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Andy Grove survived both the Nazis and the Communists to become the quintessential American capitalist. Even more important, he is the best role model we have for doing business in the twenty-first century.
Any short list of the world’s most admired business people would include Andy Grove, the chairman and CEO of Intel in its years of explosive growth. During his career, Intel became the model for Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley became the model for the world. And Grove became Time‘s Man of the Year-an icon of the promise of the American life.
The simple facts of Grove’s career are the stuff of legend. Born in Hungary of Jewish origin in 1936, he survived the Holocaust only to face the Soviet invasion. He escaped to New York, penniless, at age twenty, and embraced America, transforming himself from Andr‡s Istv‡n Gr—f into Andrew Stephen Grove. After putting himself through college and graduate school, he arrived in Silicon Valley at the perfect time for an ambitious young engineer. He joined Intel at its founding in 1968, rose to CEO in 1987, then led the company into the stratosphere, with compound annual profit growth at 34 percent for the next eleven years.
Despite decades of media scrutiny and six of Grove’s own books, there remains a powerful element of mystery about him. This definitive biography, by a Harvard Business School professor with unprecedented access, finally cracks the code of who Andy Grove really is, how his mind works, how he attacks impossible problems, and how he leads others to exceed their own expectations of themselves.
After extensive and meticulous research, Richard S. Tedlow has produced the most complete picture ever of this fascinating, colorful, often brilliant but sometimes maddening business genius.
The most consistent and important theme of Grove’s life is how he responds to change: boldly, quickly, with every scrap of his intelligence but no respect for conventional wisdom. As Tedlow observes, “Grove has escaped natural selection by doing the evolving himself. Forcibly adapting himself to a succession of new realities, he has left a trail of discarded assumptions in his wake. When reality has changed, he has found a way to let go and embrace the new.”
Some of the insights in Andy Grove include:
* How Grove’s traumatic youth shaped both his personality and his approach to business and led to his signature phrase-“Only the Paranoid Survive.”
* How he studied human dynamics and taught himself to become a great manager, developing such formulations as “strategic inflection point,” “knowledge power trumps position power,” “constructive confrontation,” and others.
* How his complex relationships evolved with the legendary cofounders of Intel, Gordon Moore and Bob Noyce.
* Why he stumbled during the Pentium crisis of 1994, and how he parlayed it into a reinvigorated concept of ingredient branding (“Intel Inside”).
Tedlow, an acclaimed business historian, interviewed dozens of people and examined mountains of documents, with Grove’s total cooperation. Yet Grove exercised no editorial control and did not see even one page of the manuscript. This is an unauthorized biography that uniquely illuminates Grove’s life, Intel’s history, and the rise of Silicon Valley.
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