, including management principles and concepts; managing people, processes, and culture; and managing the art and quality of a professional life. Welch's personality and ideas are soundly evident, although his distinctly New England accent and raspy narration may send some listeners to the hard copy. Highly recommended for larger public libraries and university libraries supporting a business curriculum.-Dale Farris, Groves, TX Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Soundview Executive Book Summaries

What does it take to win? According to Jack Welch, winning in business is great because when companies win, people thrive and grow. There are more jobs and more opportunities everywhere and for everyone. But even the most talented businessperson with the best intentions will get nowhere unless he or she knows HOW to win in today’s complex business world. Business is a game, and winning that game is a total blast!

Mission and Values
Mission and values are two terms that have got to be among the most abstract, overused, misunderstood words in business. By contrast, a good mission statement and a good set of values are so real they smack you in the face with their concreteness. The mission announces exactly where you are going, and the values describe the behaviors that will get you there.

Effective mission statements balance the possible and the impossible. They give people a clear sense of the direction to profitability and the inspiration to feel they are part of something big and important. A mission cannot, and must not, be delegated to anyone except the people ultimately held accountable for it.

In contrast to the creation of a mission, everyone in a company should have something to say about values. You can use company-wide meetings, training sessions, and the like, for as much personal discussion as possible, and the intranet for broader input. The executive team has to go out of their way to be sure they’ve created an atmosphere where people feel it is their obligation to contribute.

Candor: The Biggest Dirty Little Secret in Business
Lack of candor blocks smart ideas, fast action and good people contributing all the stuff they’ve got. It’s a killer. When you’ve got candor, everything just operates faster and better.

First you get idea-rich. Second, candor generates speed. Third, candor cuts costs. Put all of its benefits and efficiencies together and you realize you just can’t afford not to have candor. Given the advantages of candor, you have to wonder why we don’t have more of it.

To get candor, you reward it, praise it and talk about it. You make public heroes out of people who demonstrate it. Most of all, you yourself demonstrate it in an exuberant and even exaggerated way - even when you’re not the boss.

Differentiation: Cruel and Darwinian? Try Fair and Effective
Companies win when their managers make a clear and meaningful distinction between top- and bottom-performing businesses and people, when they cultivate the strong and cull the weak. Companies suffer when every business and person is treated equally.

Differentiation is just resource allocation. Along with being the most efficient and most effective way to run your company, differentiation also happens to be the fairest and the kindest. Ultimately, it makes winners out of everyone. However, differentiation cannot - and must not - be implemented quickly. At GE, it took about a decade to install the kind of candor and trust that makes differentiation possible.

Hiring: What Winners Are Made Of
Hiring good people is hard. Hiring great people is brutally hard. Nothing matters more in winning than getting the right people on the field. However, before you think about assessing people for a job, they have to pass through three screens.

The first test is for integrity. People with integrity tell the truth, and they keep their word. They take responsibility for past actions, admit mistakes, and fix them. The second test is for intelligence. The candidate has a strong dose of intellectual curiosity, with a breadth of knowledge to work with or lead other smart people in today’s complex world. The third ticket to the game is maturity. Mature individuals can withstand heat, handle stress and setbacks, and alternatively - when those moments arise - enjoy success with equal parts of joy and humility.

Change: Mountains Do Move
Change is a critical part of business. You need to change, preferably before you have to. Most people hate it; they love familiarity and patterns, and cling to them. But attributing a behavior to human nature doesn’t mean you have to be controlled by it. Instead, it comes down to embracing four practices:

  1. Attach every change initiative to a clear purpose or goal. Change for change’s sake is stupid and enervating.
  2. Hire and promote only true believers and get-on-with-it types.
  3. Remove the resisters, even if their performance is satisfactory.
  4. Look at car wrecks.

Crisis Management
As long as companies are made up of human beings, there will be mistakes, controversies and blowups. The cold truth is that some degree of unwanted and unacceptable behavior is inevitable.

You can be proactive in preventing some crisis in three main ways: tight controls, good internal processes and a culture of integrity.

Strategy: It’s All in the Sauce
In real life, strategy is actually very straightforward. You pick a general direction and implement like hell. Strategy means making clear-cut choices about how to compete. You cannot be everything to everybody.

Six Sigma: Better than a Trip to the Dentist
Nothing compares to the effectiveness of Six Sigma when it comes to improving a company’s operational efficiency, raising its productivity and lowering its costs. Six Sigma has two primary applications. First, it can be used to remove the variation in routine, relatively simple, repetitive tasks. And second, it can be used to make sure large, complex projects go right the first time.

