The Education of an Accidental CEO
David Novak–one of today’s most engaging, unconventional, and successful business leaders–lived in thirty-two trailer parks in twenty-three states by the time he reached the seventh grade. He sold encyclopedias door to door, worked as a hotel night clerk, and took a job as a $7,200-a-year advertising copywriter with the hopes of one day becoming a creative director. Instead, he became head of the world’s largest restaurant company at the ripe old age of forty-seven.
While David never went to business school, he did learn from the greatest of teachers–experience. His ideas built an entire culture around reward and recognition–getting everyone from division presidents to dish washers to buy into recognizing the achievements of others–and are studied in great detail by other companies. Now he wants to share with you what he discovered about getting ahead and getting noticed; motivating people and turning businesses around; building winning teams and running a company of nearly one million people; and always staying true to yourself.
Whether you are the CEO of a global conglomerate or a budding entrepreneur, David Novak’s street-smart wisdom will help you get where you want to go.
From the Compact Disc edition.
"The Education of an Accidental CEO is a wonderful journey tracking the aspects of leadership. David Novak is a classic type-A personality who possesses the insatiable desire to improve and make those around him rise to new levels. Everyone is in search of the secret. You'll find it in this book. A motivational must"
"David Novak is a great business leader and a wonderful guy. Our companies have very little in common, yet I have learned a lot from Dave. He is great with people, an innovator and one of the best global thinkers I have met. This book is filled with the 'little things' that authentic leaders do every day to build a great business. The best leaders are the best learners. Dave's 'journey' brings the skill of learning to life."
--Jeffrey R. Immelt, chairman and CEO of General Electric
"An entertaining, humorous, honest and inspiring message from an extraordinary person who engenders trust and instills self-confidence. Throughout this book David Novak brightens your mood and improves your outlook."
-Larry Bossidy, retired chairman and CEO of Honeywell International and co-author of Execution and Confronting Reality
"If CEOs were selected like NFL quarterbacks, David Novak would be a first-round draft pick. I would certainly like to have him running a Berkshire company. After you read this book, you will know why."
“Just plain fun to read....More important, though, is the message—no matter whether you are a CEO or just starting out—that each and every day provides the opportunity to learn and get better at what you do, because as David says ‘you never know what you’re capable of.’ His book is smart with heart and you’ll see how far openness and honesty can get you. In short, very far.”
—Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase
“David Novak is completely authentic and means every word....What a great lesson for anyone striving for real success.”
—Patrick Lencioni, author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, and president of the Table Group
“David has always had the natural leadership gift of ‘taking people with him,’ but he has never stopped learning, always valued others no matter what their background, and always stayed true to who he is. His great personal story provides lessons to anyone who has the privilege of leading.”
—Brenda Barnes, chairman and CEO of the Sara Lee Corporation
From the Hardcover edition.