You Can Get There from Here: My Journey from Struggle to Success

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"Not just another business autobiography, this is a fascinating and uplifting look into one man's leadership journey through poverty, hardship, racism, and betrayal to becoming one of the most inspirational business leaders of our time."
-Jane Marvin, former SVP human resources, Ross Stores, Inc.

Bob Knowling is respected by many of America's most admired executives, from Jack Welch to Michael Bloomberg. He has led large organizations through ...

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You Can Get There from Here: My Journey from Struggle to Success

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Overview

"Not just another business autobiography, this is a fascinating and uplifting look into one man's leadership journey through poverty, hardship, racism, and betrayal to becoming one of the most inspirational business leaders of our time."
-Jane Marvin, former SVP human resources, Ross Stores, Inc.

Bob Knowling is respected by many of America's most admired executives, from Jack Welch to Michael Bloomberg. He has led large organizations through periods of dramatic transformation; management guru Noel Tichy calls him "a change agent's change agent." But even more impressive than Knowling's résumé is the road he took to the top.

He grew up as one of thirteen children in Indiana, shuttling between the homes of his divorced parents, surrounded by crime, poverty, drug abuse, and racism. Later he lived and worked on his grandparents' farm in Missouri. No one encouraged him to have big ambitions or even bothered to ask, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" But Knowling used his athletic and academic talents to earn a college scholarship and later an MBA. He became an expert at leading change-helping others see a better future, then work hard to make it real.

Knowling's story proves that almost any disadvantage can be overcome with persistence and a passion for excellence. And it teaches us how to embrace change rather than cling to the past.

It is easy to lose sight of our potential in a time of economic turmoil, joblessness, and confusion. Knowling reminds us that none of those conditions is permanent and, more important, that none of them excuses us from making a concerted effort at whatever we try to do. As he puts it, "You turn around organizations, in most cases, by turning around individuals. . . . The real lesson of transformation is that it happens not in companies and not in offices, but in lives."

Knowling believes that we do not define ourselves by our upbringing or the external conditions of our lives. It's our response to those conditions that counts. It's not where you came from; it's what you do with your potential. You'll be amazed to learn where Knowling came from and how he got from a really distant "there" to a very inspiring "here."

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
“Bob Knowling’s contribution to public education in New York City is incalculable; his lessons on leadership and team building are profound; his story is inspiring.”
—Dick Parsons, chairman, Citigroup; former chairman and CEO, Time Warner

“Bob Knowling is a unique leader. He combines vision, a tireless work ethic, but most important, a compassion for people and business that compels him to always do the right thing. Bob’s book is a must-read, a story of one global leader who never looks down on anybody unless it’s to give them a hand to lift them up, a man who knows where he’s going but is humble enough to look back and give back to his colleagues, his extended family, and his community.”
—The Reverend Jesse Jacks on, president and founder, Rainbow PUSH Coalition

“An inspirational book with the right blend of humility and honesty, as Bob Knowling’s journey takes us from humble beginnings to becoming CEO of several companies and the founding CEO of the NYC Leadership Academy for school principals. His life has been one of helping others build successful lives.”
—Noel Tichy , professor, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan; coauthor (with Warren Bennis) of Judgment

You Can Get There from Here is an inspiring story that shows what hard work, determination, and integrity can accomplish in business and in life. We can all learn a thing or two from Bob Knowling.”
—Jacques Nasser , chairman, BHP Billiton

“Bob’s personal story of resilience, reinvention, and reflection is impressive. A colorful journey certainly worth reading.”
—Greg Brown, chairman and CEO, Motorola Solutions

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591844228
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/29/2011
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Bob Knowling is the chairman of Eagles Landing Partners, a consulting firm, and the former CEO of Telwares, SimDesk Technologies, and Covad Communications. Earlier he had a long career in telecommunications, starting at Indiana Bell and including senior executive positions at Ameritech and US West. He was the first CEO of the NYC Leadership Academy, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to improving the leadership skills of public school principals.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 36 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2013

    Bob Knowling is clearly a talented leader, a driven entrepreneur

    Bob Knowling is clearly a talented leader, a driven entrepreneur, and a passionate human being.  His book is as inspiring as it is informative; he challenged ignorance, bureaucracies, and market conditions and always managed to find an elegant solution to seemingly insurmountable problems.  I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Bob for several years and can attest to the veracity of his words - he truly walks the talk.  This is a great book for someone searching for a unique autobiography that is both compelling in its storytelling and uplifting to the spirit.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2013

    Bob has always encouraged me to strive to be my best in anything

    Bob has always encouraged me to strive to be my best in anything and everything I do. So when I read his book "You Can Get There From Here," I truly understood why he believed in me so much. That's because this is who Bob is and who he will always be, a humble, hard-working, competitor that has never backed down from a challenge. This book is a must read for the younger generation who, in the face of adversity, need someone or somewhere to turn to for guidance. Read this book, and it will channel your inner-motivation and hopefully allow you to embrace the difficulties that stare us in the face at times and get you to where you want to be.