Six Sigma is meant for and has its most meaningful impact on repetitive internal processes and complex product designs. Once you understand the simple maxim "variation is evil," you’re 60 percent of the way to becoming a Six Sigma expert. The other 40 percent is getting the evil out. Copyright © 2006 Soundview Executive Book Summaries
—Soundview Summary

“When you talk with Jack about management, his energy and passion fill the room.”
Warren E. Buffett
"When you talk with Jack about management, his energy and passion fill the room."
New York Times
“Now is the time.”
“Manager of the Century”
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2580060753941
  • Manufacturer: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/5/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)
  • These items ship to U.S. address only. No APO/FPO.

Meet the Author

Jack Welch began his career with the General Electric Company in 1960, and in 1981 became the company's eighth Chairman and CEO. During his tenure, GE's market capitalization increased by $400 billion, making it the world's most valuable corporation. In 1999, Fortune named him the "manager of the century," and the Financial Times recently named him one of the three most admired business leaders in the world today. Upon retiring from GE in 2001, Mr. Welch published his internationally best-selling autobiography Jack: Straight from the Gut. He now teaches at MIT's Sloan School of Management and speaks to business leaders and students around the world.

Suzy Welch, a noted business journalist, is the former editor of the Harvard Business Review and the author of numerous articles on leadership, change, creativity, and organizational behavior. She is currently a contributing editor of O magazine, where she writes about workplace and career issues, and Executive-in-Residence at Babson College's Center for Women's Leadership. Together, Suzy and Jack Welch write "The Welch Way" for BusinessWeek magazine, and their column, through The New York Times Syndicate, appears in more than thirty major newspapers around the world.

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Table of Contents

Introduction : "every day, there is a new question" 1
1 Mission and values : so much hot air about something so real 13
2 Candor : the biggest dirty little secret in the business 25
3 Differentiation : cruel and Darwinian? : try fair and effective 37
4 Voice and dignity : every brain in the game 53
5 Leadership : it's not just about you 61
6 Hiring : what winners are made of 81
7 People management : you've got the right players, now what? 97
8 Parting ways : letting go is hard to do 119
9 Change : mountains do move 133
10 Crisis management : from oh-God-no to yes-we're-fine 147
11 Strategy : it's all in the sauce 165
12 Budgeting : reinventing the ritual 189
13 Organic growth : so you want to start something new 205
14 Mergers and acquisitions : deal heat and other deadly sins 217
15 Six Sigma : better than a trip to the dentist 245
16 The right job : find it and you'll never really work again 255
17 Getting promoted : sorry, no shortcuts 277
18 Hard spots : that damn boss 299
19 Work-life balance : everything you always wanted to know about having it all (but were afraid to hear) 313
20 Here, there, and everywhere : the questions that almost got away 339
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First Chapter


Chapter One

Mission and Values

So Much Hot Air About Something So Real

Bear with me, if you will, while I talk about mission and values.

I say that because these two terms have got to be among the most abstract, overused, misunderstood words in business. When I speak with audiences, I'm asked about them frequently, usually with some level of panic over their actual meaning and relevance. (In New York, I once got the question "Can you please define the difference between a mission and a value, and also tell us what difference that difference makes?") Business schools add to the confusion by having their students regularly write mission statements and debate values, a practice made even more futile for being carried out in a vacuum. Lots of companies do the same to their senior executives, usually in an attempt to create a noble-sounding plaque to hang in the company lobby.

Too often, these exercises end with a set of generic platitudes that do nothing but leave employees directionless or cynical. Who doesn't know of a mission statement that reads something like, "XYZ Company values quality and service," or, "Such-and-Such Company is customer-driven." Tell me what company doesn't value quality and service or focus on its customers! And who doesn't know of a company that has spent countless hours in emotional debate only to come up with values that, despite the good intentions that went into them, sound as if they were plucked from an all-purpose list of virtues including "integrity, quality, excellence, service, and respect." Give me a break -- every decent company espouses these things! And frankly, integrity is just a ticket to the game. If you don't have it in your bones, you shouldn't be allowed on the field.

By contrast, a good mission statement and a good set of values are so real they smack you in the face with their concreteness. The mission announces exactly where you are going, and the values describe the behaviors that will get you there. Speaking of that, I prefer abandoning the term values altogether in favor of just behaviors. But for the sake of tradition, let's stick with the common terminology.

