The Power of Many
Values for Success in Business and in Life
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About the author
MEG WHITMAN was the CEO of eBay from 1998 to 2008, growing the company into an unparalleled engine of global e-commerce. Her thirty-year career includes helping many companies, including Stride Rite, Bain & Company, Procter & Gamble, Disney, and Hasbro. In 2009, she announced her candidacy for governor of California. She lives in Atherton, California, with her husband, Griff Harsh, and has two grown sons, Griff and Will.
JOAN O’C. HAMILTON is a former Silicon Valley bureau chief for BusinessWeek. She now works with executives and political leaders as a book collaborator and lives in Menlo Park, California.
From the Hardcover edition.
Is it possible to run a multibillion-dollar corporation on the power of trust? Must you set aside your authentic self as you climb the corporate ladder? Is there another role for technology beyond saving costs and creating efficiencies? In The Power of Many, Meg Whitman, former president and CEO of eBay, speaks to these questions and more, identifying ten core values that steered her—and can steer any leader—to success without ethical compromise.
During her decade at the helm of eBay, Meg Whitman transformed it from a tiny start-up into a nearly $8 billion global powerhouse, revolutionizing the way goods are bought and sold online. Fortune magazine twice named her the Most Powerful Woman in Business.
Now, with the vitality, candor, and often self-effacing humor that is her trademark, Meg lays out the ten core values that she credits not only with her strategic success but with many of the joys and satisfactions of her private life. Values such as trust, authenticity, courage, and validation are not naive, Meg shows us, and they are definitely not a luxury. Rather, they are essential tools for success that go hand in hand with traditional business practices—like holding oneself accountable or growing a company efficiently. She believes they are the foundation of strong management in the twenty-first century. Today, technology and the transparency it brings demand that organizations demonstrate a character that aligns with the values of their communities.
Meg illustrates the origins of her values and the underpinnings of her approach with compelling stories from her extraordinary career and her down-to-earth upbringing—from the harrowing twenty-two-hour system outage that nearly sunk eBay to the indomitable spirit of her eighty-nine-year-old mother, who grew up in Boston society but worked as an airplane mechanic during World War II. It was her mother, Meg says, who gave her “a bias toward action.” Here, too, are stories of finding her equilibrium during the time when she had young children, and in her marriage to a neurosurgeon with his own highly demanding career. Meanwhile, her experiences at some of America’s best-known companies, including Disney, FTD, and Procter & Gamble, offer valuable case studies of what can go wrong and right, and how even mistakes can be transformed into opportunities.
Meg Whitman shows us that achievement can and should be teamed with optimism, trust, and honesty. The Power of Many offers the insights and motivation we need to propel ourselves to the next level—to scale, as Meg would say—in business and in life.
From the Hardcover edition.
The Crown Publishing Group
; January 2010
ISBN 9780307591234Read online
, or download in secure EPUB
Title: The Power of Many
Author: Meg Whitman; Joan O'C Hamilton
In the press
“Meg Whitman doesn’t just talk about important values such as integrity, accountability, authenticity and courage, she lives them. In many years of working with Meg, I have seen her lead game-changing innovation, make tough decisions and passionately commit herself to important causes – all based on strong, transparent values. In this engaging and honest book, Meg shares these values and how she applied them to pioneering a new model for managing a twenty-first-century company. This book only deepens my admiration for Meg’s leadership.” —A.G. Lafley, chairman, Procter & Gamble
“As an eBay board member, I saw firsthand Meg Whitman’s determination to live and manage by the answer to the question ‘What is the right thing to do?’ as she helped eBay develop its character as a company. This book explores the values she brought to eBay and the values she nurtured at eBay – values that ultimately helped her create a remarkable success story and a powerful consumer brand.” —Howard Schultz, chairman and CEO, Starbucks
“In The Power of Many, Meg’s great insight is that running a successful organization in the Internet Age requires constant reinvention. Advances in technology drive a lot of that, but Meg understands that the emotional connections of a community networked together can give even a simple idea global reach. This is a great discussion of the importance of listening and harnessing that energy in order to create positive change.” —Terry Semel, chairman, Windsor Media; former chairman and CEO, Yahoo! and Warner Bros.
“What Meg Whitman created and developed at eBay is truly extraordinary. This book chronicles how her vision, dedication, hard work and focus on results created the opportunity for millions of Americans to form their own businesses and secure their families’ futures. As a direct result of Meg’s leadership, eBay has contributed to tremendous job growth both here in Silicon Valley and beyond; I believe she has the ability to further develop and shape our future economy.” —John Chambers, chairman and CEO, Cisco
"Meg Whitman makes a compelling connection between achieving success and holding firm to high standards of integrity and personal values. It's clear and effective advice for motivating people to do their very best." —W. James McNerney, Jr. chairman and CEO, Boeing
"Meg Whitman is an excellent business leader and an even better person. Her ten core values in The Power of Many will resonate with everyone who has had to lead at any level. The words she picks are easy to follow: authenticity, frugality, accountability. More important, I know that Meg has lived each value. This is an important book to read as business is trying to win again in a reset world." —Jeffrey Immelt, chairman and CEO, General Electric
"This book is inspiring. Meg Whitman steered a tiny start-up through the dot-com frenzy and emerged running a multibillion-dollar global pillar of e-commerce. The Power of Many demonstrates that integrity and values in business are not just “nice to haves,” they are essential for leaders to succeed in running modern, high-impact organizations." —Carol Bartz, CEO, Yahoo
"Reading this book is like being in a room with Meg. You feel privileged to hear her wisdom and are reminded of her wit. Her stories that touch on both key career decisions and those that impacted her personal life are riveting and instructive. Her bias for action comes out loud and clear along with her passion for people whether they be colleagues or customers. The Power of Many is inspirational both for its message and its mission. It's a must read." —Cathie Black, president, Hearst Magazines
“The Power of Many is an extremely important and highly relevant read in today's environment. It will be a crucial resource for women looking for both inspiration and practical advice on achieving success and fulfillment within all areas of their lives. A dazzling accomplishment."
—Moira Forbes, publisher, ForbesWoman
“Like any eBay user, Meg Whitman knows that having a reputation for integrity matters. In The Power of Many, she explains how timeless values such as honesty, treating others with respect, and sharing credit for good ideas can provide surprising advantages in the business arena.” —Linda Kaplan Thaler, co-author of The Power of Nice;
CEO, The Kaplan Thaler Group
"Meg Whitman's charming and candid book translates the spirit behind eBay's growth into lessons every business leader needs: how to earn profits by investing in bonds of trust with users and a culture that inspires high performance." —Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School, author of SuperCorp:
How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, profits, Growth, and Social Good
“Meg attacks problems. Meg knows how to make tough decisions, how to cut through complexity and uncertainty…and find solutions to challenges. Meg knows how to lead and this book reflects that: it is both authentic and inspiring.” —Mary Meeker, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley
“Meg Whitman has had a remarkable business career, culminating as CEO of eBay. She weaves a compelling story about family, education, successes, failures (not so many), mentors, the power of teams, and the systematic acquisition and application of wisdom. She develops a coherent model for high integrity, high performance leadership that should be emulated by everyone.” —William A. Sahlman, Professor of Business Administration,
Harvard Business School
“Meg Whitman makes a compelling case for the power of many, but she makes an even stronger case for focus, vision, and integrity. She repeatedly demonstrates all three in this refreshingly candid guide for leaders, taking us through her good and bad decisions to demonstrate that expecting the best from people is not just a philosophy; it is a winning business strategy.” —Nell Minow, chair and cofounder, The Corporate Library;
coauthor of Corporate Governance
From the Hardcover edition.