Tough Choices: A Memoir

Tough Choices: A Memoir

by Carly Fiorina
3.9 12


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Tough Choices: A Memoir by Carly Fiorina

The New York Times bestseller by the most talked about woman in American business.

For five and a half years, Carly Fiorina led Hewlett-Packard through major internal changes, the worst technology slump in decades, and the most controversial merger in high-tech history. Yet just as things were about to turn around, she was abruptly fired, making front-page news around the world.

Fiorina has been the subject of endless debate and speculation. But she has never spoken publicly about crucial details of her time at HP, about the mysterious circumstances of her firing, or about many other aspects of her landmark career. Until now.

In this extraordinarily candid memoir, she reveals the private person behind the public persona. She shares her triumphs and failures, her deepest fears and most painful confrontations. She shows us what it was like to be an ambitious young woman at stodgy old AT&T and then a fast- track executive during the spin-off of Lucent Technologies. Above all, she describes how she drove the transformation of legendary but deeply troubled HP, in the face of fierce opposition.

One of Fiorina's big themes is that in the end business isn't just about numbers; it's about people.This book goes beyond the caricature of the powerful woman executive to show who she really is and what the rest of us male or female, in business or not can learn from the tough choices she made along the way.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781591841814
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/25/2007
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 477,887
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 - 17 Years

About the Author

Carly Fiorina was president and CEO of Hewlett-Packard from 1999 to 2005, and chairman from 2000 to 2005. Before joining HP, she spent nearly twenty years at AT&T and Lucent Technologies, where she held a number of senior leadership positions. She has a B.A. in medieval history and philosophy from Stanford University, an M.B.A. from the University of Maryland, and an M.S. in business from MIT’s Sloan School.

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Tough Choices 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book should be read, even though I gave it only three stars because it gives the perspective of a very successful woman who rose to the top of the business world. She must be admired and respected for that accomplishment. It is the first autobiography of a successful business woman that I have read and I plan to read more to see if Ms. Fiorina's experiences are representative of other women in business. My impression is that she is defensive and has trouble trusting others, especially men. As a result, she comes across as somewhat cold and impersonal, which may be why some of the HP executives left under her tenure. The picture on the cover of the book, where she does not smile, is consistent with this image. She would be much warmer and appealing if she could soften some of what comes across as a hard edge. Also, I wondered if she used fictitious names for the people she mentions. If not, a lot of them will be pretty offended by her comments. I would never call people out like she does in such a public forum. The strongest part of the book is the three pages where she describes her mother's death. I could not help shedding a tear, which I have never done when reading a business book.
Janet-Christy More than 1 year ago
I found Tough Choices by Carly Fiorina an interesting read for several reasons. She provided great detail so that mental pictures could be formed; this is very different from the sound bites we have become used to. Sound bites frustrate me, so I liked the details. The book and her career built logically on each chapter and story; there is no sudden appearance of a situation or fact that the reader can't link to the ones in the immediately previous chapter. As a female sales employee of AT&T (specifically Southern Bell) during the same time as Carly, I found the Chapters about AT&T and Lucent like a trip through a memory book. She did an excellent job of creating a word picture of that time and culture. Because of this I assume she did the same kind of good job of creating a picture of HP during her time. Carly does admit that she wrote the book partially to present her case, but I think from the details I know to be true that she is a stickler for the truth. Granted the book is her view and may not include every fact or opinion of someone else.

On the personal side I saw a strong woman able to lead and willing to make decisions when no one else would. But I also saw a woman that, like most of us women, wanted people to like her. I am not sure if she meant for this to come through, but I applaud her for being brave enough to tell her stories with so much honesty that you can still see her emotions. I agree that it would have fleshed out the story to have learned a little more about her personal life, but I don't think a lot of "home stuff" would have added to the purpose of the book. But that is my opinion and I am the kind of person who likes the television "who done it" shows until they bring in too much personal drama.