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  • Posted April 15, 2013

    "You Can Get There from Here" is a must read for those

    "You Can Get There from Here" is a must read for those of us who come from humble backgrounds and want to change not only ourselves but also improve the conditions and the culture of corporate America! This book truly providesa road map for personsal development and is the GPS for navigating the highways to change corporate attitudes and culture. Business leaders should read this book to better understand how many people within their organizations balance their life situations and the ever changing work environments.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2013

    ¿You Can Get There From Here¿ is an awe-inspiring story of a dif

    “You Can Get There From Here” is an awe-inspiring story of a difficult yet amazingly successful journey written in a very easy-to-read style. I could not put the book down and now, it sits on my “shelf of favorites”. The magnificent mix of business tactics and personal triumph left me feeling that I too could (and should) move to a higher level in every aspect of my life. As the biography deftly unfolds, Bob Knowling leads us to the conclusion that “it’s not how hard you get hit, it’s how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” In his life and throughout the book, this message rings loud and clear. Read and enjoy!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2013

    Nothing less than motivating and amazing. I've admired Bob Knowl

    Nothing less than motivating and amazing. I've admired Bob Knowling for his incredible drive, awesome heart and his leadership skill already. It's hard to imagine after reading his book I'm even more inspired and admire Bob Knowling even more to know where he has come from. Thank you for sharing your journey. United Airlines should be your next adventure, you could do amazing things there!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2013

    You can get there from here is a wonderful, inspirational accoun

    You can get there from here is a wonderful, inspirational account of a truly great man's ascent to the very top of the business world. I've had the pleasure of working alongside Bob as one of his executives and I can say whole heartedly that Bob is the genuine article. This book proves that will and hard work can defy even the most daunting odds. Today Bob remains a dear friend, a mentor, an advisor to my firm and one of the few real heroes of my life.

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  • Posted January 16, 2013

    Bob Knowling is the quintessential motivator with a story that s

    Bob Knowling is the quintessential motivator with a story that should inspire all of us to believe that anything is possible.  With engaging storytelling, raw honesty, and palpable passion, Knowling paints a picture of his often challenging life, and the resolve that led him to achieve success.  Simultaneously, he uses his stories to imbue the reader with deep understanding and insight about their own path, and provide guideposts for all of us to successfully manage life challenges, career challenges, and personal challenges.  This book is a MUST READ for anyone who seeks both the insight and the practical tools to move your life to the next level.   

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  • Posted December 12, 2012

    This is an exceptional story of Bob Knowling. It is an across-t

    This is an exceptional story of Bob Knowling. It is an across-the-board look at his journey to success. He shares with us his honest views of so many of life’s challenges that many of us hear about but never face. His direct communications with friends, family and co-workers makes his personal and professional achievements much more convincing and inspiring. The book is a wonderful read, and at the conclusion it will provide you with a motivating drive to achieve your personal and professional goals.

    Mr. Knowling, I admire and respect you for being an outstanding person, excellent mentor and most of all a great friend……..”T”

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  • Posted December 9, 2012

    This book is a heartfelt and inspirational story as Bob Knowling

    This book is a heartfelt and inspirational story as Bob Knowling shares his life journey and the obstacles he addressed along the way in becoming a successful business leader and change agent. Bob is an amazing man, a driven yet thoughtful leader, and a superb mentor and role model to not only aspiring business leaders but young adults looking for guidance in life. As a loving father and husband my respect for him is tenfold as they were always first even with all the demands his career placed on him. I wish we could bottle up and clone what makes him tick as the world would be a far better place. I can tell you from personal experience after working with Bob he changed my life as he believed in me and my potential which encouraged me to be a better person - I guess that is part of the Bob Knowling magic. I'm proud to call Bob my friend and highly recommend you read his story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2012

    Don't forget where you came from ... It's a saying my father ham

    Don't forget where you came from ...
    It's a saying my father hammered home to me often while growing up in the inner city of Chicago and one Bob clearly understands and embraces. Bob defines what it means to be a leader and his book provides countless lessons on the subject of leadership. It wasn't an easy road, it wasn't newly paved with clear directions nor was there a navigation system describing how to proceed. And yet look at all Bob has accomplished in this game called life - his story is must read!

