Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Welch: An American Icon, by Janet Lowe

Janet Lowe has written another book on Jack Welch and General Electric called Jack Welch Speaks: Wisdom from the World’s Greatest Business Leader, which I reviewed recently on this online journal.

There is much to admire in Janet Lowe’s books on Welch and GE. She really gives you the good and bad in equal measure. This isn’t some ‘gee whiz’, how can I be more like Jack Welch manual. Instead she really carves up and dishes out some of the severest criticisms of Welch and the way he has run GE, agreeing that there are ‘grains’ of truth in them.

By the same token, she clearly demonstrates Welch’s achievements. Reading through her book you find yourself trying to figure out where the author really stands on Jack Welch. Is she for or against? For this reader it was impossible to tell, which is surely a sign of a smart, balanced writer.

Hence, this book, like Lowe’s last on Welch and General Electric has many purposes and will be of use to a wide variety of readers. For fans, for academics, for business people, for critics, for investors, or for the merely curious lay reader, all will find something of use in this handy guide to Jack Welch and GE.

The book also comes with some very handy appendixes. There’s a time line of GE, the GE values, GE’s performance figures, a list of its dizzying array of businesses, and the CERES statement of principles (Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economics) that GE refused to sign on for.

To get a good overall picture of General Electric, the good, the bad and the ugly, then I highly recommend this absorbing book. It has plenty of food for thought.

No comments: