Last week just before my Sri Lanka short visit, I finished this audio book. It was “Tough Choices” by Carly Fiorina who spent nearly twenty years at AT & T and Lucent Technologies before working as CEO for HP from 2000 to 2005. The book is a must read (or listen) for people starting their career in a large organization and especially Women Executive’s will find themselves relating well to Carly’s experiences. The initial chapters are definitely inspirational for fighting against the odds in modern businesses.
If you have read Who says Elephants can’t Dance Audio book by Louis Gerstner Jr., the former IBM CEO on how he transformed IBM, you will expect similar material here on what happened in HP. In which case, you will be disappointed. Though there are elaborate coverages on her interview process for the CEO post and her firing from HP board, there is little coverage on her job as CEO. I was surprised to hear her bold statements about few executives who she comes across in her career, some of them quoted by her with actual names I am sure are still around in the industry. She raises strong criticisms about Michael Capellas (Ex-CEO of Compaq) and David Woodley Packard (son of HP co-founder David Packard) in the book.
The title Tough Choices indicates the tough one’s Carly had to make in her personal/career life as an individual. I liked her repeatedly used quote in the book about “my soul is still with me“.
On being selected as Fortune magazine Top Woman CEO she had the following to say: “After striving my entire career to be judged by my results and my decisions, the coverage of my gender, my appearance and perceptions of my personality would outweigh anything else”