The Education of an Accidental CEO

  • by David Novak, John Boswell
  • Narrated by Howard Ross
  • 7 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

David Novak, one of today's most engaging, unconventional, and successful business leaders, lived in 32 trailer parks in 23 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 hope of maybe one day becoming a creative director. Instead, he became head of the world's largest restaurant company at the ripe old age of 47. 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 dishwashers 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 global 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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

This CEO is the Real Deal

David Novak has done a wonderful job of distilling his lessons learned and sharing them with us. The book is an easy listening text and story. I like the short chapters with meaningful titles that help me to know what is coming.

Now, to break through the clutter in my situation...
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- Karen

Good Leadership message, but a little boring

I don't know anything about Novak outside this book. This is a business autobiography with some pretty good insight tucked into the semi-interesting story of Novak's career. Don't confuse it with anything by Jack Welch. In fact, if you are looking for pure business guidance, start with Winning. However, Novak is clearly all about his company and his people. It is refreshing to hear a CEO so dedicated to building a strong organization from the bottom up. Novak has a lot to tell about including the lowest level employees in the vision and the solution. Most valuable to me is how Novak took a personal interest in the working conditions, opinions, and ideas of the people who make the food. He used corney, but effective, methods to incentivize and recognize these people. Novak and his team were able to build enthusiasm from the bottom up, which was a big part of the company's success during his tenure.
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- Lowell Wilson

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-05-2007
  • Publisher: Random House Audio