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  • Posted November 27, 2012

    I never thought that I would meet someone that had it just as ha

    I never thought that I would meet someone that had it just as hard, if not harder in life! and this is coming from a person that grew up in Ethiopia and Israel in the 70's. Reading the book made me reflect on my own life and how blessed I should feel. Bob's determination to never fail is unbelievable, but his love for people is unwavering, especially for the young boys and girls that have had the same start in life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2012

    Hard to put this compelling story down. When I was finished I wa

    Hard to put this compelling story down. When I was finished I wanted to read more. Bob's inspirational journey should be read by
    every middle school student. Bob's life history is being repeated in every school in this country. But Bob shares with the reader his
    determination to rise above the challenges and succeed far beyond what others every dreamed. I will be anxiously waiting the sequel to this book.

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  • Posted November 11, 2012

    Bob's journey from humble beginnings to exceptional success has

    Bob's journey from humble beginnings to exceptional success has intriguing lessons for people from all walks of life ...including young people searching for an identity to aspiring executives and current leaders. It's a story of hard work, true grit, belief in self, and strong desire to make a difference in the lives of others. This book encourages all to get in the game and take the shot when you have it. And if you miss, learn from it, but never quit, never surrender.

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  • Posted July 18, 2012

    A beautiful and inspiring story. Bob's journey is one of courage

    A beautiful and inspiring story.
    Bob's journey is one of courage, resilience, dignity, gratitude and ultimately triumph over some incredible odds.
    It is a story that should be read by everyone - thank you for sharing with us Mr. Knowling.

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  • Posted July 13, 2012

    A great American success story told in an easy to read style. f

    A great American success story told in an easy to read style. for those trying to live the american dream bob provides great inspiration. Follow bob's rise from poverty in Indianapolis to height of corporate America based on hard work and never giving up.

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  • Posted July 11, 2012

    A must read for the present day leader!

    Seldom do we get the opportunity to be taken along for the tumultuos ride of the leadership journey. Most people think that greatness just "happens". Bob Knowling spins a tale of ups and downs; of good decisions and bad; of missed opportunities and opportunites taken which evenutally lead every leader to the pinacle of success. And he emparts valuable lessons on the way. I would recommend it to the novice leader learning his/her way and the experienced leader seeking the Corner Office.

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  • Posted July 6, 2012

    A powerful personal testimony grounded in faith and hard work. B

    A powerful personal testimony grounded in faith and hard work. Bob shares his touching collection of life lessons, struggles & achievements; both private and professional, always giving credit where most deserved. It's a magnificent journey, well told!

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  • Posted July 5, 2012

    Bob Knowling's book is both inspirational and informative. It's

    Bob Knowling's book is both inspirational and informative. It's so great to see such an amazing success story. The emotional story brought tears to my eyes. A must read for any aspiring business minded individual.

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  • Posted July 5, 2012

    Quite simply, this is a remarkable book. Bob Knowling's thought

    Quite simply, this is a remarkable book. Bob Knowling's thoughtful reflection on his improbable path from poverty to the Boardroom is filled with insightful life lessons and leadership learning that is described in compelling, vivid detail. Unlike so many CEO autobiographies that are weighted down by hubris and legacy building agendas, Knowling's account is marked by humility and candor that gives the reader practical leadership techniques based on both success and failure. Once I started reading this, I found it was hard to put down. I can't think of anyone - whether CEO, aspiring leader, or someone set out for self-improvement - who wouldn't benefit from this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2012

    Compelling! Insightful! Inspiring! Having worked with Bob shortl

    Compelling! Insightful! Inspiring! Having worked with Bob shortly after his college graduation, it is almost surreal to know of the journey Bob has traversed and the differences he has made in so many lives along his path. I work these days with underserved inner city youth who lack opportunities and face the same challenges in life that Bob has faced. It is so helpful to me to know that when one passionately shares the values and beliefs Bob held to so strongly, these kids too can make inspiring journeys of their lives. Thank you, Bob, for showing us how best to help others reach their potential in their quest.

    Marvin Bailey

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