In his debut, New York Times Sunday business columnist Bryant explores the qualities that separate successful CEOs from the rest of the pack.
In a series of interviews, the leaders of industry speak off-the-cuff about what it takes to make it to the top, and the lessons they learned after arriving. The author includes the advice and observations of 75 CEOs and corporate executives, including Timberland's Jeffrey Swartz, Harvard University's Drew Gilpin Faust and Yahoo's Carol Bartz. Leaving behind spreadsheets and bottom-line issues, Bryant’s interviewees focus on the personal attributes that brought them to their current positions. As each speaks about the qualities they look for in others, a window opens onto how they see themselves and their roles. There are plenty of career-planning tips up front, but most interesting are the later sections of the book, which detail the day-to-day experiences, surprises and coping strategies that make up the business lives of a unique and extraordinary group. Almost universally unanticipated by these CEOs is how their every move effects their employees, like how the way they dress can result in imitation or how a momentary facial expression may lead to a flurry of assumptions. The corner offices Bryant visits are filled with people who have learned the importance of the smallest details of communication.
An interesting view of life in the most coveted corporate suites, seen through the eyes of those who occupy them.