The Low-Down On the Top Job

Kevin Kelly

Publisher: Prentice Hall, 2008, 150 pages

ISBN: 0-273-71353-1

Keywords: Leadership

Last modified: July 8, 2021, 11:17 p.m.

CEO reveals the secrets of the corner office.

You've probably wondered what it's like to be one of the headline-leading CEOs. But most of us don't have any real idea what the job actually involves. What makes a great CEO? What do CEOs actually do all the time? What do real CEOs think? How do you land the top job?

Who better than Kevin Kelly, CEO of one of the world's best-known executive search firms, Heidrick & Struggles, to answer these questions and to give you the insider's view on what it's really like at the top? CEO opens the door of the corner office and lets you eavesdrop on conversations with some of the world's top CEOs. It reveals the common issues that preoccupy every CEO: the people issues; the communication issues; the complexities of satisfying all your stakeholders; adapting to change; finding time for a life outside work; working effectively. And what makes it such a fascinating read is that it explores these themes through the author's own personal reflections and through his conversations with CEOs from some of the world's leading companies. From the revealing but exhausting 'A Day in the Life of a CEO' to discussions of working with the board , this is a book that will keep you enthralled from start to finish.

If you've ever wondered what it takes to succeed in the top job, now's your chance.

  1. Getting there
    • Moments in time
    • Getting it wrong
    • Why CEOs matter
    • Smelling the roses
    • The route map
    • My route
    • Career logistics
    • Career evolution
    • Get on with the job
    • In the ascendancy
    • The glass ceiling remains
    • Learning… always
    • Key points
    • Resources
  2. My first 100 days
    • Tone setting
    • What are you walking into?
    • My first 100
    • The art of preparation
    • The same but different
    • Understand the process
    • Know the timelines
    • Adding up to 100
    • Mastering the 3 Rs
    • Beware of isolation
    • Get lucky
    • Key points
    • Resources
  3. The job: leadership, strategy and execution
    • Who's in charge?
    • Inventing the CEO
    • The objectives
    • Beyond charisma
    • The one-word job description
    • The meaning of leadership
    • The magical ingredients
    • Quiet leadfership
    • Balancing IQ and EQ
    • Vision and strategy
    • Execution
    • Key points
    • Resources
  4. The job: communication and people
    • Constantly communicating
    • Wire-less
    • Face time
    • The e in communication
    • What to say
    • The communication coda
    • Key points
    • Resources
  5. The rise and rise of the global CEO
    • Global savvy
    • The new breed
    • Global CEO characteristics
    • Culture clubs
    • Staying power
    • The talent market
    • Key points
    • Resources
  6. My board and I
    • Boardroom shifts
    • Unhappy boards
    • Relax, it's only complexity
    • Only connect
    • Manage expectations and define boundaries
    • Target and manage the chair
    • Think team not board
    • The future agenda
    • Testing ground
    • Key points
    • Resources
  7. My myself I
    • There's always more to give
    • Hard at work
    • Balancing the week
    • Present and incorrect
    • On the road
    • Roads well travelled
    • Why travel?
    • Loyal supporters
    • Role models
    • Personal development
    • Feeling good, doing good, having fun
    • Different strokes for different folks
    • Key points
    • Resources
  8. Trials, tribulations and triumphs
    • Only validate
    • Changed perceptions
    • Lemonade?
    • Clock watching
    • Listening intently
    • Who is everyone?
    • It really is about people
    • Key points
  9. Tomorrow's CEOs
    • Chief entrepreneurial officers
    • The loyalty question
    • Tomorrow's CEOs
    • Greater diversity
    • Talent spotting
    • Key points
    • Resources
  10. The life beyond
    • Tough going
    • Sell-by dates
    • Your legacy
    • What got you here might not get you there
    • Succession planning
    • Making a mark
    • Key points
    • Resources



Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Mediocre **** (4 out of 10)

Last modified: March 5, 2008, 11 a.m.

Yet another one…

Yet another book that reiterates the old advice that the most important parts of being a CEO is People & Communications! This is a book that promises you insights, but unfortunately, it fails to deliver them, even though the author claims to have read a vast number of his competitors. Yet he manages to deliver a Yet-Another-Book of becoming CEO. The most disappointing aspect is that the author in theory should have an impressive research-base (being a long-timer in head-hunting), but he fails to deliver anything, except the usual stuff.

In the books defense, he manages to put some spark into chapter 10, but that can't compensate for the rest of the book.


There are currently no comments

New Comment


required (not published)