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Surprisingly, it’s not about education or pedigree or even native smarts. Most of us are like jack welch, who started life as a lowercase guy, the son of a railroad conductor, but went on to become the most celebrated and successful executive of recent years. Sure, Jack Welch—and lots of other people like him—are smart and talented, but there are countless people even smarter and more talented who stall out on the way up. Something else is going on. What is it, and what can the rest of us learn from such people to improve our own chances of accomplishment?
Stephen Baum uncovers not only the business secrets of prominent CEOs but their inner stories as well. He ferrets out the real men and women behind the public personas, learning about life-shaping experiences they all have in common that turn out to be the foun-dation for true success in career and in life. Baum has gotten them to recall key moments that they hadn’t thought about for years, as well as the fears, emotions, and learning they’ve experienced during moments of challenge and doubt.
These seminal events are “archetypal shaping experiences”—critical and often unexpected learning moments when future leaders take advantage of challenges thrown in their path:
• When you take calculated personal risks without the safety net of specific instructions on how to proceed.
• When you are clueless about how to solve a knotty problem but dive in and prepare yourself to work through it.
• When you learn to swim in water over your head, make the tough choice, get good on your feet, or are forced to take a hard look in the mirror. These character-building moments engender an inner core of toughness and confidence that is the real key to leadership in any business or endeavor—they are what made jack welch . . . JACK WELCH.