Kirkus Reviews QR Code


The Only Way to Make Big Things Happen

by David Novak

Pub Date: Jan. 3rd, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-59184-454-9
Publisher: Portfolio

Novak (The Education of an Accidental CEO, 2007, etc.) lays out a team-oriented approach to achieving breakthrough results in business.

The CEO of YUM! Brands, the world’s largest restaurant company (KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell), the author warns that you will “never accomplish anything big if you try to do it alone.” Most readers are familiar with YUM! restaurants and can relate to Novak’s challenges, struggles and anecdotes, but the author’s inclusion of overly long sidebar quotes disrupts the narrative flow. Novak divides the book into three sections: getting your mind-set right, having a plan and following through to get results. The first task requires setting the right attitude for yourself and your employees, and Novak counsels the importance of being yourself, always striving to learn and believing in people and your own capacity to get big things done. The second part involves understanding the reality of a specific business and developing compelling goals. Finally, put the right resources in place, create a culture where everyone wins together and celebrate success. In addition to his message, Novak challenges readers with creative self-tests, helpful tools and self-reflection exercises. He also maintains a relentlessly upbeat attitude: “Today I am probably best known within my organization for casting a shadow of recognition and positive energy.” Like many big projects, however, the beginning portion is more dynamic than the end.

While Novak’s world consists of global corporations, his leadership lessons of recognizing the good work of others, being yourself and setting big goals should translate to other settings.