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CEO Excellence

The Six Mindsets That Distinguish the Best Leaders from the Rest


About The Book

New York Times Bestseller
Wall Street Journal Bestseller

From the world’s most influential management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, this is an insight-packed, revelatory look at how the best CEOs do their jobs based on extensive interviews with today’s most successful corporate leaders—including chiefs at Netflix, JPMorgan Chase, General Motors, and Sony.

Being a CEO at any of the world’s largest companies is among the most challenging roles in business. Billions, and even trillions, are at stake—and the fates of tens of thousands of employees often hang in the balance. Yet, even when “can’t miss” high-achievers win the top job, very few excel. Thirty percent of Fortune 500 CEOs last fewer than three years, and two out of five new CEOs are perceived to be failing within eighteen months.

For those who shoulder the burden of being the one on whom everyone counts, a manual for excellence is sorely needed.

To identify the 21st century’s best CEOs, the authors of CEO Excellence started with a pool of over 2400 public company CEOs. Extensive screening distilled that group into an elite corps, sixty-seven of whom agreed to in-depth, multi-hour interviews. Among those sharing their views: Jamie Dimon (JPMorgan Chase), Satya Nadella (Microsoft), Reed Hastings (Netflix), Kazuo Hirai (Sony), Ken Chenault (American Express), Mary Barra (GM), and Peter Brabeck-Letmathe (Nestlé).

What came out of those frank, no-holds-barred conversations is a rich array of mindsets and actions that deliver outsized performance. Compelling, practical, and unprecedented in scope, CEO Excellence is a treasure trove of wisdom from today’s most elite business leaders.

About The Authors

Julian Love

Carolyn Dewar is a Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company. She has published over thirty articles in the Harvard Business Review and the McKinsey Quarterly and is a frequent keynote speaker.

Chris Sattlberger

Scott Keller is a Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company. He is the author of six books, including Beyond Performance: How Great Organizations Create Ultimate Competitive Advantage.

Craig Gordon

Vikram (Vik) Malhotra is a Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company where he has worked since 1986. He has served on McKinsey’s Board of Directors and as McKinsey’s Managing Partner of the Americas.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner (March 15, 2022)
  • Length: 384 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781982179670

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Raves and Reviews

New York Times Bestseller

Wall Street Journal Bestseller

“CEO Excellence pulls back the curtain on how some of the world’s greatest business leaders have achieved success. Readers from the classroom to the boardroom will find valuable lessons they can apply to their own careers.”
—Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman, CEO, and cofounder of Blackstone

“McKinsey’s access to the best corporate CEOs has produced a remarkable and highly readable analysis of what makes leaders’ jobs so difficult in this age of constant social media focus, shareholder activism, great board involvement, enhanced ESG needs, growing global challenges, and increased government oversight. Any smart CEO looking to not just survive but thrive would do well to read and heed this book’s insights.” 
David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-executive chairman of The Carlyle Group and New York Times bestselling author of How to Lead 

“Interviews CEOs (refreshingly, not just the usual suspects), finds out what makes them tick, and formulates a set of maxims and observations…A satisfying handbook for future moguls.” 
Kirkus Reviews 

"Leadership is something you learn first by watching and then by doing—and the best leaders never stop learning, which is why this is a book for those who want to sharpen their skills in leading organizations to higher levels." 
– Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, and mayor of New York, 2002-2013 

“Do we need another book on leadership at the top? Yes! Having created the world’s first school for incumbent CEOs and studied thousands over forty-five years, I can confirm that Dewar, Keller, and Malhotra provide valuable fresh insight.  Instead of selecting clients or cronies to study, they were guided by analytic screening of performance on many key dimensions. Their conclusions show how CEOs shape culture and are shaped by it.  By objectively examining character and context together, they transcend vague lists of virtues and reveal that leadership impact is very different from the boastful, backslapping self-promotion we see too often.  This book provides leaders at all career stages insight on how to complement and enhance their respective styles.” 
Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Founder and President of the Chief Executive Leadership Institute and Senior Associate Dean for Leadership Studies at the Yale School of Management 

“This is a remarkable book by three top-notch business gurus. Vik, Scott, and Carolyn have taken a plunge into the minds of the world's finest CEOs, reached deep into their psyches, retrieved the rarest pearls of wisdom, and strung them together nicely in a most readable narrative. This is not just a book but a veritable guide to becoming a complete leader and leading a complete life. A must read for everyone in the world of ideas and enterprises.” 
– Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries 

“Illuminating and even inspiring…Perhaps surprisingly, what stands out in this book’s spotlighting of top CEOs’ varied approaches is their willingness to be selfless, to let others shine. Their strategies for building up team members, and the ways they not only craft a vision but make those around them collaborators in it are ones I’m excited to teach in my leadership courses at Harvard.” 
–Frances Frei, coauthor of Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leader’s Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You   

“This is truly a must-read for everyone who is (or wants to be) a CEO.  In a very informative and highly enjoyable style, Vikram, Carolyn, and Scott share leadership wisdom that applies to every conceivable business. I only wish I had the benefit of this wonderful book years ago." 
–Jason Flom, former Chairman and CEO of Atlantic Records, Virgin Records, and Capitol Music Group 

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