BOOK REVIEW: IBM's turnaround as seen from the top

The 80 pages of appendices at the end of Lou Gerstner's plain-language, easy-to-read retelling of IBM's turnaround story are indication enough that he means business. But then again, that's obvious all the way through.

The 80 pages of appendices at the end of Lou Gerstner's plain-language, easy-to-read retelling of IBM's turnaround story are indication enough that he means business. But then again, that's obvious all the way through.

Surprisingly, though, Gerstner doesn't elevate himself as a business visionary or guru. Rather, he comes across as a tough-love culture reformist who was able to identify and promote the talent already at IBM. To Gerstner, it was all about shifting the focus to the customer, and eliminating the mind-numbingly futile processes and the other old, white-shirt ways of doing business. That's not to say Gerstner sees everything in black and white. For example, he shows a strong commitment to communications (he brought in IBM's first-ever true PR exec), but his disdain for the media is more than obvious. Most refreshing is Gerstner's focus on people rather than technology, which shines through in his research and writing of the book himself. More proof that he's a hands-on guy - which seems to be what IBM needed. ----- Title Who Says Elephant's Can't Dance? Author Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Publisher Harper Business, 372 pages

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