I am not reviewing Carly's life, just her book. And I think the book is a worthwhile read if you want more than sound bites or crucifixions. I wish I could get more of my women business owner clients to understand that they have to take the necessary steps and actions and give themselves permission to succeed, which does include making money. My book "Capitalizing On Being Woman Owned" gives them the actions, maybe I can get them to read Carly's book and it will give them the courage.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dear HP Survivor, I believe the word you were looking for is catty and not caddy--unless you are implying that she was carrying golf clubs. Besmirch was a good word though. And if Michael Capellas did anything less than put Carly at ease in his company, then he was not the operations expert that you suggest. This book is as it should be: Carly's viewpoint.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Carly Fiorina should be proud of herself! Few CEOs, whether male or female, would have the courage to write not only about their successes, but the mistakes that were made in achieving them. This is a truly human story and sends a strong message that if one wants to make meaningful contributions in life, then one has to work long and hard as Ms. Fiorina obviously did to become one of the foremost figures in the business world. I applaud Ms. Fiorina's courage. Her honest portrayal of her own trials and tribulations in the business world will help others understand what it truly takes to become an outstanding leader.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just love this book. Her perspective is just amazing and inspirational.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"tough choices" is one of the most remarkable bestsellers writtion by a very smart bussiness woman who was won of the top ceos of hewhewlett packard and brought many sales to this company from her smart abililities this book shows everyone how to use your every day talents and how you can use them to the best of your skills. carly fiorina is now running for the us senate and it gave me a greater understanding about her and her leadership abilities great gift idea also avalilible in cd audio.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
At last, Carly Fiorina speaks for herself. The controversial Hewlett-Packard ex-CEO starts at the beginning, which means that anyone interested in her perspective on the HP/Compaq merger and her subsequent firing should skip straight to chapter 20. Nevertheless, her full story is important. Willingly or not, Fiorina remains a role model for women in business. The devil is in the details ¿ in this case, her breathlessly earnest descriptions of the inner workings of various AT&T business units (not as interesting as all that precedes and follows), and numerous slightly preachy digressions on the challenges and virtues of leadership (her leadership, of course). Despite these flaws, or perhaps because of them, Fiorina reveals herself as a human being who cries, takes risks that don't always work out and agonizes over difficult decisions. She introduces a kinder, gentler woman to readers who may know only her ruthless reputation as reported by outsiders. We think this memoir makes fascinating reading for managers at all levels.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is more than a business book. I want every woman in their 20's to read it becasue it will show them they have choices and the power to take their lives any way they want. It makes business interesting...better than Barbarians at the gate
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having worked closely with Carly Fiorina and Michael Capellas before, during and after the infamous merger of HP and Compaq, I know first-hand how their relationship played out during this very difficult time. I can sum up Carly's attitude toward MC in one word: Intimidated! Everyone acknowledged then and it¿s still true today, Michael Capellas is an exceptional Operations guy. Case in point: He pulled MCI out of the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history. Anyone who worked closely with Carly knows she didn't like going head-to-head with anyone who was obviously a smarter business person, especially if that person was inside the company. Sure, she could hold her own in conversations with powerful executives of partner companies and big clients, but pitted against an intelligent HP executive who knew the inner-workings of the company, she would become caddy and defensive. Being a celebrity is a perfect role for Carly. However, grasping the complex operations of a multi-billion-dollar company isn't her cup of tea. Carly, you were fired because you weren't getting the job done and you were chasing away or avoiding executives who could have made you successful. Writing 'Tough Choices' might have been a good idea if you had only applied a little humility and acknowledged that many of your so-called `tough choices¿ would also prove to be wrong. It's okay to be human. For the most part, people are very forgiving. Perhaps you should consider writing a sequel to your 'Memoir' and call it, 'Worst Choices'. Chapter one could address the choice you made to write a memoir that portrays yourself as a flawless and powerful leader. For Chapter Two, you might consider apologizing for the stupid choice you made to besmirch the good names of some very successful business leaders. Carly, I give your book a very, very poor rating.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An exceptional book detailing the life and tough choices of an exceptional executive.