1000 CEO’s

Posted December 1, 2009 in Career Management, Leadership, What We're Reading

By: Andrew Davidson with Marshall Goldsmith

Reviewed By: Glain Roberts-McCabe

The Premise: 1000 CEO’s is, according to the book, “proven strategies for success from the world’s smartest executives.” The book is written with the MTV generation in mind and features ‘snappy’ one pagers that give career highlights and provide the top 3 lessons that can be gleaned from various leaders’ reigns. Divided into major sections like The Innovators, The Organizers, The Strategists, The Motivators, etc. the leaders are then grouped in subsets under each. The book is also peppered with some of tips and techniques from uber coach Marshall Goldsmith. What’s refreshing about this book is that the CEO’s selected are fairly wide ranging and not as US-centric as most compilations. Co-collaborator Andrew Davidson is the chief business interviewer for the UK’s The Sunday Times and likely contributes to the breadth of CEO’s chosen. Several Canadian’s made the list, including Richard Waugh of the Bank of Nova Scotia, Mike Lazaridis of Research in Motion and Laurent Beaudoin of Bombardier to name a few.

The Bottom-line: This isn’t the type of book you would typically read from cover to cover. It’s more like a resource library for when you need a hit of inspiration. In addition to the CEO profiles, there’s some great material on many of the insert pages… as long as you can get past the horrendously busy layouts and screaming neon pink, green and orange sheets. And, ultimately, that’s the major problem with this book. The fancy formatting detracts from the readability. Digging through some of the content reminded me of watching a powerpoint presentation with whizzing graphics and sound effects: overstimulation which ultimately clutters the message (which serves as a good reminder on the power of simplicity in communications). Graphics complaints aside, there are definitely lots of great quotes, interesting tidbits and quick top tips to glean from this volume. The overall format of looking at a 1000 CEO’s doesn’t allow for a deep dive behind many of the tips and take-aways, but if you’re looking for a quick kick in the motivational pants, this might fill the bill.

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