Tough Calls from the Corner Office
Top Business Leaders Reveal Their Career-Defining Moments
Publication Date: February 2011
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Thirty-nine of America's most successful business leaders share the most important decisions of their careersand the life and career lessons they hold for us all.
When former CEO Harlan Steinbaum decided to buy back his retail drug chain with his partners, his life changed dramatically. The personal impact that this one business decisionthis "tough call"had on Steinbaum made him wonder if others had experienced similar kinds of defining moments in their own careers. To find out, he reached out to some of the most successful people in the countryleaders from companies such as Verizon, Chrysler, ESPN, Ogilvy & Mather, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, WellPoint, and Panera Bread Companyto pinpoint the career-defining decisions that were integral to their success. The result is Tough Calls from the Corner Office, a treasure trove of rich business wisdom, stories of tough decisions and hard-won victories, and lessons from a lifetime of achievement in the world of business.
Tough Calls from the Corner Office offers inspiring stories, lessons, principles, strategies, ideas, and solutions drawn from every stage in a successful career, from early key choices to the final leave-taking from the world of work. Given unprecedented access to such visionaries as Union Square Hospitality Group's Danny Meyer, ESPN's Bill Rasmussen, Build-A-Bear's Maxine Clark, and Let's Make a Deal's Monty Hall, Steinbaum shares their experiences, told in their own words, so that others may learn from them. In a time when many people are at professional crossroads, Tough Calls from the Corner Office offers inspiration and the confidence to believe that tough decisions can be the first step to extraordinary success.
Harlan Steinbaum has had a long and successful career in business as an innovator and leading executive in the retail drug industry. He was chairman and CEO of Medicare-Glaser, one of the largest retail pharmacy chains in the United States. He was also chairman of Express Scripts, Inc., a leading pharmacy benefit management company that has grown into a multibillion-dollar public corporation ranked number 135 on the Fortune 500.
“Tough Calls from the Corner Office offers invaluable insight into the mind of the CEO. Harlan Steinbaum’s book reveals how companies are only as good as the instincts, and the guiding principles of the people who run them.”
-Bill Steere, President, Chairman, and CEO of Pfizer
“Harlan Steinbaum has developed a fascinating account of how senior executives faced their single most important decision. His notion of Tough Calls from the Corner Office provides insights rarely derived on management decision-making under difficult conditions.”
-Thomas S. Robertson, Dean, Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania
“This book is wonderful. I enjoyed every story -- every part of it. The stories in this book should inspire and give confidence to the many people looking to make their mark in business, or for that matter life.”
-General Richard B. Myers, Chairman Joint Chiefs
“Refreshingly intimate and candid, these personal reflections from some of America’s top business leaders offer insight into their choices and decisions. CEOs and those aspiring to lead will find inspiration here.”
-Jessica Bibliowicz, CEO, National Financial Partners Corp
“Tough Calls from the Corner Office is a treasure of a book. Stories from a wide array of remarkable and wise business talent reward the reader with invaluable insight into what it means to follow one’s dreams, lead people and maintain a moral compass.”
-Jim Gold, President/CEO, Bergdorf Goodman
“Tough Calls from the Corner Office provides a unique opportunity to witness—and learn from —decision-making in action at the highest levels of business in times of crisis.”
-Mahendra Gupta, Dean, Olin Business School at Washington University
“This collection of defining moments offers key insights into the birth of some great strategies. Very interesting. What struck me is the diversity and breadth of some of those decisions and how each one became a driving force. This is a great read.”
-Cindy Brinkley, Senior Vice Prewident, Talent Development and Chief Diversity Officer, AT&T
“Tough Calls from the Corner Office” is a great read for anyone who is interested in the interplay between character, luck, and talent in the lives of successful people. ”
-Bill DeWitt III, President, St. Louis Cardinals
“Mr. Steinbaum captures the fundamental critical moments of an executive’s life and packages them in a comprehensive and very accessible way. His commentary frames these moments within the larger context of an executive’s life - and the executives’ stories he shares are both rich in their diversity and their relevance.”
-Evelyn Williams, Director, Center for Leadership Development & Research, Leadership Laboratories, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University
“This compilation of business success stories will engage anyone looking for inspiration. The stories are varied but the storytellers all share a common characteristic - the instinct to recognize a significant career opportunity”
-Francis Fraenkel, Managing Director, Neuberger Berman LLC
“Tough Calls from the Corner Office is a unique casebook of management decision making. Each case is incisive, authoritative, original . . . and short. Harlan Steinbaum’s new book can usefully be read by both students and managers.
-Murray L. Weidenbaum, Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury (1969-1971), former Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisors (1981-1982), founder of the Murray Weidenbaum Center On the Economy, Government, and Public Policy, Washington Un