• Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?

  • Inside IBM's Historic Turnaround
  • By: Louis V. Gerstner Jr.
  • Narrated by: Edward Herrmann
  • Length: 8 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 09-22-04
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: HarperAudio
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.3 (603 ratings)

Regular price: $25.09

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Publisher's Summary

In 1990, IBM had its most profitable year ever. By 1993, the company was on a watch list for extinction, victimized by its own lumbering size, an insular corporate culture, and the PC era IBM had itself helped invent. Enter Lou Gerstner. The presumption was that Gerstner had joined IBM to preside over its continued dissolution into a confederation of autonomous business units, effectively eliminating the corporation that had invented many of the industry's most important technologies. Instead, Gerstner took hold of the company, making the bold decision to keep it together, defiantly announcing, "The last thing IBM needs right now is a vision."
Told in Lou Gerstner's own words, this is a story of an extraordinary turnaround, a case study in managing a crisis, and a thoughtful reflection on the computer industry and the principles of leadership. Summing up his historic business achievement, Gerstner recounts high-level meetings, explains the no-turning-back decisions that had to be made, and offers his hard-won conclusions about the essence of what makes a great company run.
©2002 Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. (P)2002 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"A well-rendered self-portrait of a CEO who made spectacular change on the strength of personal leadership." (Publishers Weekly)
"Edward Herrmann's pacing and understated connection with the material in this memoir makes the audio seem compact and relaxed. The writing is also outstanding, lacking excessive pride or self-congratulation....An essential volume for anyone interested in technology, large organizations, or IBM's miraculous rebirth under Gerstner's leadership." (AudioFile)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Arthur Held on 02-08-05

Moderate Start, Picks up FAST!

Upon starting this book, I felt like I was listening to a rather large ego telling me how great he was. But it rapidly became a great listen. I found his discussion of the evolution of the computer industry, and how IBM had to re-invent itself to fit the new paradigm, clear and true to what I've watched happening in the IT world.

Disk 5 was outstanding in his discussion of how he expected managers to be part of the solution, not spectators and supervisors of it. And his views on where the internet is going are extremely insightful.

A Must-Listen that finishes strong. A sure winner for anyone with an interest in IT, IT Companies, or our Business world and its IT components.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Steven on 12-27-05


I was unexpectedly disappointed by this book. After reading the glowing reviews from others, I expected an inspiring, insightful review of the amazing things done at IBM in one of the most remarkable turn-arounds ever -- my hopes were deflated. What I got out of this was a combination of kind words for those long time IBMers who helped, and advertising for IBM's positioning for future stock growth. Mr. York's role in achieving the turn around was grossly under-promoted, as few of the structural cost improvements would have been achieved without him, and there was little insight shared on how Mr. Gerstner came to determine the specific changes that were made. Further, the last third of the book is spent delivering Mr. Gerstner's political perspective on everything from schools to charitable contributions. Not a recommended read.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Jacob on 03-22-13

Really enjoyed it.

Nice easy listen and a fascinating story. I usually opt for books narrated by the author as they have more emotion. However Edward Herrmann really brings the story to life, and boy what a story!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By David on 02-06-11

Very Good

Excellent listen - how someone with little IT skills transformed IBM - one of, if not , the most important companies in the world. Rare business book thats worth more than one listen.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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