By Ben Cohen
I once tried to read former GE chairman Jack Welch’s book ‘Jack: Straight From the Gut’, but couldn’t take his macho ego and Darwinian views of life in business. I got around half way through before the relentless barrage of corporate culture, greed and contempt for the middle and lower classes forced me to stop. Welch (also know as ‘Neutron Jack’) was famous for ruthlessly firing anyone who wasn’t amazingly talented, and doling out insance salaries to those who were. It became quickly apparent (about 3 pages into the book), that Welch dedicated his entire existence to increasing the bottom line of GE, and was willing to sacrifice just about anything for it. Playing tennis and gulf made up about half the book, and Welch went into great detail about the luxuries he lavished upon himself and his chosen elite. It was a rather sad tale really, one about a man so obsessed with his good ol’ boy network and WASPy hobbies that he sacrificed two marriages and his health for it (he had triple bypass surgery). And the worst thing was that he was proud of all of it.
Welch is held up as an American hero, but I found him to be a greedy little man driven by insecurity and a highly exaggerated sense of himself. Not on my top list of recommended reading.
Anyhow, it appears Welch has started an online business school where you can get an MBA and learn to be just like Jack. And that’s definitely what we need – more graduates obsessed with profit, corporate takeovers and deregulation.
(photo from World Business Forum)
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.