First: About That Mission ....

In my experience, an effective mission statement basically answers one question: How do we intend to win in this business?

It does not answer: What were we good at in the good old days? Nor does it answer: How can we describe our business so that no particular unit or division or senior executive gets pissed off?

Instead, the question "How do we intend to win in this business?" is defining. It requires companies to make choices about people, investments, and other resources, and it prevents them from falling into the common mission trap of asserting they will be all things to all people at all times. The question forces companies to delineate their strengths and weaknesses in order to assess where they can profitably play in the competitive landscape.

Yes, profitably -- that's the key. Even Ben & Jerry's, the crunchy granola, hippy, save-the-world ice cream company based in Vermont, has "profitable growth" and "increasing value for stakeholders" as one of the elements of its three-part mission statement because its executives know that without financial success, all the social goals in the world don't have a chance.

That's not saying a mission shouldn't be bold or aspirational. Ben & Jerry's, for instance, wants to sell "all natural ice cream and euphoric concoctions" and "improve the quality of life locally, nationally and internationally." That kind of language is great in that it absolutely has the power to excite people and motivate them to stretch.

At the end of the day, effective mission statements balance the possible and the impossible. They give people a clear sense of the direction to profitability and the inspiration to feel they are part of something big and important.

Take our mission at GE as an example. From 1981 through 1995, we said we were going to be "the most competitive enterprise in the world" by being No. 1 or No. 2 in every market -- fixing, selling, or closing every underperforming business that couldn't get there. There could be no doubt about what this mission meant or entailed. It was specific and descriptive, with nothing abstract going on. And it was aspirational, too, in its global ambition.

This mission came to life in a bunch of different ways. First off, in a time when business strategy was mainly kept in an envelope in headquarters and any information about it was the product of the company gossip mill, we talked openly about which businesses were already No. 1 or No. 2, and which businesses had to get repaired quickly or be gone. Such candor shocked the system, but it did wonders for making the mission real to our people. They may have hated it when businesses were sold, but they understood why.

Moreover, we harped on the mission constantly, at every meeting large and small. Every decision or initiative was linked to the mission. We publicly rewarded people who drove the mission and let go of people who couldn't deal with it for whatever reason, usually nostalgia for their business in the "good old days."

Now, it is possible that in 1981 we could have come up with an entirely different mission for GE. Say after lots of debate and an in-depth analysis of technology,competitors, and customers,we had decided we wanted to become the most innovative designer of electrical products in the world. Or say we had decided that our most profitable route would have been to quickly and thoroughly globalize every business we had, no matter what its market position.

Either of these missions would have sent GE off on an entirely different road from the one we took. They would have required us to buy and sell different businesses than we did, or hire and let go of different people, and so forth ...

Winning. Copyright © by Jack Welch. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Interviews & Essays

A Letter from Jack Welch

Dear Reader:

I've just written a book called Winning.

I wrote this book for people who love business and care passionately about doing it right. I wrote it for people who get up every morning hungry for success -- both at work and in life.

For the past three years, I have traveled around the world, talking with hundreds of thousands of people in companies large and small, and at every level of their organizations. In Q&A sessions from Chicago to Tokyo to Mexico City, the wide-ranging, hard-hitting questions I have heard have energized me -- people really want to learn, and they want to win!

That's why Winning is about every aspect of work.

The book opens with a section on my "philosophy" of business -- four principles that have guided me throughout my career. Those principles include "mission and values," "candor," "differentiation," and "voice and dignity," but I realize those words are just dry concepts. That's why I talk about them in Winning with stories, anecdotes, and real experiences.

The rest of Winning is pragmatic and practical...divided into three parts.

The first part is all about managing a company. It answers questions about being a leader and getting the best people on your team and letting others go. It looks at managing people, implementing change quickly, and managing a crisis.

The second part deals with you and your competition. Writing a great strategy. Coming up with a budget that gets the best out of everyone. Living through a merger without a mess. This part of Winning tackles these issues and more.

The third part is all about your career. Its chapters deal with getting the right job and the best way to get promoted, not to mention tough ones like working for a difficult boss. There is also a chapter on work-life balance.

