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WINNINGThe AnswersBy Jack& Suzy WelchCollins -- 262pp -- $12.95
He has been CEO of a huge corporation, penned two best-selling books, and taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, among other things. And lately, Jack Welch has taken on a new position--as the Dear Abby of the world of work.
Welch first assumed this role in his 2005 book, Winning, wherein he responded to questions raised during speaking engagements. In his latest authorial outing, Winning: The Answers, co-written with wife and former Harvard Business Review editor Suzy Welch, the busiest ex-CEO on the planet fields 74 new queries, posed in e-mail or in person by often-perplexed managers, students, employees, and entrepreneurs. (Some of the material has appeared before in the authors' BusinessWeek columns.) The Q&A covers six broad topics: global competition, leadership, management, careers, family enterprise, and the virtues of business. There's a generally upbeat, commonsense tone to the responses, though the Welches sometimes exhibit a smidgen of irritation. All in all, the duo seems to be having a good deal of fun.
The authors' career tips appear to have struck a chord with the public. "Without doubt," they note, "the majority of the questions we receive...are about career management." As a result, that subject gets more space than almost any other in the book (56 pages), running second only to Jack's true passion, management (73 pages). And the volume considers two categories that went undiscussed in Winning: entrepreneurship/family business and current events--the latter prompted by recent corporate scandals. In a controversial passage, the authors aver that Wal-Mart is "a great company that helps consumers and employees win and grow." A matter of opinion? Yes, of course.