Everything you thought you knew about becoming a CEO is wrong. You must graduate from an elite college or business school. In fact, only 7 percent of the CEOs of today’s companies went to a top school—and 8 percent didn’t graduate from college at all. Never put a foot wrong. In fact, people who have become CEOs have on average had five to seven career setbacks on their way to the top.
Drawing on the biggest dataset of CEOs in the world—in-depth analysis of 2,600 leaders, drawn from a database of 17,000 CEOs, as well as 13,000 hours of interviews—The CEO Next Door is crammed full of myth-busting and counter-intuitive insights in what it really takes to get ahead. Discover the way actual CEOs of top companies think and behave, and the kind of traits to develop if you want to make your ambitions a reality and take your career right to the top.
Author: Elena Botelho and Kim Powell, with Tahl Raz
I read this book as one of the selections of the Next Big Idea Club, which I highly recommend if you like to read nonfiction. Unfortunately, though, I just didn’t really get into this book. Maybe it’s because I’m not at the point in my career where I’m looking for advice on how to become a CEO, but it just didn’t hold my attention very well.
The concept of the book is certainly interesting. The authors are C-suite headhunters who ran a research project with a ton of data points to find the qualities common to the most successful CEOs. Their research shows that many people can be (and are) good CEOS, not just the archetypes like Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk. They break down the four main qualities and then give practical advice on how to hone these qualities in yourself. They also support their ideas with many, many examples of real people in real situations.
Here’s what I think: These authors had so, so much data, and so, so many stories, and they really wanted to get as much of that in as possible. They could have put this information and advice into a long-form article and been just as convincing. But they would have had to take out some supporting stories and examples. I like stories and examples, but I think this just had too much.
Maybe if I had my eye on a CEO-shaped future, I would have been more engaged. But for me, it was just hard to stay engaged.