Ultimately, Winning is about making business more fun. I hope it touches you in some way that makes your life better, too.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 39 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 39 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2006


    I have now read both books by Jack Welch. After the first, I just had to read the second. I always find it interesting to read about the influential people in America. I recommend this to all people who are wanting to learn how to succeed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2005

    useful even below a CEO

    Jack Welch allows his points to be made and used to those of us not quite to the executive level(yet) unlike many books out there. I would recommend it to anyone trying to move up.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2005

    Climb the ladder

    Good book filled with lots of experience. It's a book that will serve you well if you're on your way to the top of the corporate structure. As an entrepreneur, however, I like having my own business which this doesn't address. I just bought another book called Stop Working by Rohan Hall that's more suited for people who want to start their own business to become independently wealthy. Both books are excellent however Winning is targeted towards climbing the ladder and Stop Working towards becoming wealthy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2014

    Win a free ipad

    Kiss your hand three times then post this to three other books then look under your pillow

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  • Posted October 14, 2012

    Great Read!!! This book has changed the way I manage

    Welch begins Winning with an introductory section called "Underneath It All," which describes his business philosophy. He explores the importance of values, candor, differentiation, and voice and dignity for all. The core of Winning is devoted to the real "stuff" of work. This main part of the book is split into three sections. The first looks inside the company, from leadership to picking winners to making change happen. The second section looks outside, at the competition, with chapters on strategy, mergers, and Six Sigma, to name just three. The next section of the book is about managing your career—from finding the right job to achieving work-life balance. Welch's optimistic, no excuses, get-it-done mind-set is riveting. Packed with personal anecdotes and written in Jack's distinctive no nonsense voice, Winning offers deep insights, original thinking, and solutions to nuts-and-bolts problems that will change the way people think about work.

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  • Posted March 23, 2011

    Finally the answers not found in "From the Gut"

    Thankfully, Jack gets to the source of is business genius. Something that was hinted at but not really well illucidated in "From the Gut". Wonder is Suzy is the difference?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2009

    Winning Wins

    Loved it

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  • Posted March 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer


    Great read, Jack is one of the greatest of all time, I enjoyed reading his countless stories of success. What a great leader, it is obvious that he puts human capital at the front of his priorities.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2008

    A must read for anybody, not just business people...

    This book has given me so many insights, tips and ideas, I cannot even count them anymore. If I were to highlight the 'important' sections for future reference, I would have to literally highlight the entire book. Yes, it's that good! No matter where you are at a professional or personal level this book will increase your knowledge and it will serve as a reference/advice for many situations that are likely to come across in the course of your life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2008

    A Managerial Essential

    If you really want to be a great manager one day and truly be viewed as a leader, this book can help build the one thing you will need the most - the right attitude. With a very well thought out structure, real world examples, relevant and interesting stories and a in your face attitude, Jack Welsh presents winning formulae for both senior managers to execute and aspiring managers to remember for days to come. I especially enjoyed the bits on the importance of lack and general lack of it in organizations. An honest recollection of his failures helps build a relationship with the author and his motivating, can do tone makes his achievements seem attainable. A fun read and highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2007

    Power packed with management strategies

    This is great book with management strategies on how to keep a business successful. It's about building Organization as well as people. It also tells about how candid feedback helps in developing people in the organization. There are some hard facts - must read for the ones who feel that building organization and people at a time is complex. It also talks about leadership is not having an MBA but the gut feeling to do right things at right time. No doubt, Jack is tigerwoods of management!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2007

    a reviewer

    Jack Welch, former General Electric CEO and chairman, is a legendary corporate mentor. Fortunately for readers, this book (which he wrote with Suzy Welch, his wife) provides a top-tier mentoring session. The book is well paced with a mix of you-are-here details and stories by one of corporate America's savviest minds. Welch is honest about his mistakes and his successes. The book's only shortcoming is the chapter on family-work balance, an area where Welch admits his weaknesses. Otherwise, his corporate policy discussions score an abundance of points. We highly recommend this book to senior executives and up-and-coming managers alike.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2006

    Jameson Thottam with a Winning Review

    Jameson Thottam with a Winning Review Question: Why Should I read yet another tell-all book by some CEO ? Answer: Because this one is short on stories and long on advice. Here's the Scoop $Jameson Thottam$ Jack Welch¿s 2001 bestseller Straight From The Gut was widely read, and then criticized, for being long on stories and short on any kind of actionable and practical advice. Not so for this 2005 soon-to-be bestseller, co-written by Jack and his newly acquired wife, Suzy. Advice = Jameson Thottam You want advice? You¿ll get it ¿ in a grab-bag full of goodies garnered throughout the career of probably the most influential and successful CEO of the 20th century. Unless you are some formulaic, number-crunching newbie MBA working at McKinsey you are unlikely to find anything in this book that is amazingly insightful. I doubt you will have an epiphany or a-ha moment. What the book will do is to make you think about how you can better apply and execute many of the things you are probably already doing. First Impressions with Jameson Thottam I found this book to be an easy and enjoyable read, almost as if I was actually having a conversation with Jack over a coffee or a fine whiskey. In fact, you can zip through this book so quickly it would be easy to miss the nuggets embedded within each chapter. So I¿d recommend you use a highlighter or take some notes to retain the goodies and make sure they transition from short-term to long-term memory. Conceptually I didn¿t have too many problems with any of the major points Jack made ¿ except for one. GE utilizes a process affectionately called ¿stack-ranking¿ where across the company you are rated as top 20%, middle 70% or bottom 10%. The bottom 10% get whacked or `managed out¿ fairly regularly ¿ and replaced by better candidates to improve the corporate gene pool. A great idea in theory until it is turned over to the spreadsheet brigade and people become subject to abuses of the system and human error or deliberate malice. Its one of those things you either love or hate. So yes ¿ you should absolutely manage people up or out, but not subject to artificial barriers. Contents ++ Jameson Thottam Jack focuses in on four main areas: 1. Underneath It All. Looking at mission, dignity, differentiation (aka stack ranking) and candor. 2. Your Company. Leadership, hiring winners, people management, letting go (firing), handling changes and crisis. 3. Competition. Strategy, budgeting, mergers, six sigma 4. Your Career. Finding the right job, getting a promotion, ¿that damn boss¿ and work/life balance. Then as a bonus Jack handles a few odds and ends that had been thrown at him over the years ¿ like ¿Hows your golf game.¿ , ¿Will you go to Heaven?¿ And what did I get out of it? Jameson Thottam - A determination to be more candid and use less ¿sugarcoating¿. - Some great ideas to use for hiring. - A renewed hatred of the budgeting ritual. - An appreciation for the ¿Right Job¿. So go ahead and win by getting this book, Jameson Thottam

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2006

    What's wrong with America!

    The nonsense in this book is what corporate America is doing to America. Traitors, everyone. Outsource, off-shore, pit worker against worker. It is obviously the affluent taking more and leaving less. And what is being left is, left overseas, in India. Soon, middle-class Americans will have no opportunities except to clean CEO's houses. SHAME!

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2006


    The beauty of this book is that it's really not just for those in the corporate world. You can take the lessons and apply them to a 3-person office if need be. 'Winning' is so enjoyable that I read it in just four days. I would recommend this to anyone, especially small business management who sometimes feel as if they have to settle for what they've been given to work with because their selection pool of possibilities often seems to be much more scarce than what large corporations enjoy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2005

    Must read for everyone

    First of all this book is great for people who want to make their businesses bigger and more effective. The author explores every difficulties that may possibly appear and solutions to them. This solutions are not the theories most people write in management book. These are experiences of a man of one of the biggest and influenced companies in USA. Even though some of the problems might seem to be not appropriate for your business, you can defenitly learn a lot from it. The book is well writtenm very easy to understand, and makes you think about any issues you can come up with. Also this book helps to understand how to behave yourself in this world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2005

    Focused Welch

    I was expecting a book that merely covered some historical references to some of his business activities and perhaps contained some general platitudes. However, this book makes bold statements about broad policies you should take both as a manager and a leader. It's written with the straightforward, focused-topic style that I would expect from a management tome from the HBR - no surprise given his wife's past experiences. I would highly recommend this to managers, particularly for his elements of pragmatism (around six sigma and bad bosses) and the fuzzy pieces (on people management, strategy, and mission/values).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2005

    a must read/listen

    i found this book on CD to be the perfect commute book. During drives to job sites and back and forth to work, this book allowed me to see the business world through someone else's eyes. It allowed me to brainstorm while listening and i was able to come up with several good ideas/changes as i listed to the book on CD. a must read/listen for anyone looking to move up to or through management.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2005

    winning a bad book

    winning is a story that makes you lose it almost made me have rabies from it's ideas sometimes i wish i'd rather die than ever read this book so you'd rather win not reading this book.....goodbye airheads make the rite choice

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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