Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “What the CEO Wants You to Know: Using Business Acumen to Understand How Your Company Really Works” as Want to Read:
What the CEO Wants You to Know: Using Business Acumen to Understand How Your Company Really Works
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

What the CEO Wants You to Know: Using Business Acumen to Understand How Your Company Really Works

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  1,906 ratings  ·  88 reviews
The universal laws of business success . . . no matter whether you are selling fruit from a stand or running a Fortune 500 company.

Have you ever noticed that the business savvy of the world's best CEOs seems like a kind of street smarts? They sense where the opportunities are and how to take advantage of them. And their companies make money consistently, year after year.

Hardcover, 144 pages
Published February 13th 2001 by Crown Business (first published January 1st 2001)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,906 ratings  ·  88 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of What the CEO Wants You to Know: Using Business Acumen to Understand How Your Company Really Works
Leah Macvie
Jun 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was a pretty good book. Unlike other feedback, I did enjoy reading it. I was in an interesting position at the time at a college that was run as a business. This book helped me understand my role in the college. I realized that I wasn't a good fit for my position because I didn't have much say in the global picture, and I wanted to. I had to move on. I've taken the tools I've learned in this book and applied them to my current position. I now have a say in the global picture, and I am very ...more
Scott Sinks
Feb 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Do you know how money works? Do you know how the most successful people on the planet manage their business? do you know what business acumen is and how it works? Do you ever feel like the path to becoming rich seems like street smarts?

"What the CEO wants you to know" written by Ram Charan, explains everything you need to know about running a successful business as simply as it can be explained. Charan, repedively compares running a big business or corporation to running a small fruit stand from
Jun 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Ram Charan, a prominent business consultant, examines the functions of business by examining his own family's business in India. He explores the decision-making processes any CEO must use, looking at key issues such as profit margin, customer service, product turnover, and the like. He argues that though the companies may differ in size and other relatively superficial attributes, the functions and principles of doing business successfully are the same. Charan argues that successful CEO's and bu ...more
David Robins
Nov 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Unlike Execution, which contained a lot of extraneous material, What the CEO Wants You To Know gets right to the point. I was a bit confused by the title, but read it on a recommendation: it is simply what a CEO wants a person working for him, especially a manager, to know about business in general and their business in particular: margin, velocity, turnover, ROE/ROI/ROA, and so on, as well as how to fit people to roles and grow social operating mechanisms.
Jose Miranda-alvarez
Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: career-books
"You make a bet even when you don't make a bet. That is, by not choosing to do anything different, you are choosing the status quo"

A great reminder for any time one knows a decision has to be made, and yet one is hesitant about taking the risk.

This is a great read to understand the basics of money making, combined with the importance of developing a culture of candor, and growing the right talent for the right job.
Gustavo Garcia
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good reading that will let your mind start thinking about different ways to help the business you opened or you are working on.
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Quick and easy read for all levels of experience. For me personally, it was a refreshing reminder of what matters in running a business and how to get the most out of your team and apply it to a complex business cross-functionally. The “synchronize” material was particularly useful where leaders need to facilitate group effectiveness at solving business problems and exploiting opportunities.
Newell Starks
May 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
If there is one book which any non-business person or new business person should read, this is it. As a person who has invested in companies for over 30-years and been on numerous boards for over 20, it is incomprehensible why others rate this less than a 5 star.

The facts are that business is, at a very fundamental level (similar to sports), quite simple, which most people fail to comprehend. At another level, it can appear quite complex. The difficulty which most people have is that they get c
Jun 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Shana by: My husband
My husband recommended this book to me while I was working full time as a Credit Director at a national office furniture manufacturer. At the time, the information contained was pertinent and practical. It's not fun to read by any means and for those of you who have shared in one too many executive "go get 'em" meetings....well, some of this might be passe to you. Nonetheless, it's advice worth repeating and driving home the fact that we always have the choice and the gift of choice to excel at ...more
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
A short master read.
This book helps in refining your business decision-making ability. Cash(flow), Return(RoI or RoA), Growth(Customer) are three fundamental to business. This book helps you to learn business acumen and metaphor of it.
Simple to understand, Think like a Street Fruit Vendor from North India.

Thanks, Mr Ram Charan for writing this book.
It indeed brought (a lot of business priority which always enticed me to pursue) complexity to clarity.
Jered Skousen
Nov 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
If you want to move into the executive suite (or just be a better employee), this book gives some great insight.
It is a short read (120 pages), and the first half is better information. The last half is some examples, and it is a little thin.
Jesse Winslow
Jan 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Loved this book. I've never been a business guy, I've always been a people guy. This book finally tied together some ideas I had about the way business works in a very easy to understand and concise manner.
Abdul Koya
Feb 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
My manager gave me this book to read. This is the only Ram Charan book that gave me valuable insight. Highly recommended.
Jun 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is a good primer, or re-education, for analyzing any business regardless of your position in the company.
Lokesh Joshi
Aug 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Must read for team leaders and entrepreneurs !
Dec 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Caveat "Margin X Velocity = Making Profit". I would highly encourage people who just entered the workforce to read this book.
May 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 100-best
This book was included in my book: The 100 Best Business Books of All Time. ...more
Mar 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
One of best business motivation books that is available out there, and anyone can relate to this book. Easy to read and understand...but very powerful
Dan Ross
Jul 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Simple lessons. Easy to read. Great if you don't have an MBA
Theron Hatch
Jan 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book for someone interested in a quick understanding of business and leadership. Simple examples that anyone can grasp.
Jul 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those interested in running a business or want to know what is important in running a business
Recommended to David by: Dr Barkett
All of us should be aware of how a business operates. Ram provides some insites into what measures are important to watch and the business acumen to make judgemetn on those measures.
Nov 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Great book that decomposes large corporations to discover what really matters: how they make money
Vishnu Jaju
Oct 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A must-read book for all you business folks!
Subramanian Sankaran
Jan 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Simple, gentle and highly insightful look into leadership

Tommy Kiedis
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An exceptional business primer from an exceptional business consultant. Ram Charan takes us back to the business basics: customers, cash, return on invested capital, and growth. He helps the reader understand, work with, and improve on the fundamentals of business.

Jac Nasser, the former Ford CEO, gave Charan the idea for What the CEO Wants You to Know. Charan was teaching a couple hundred Ford managers about the bigger picture of business. When Nasser sat in on session, he recognized the import
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ram “has the rare ability to distill meaningful from meaningless and transfer it in a quiet, effective way without destroying confidences,” says former Chairman of GE, Jack Welch.

In this update of the book he originally published in 2001, he very succinctly, and in simple language, describes the basics of what it takes to be a business success. In this book he clearly defines "the universal principles that apply whether you sell fruit from a stand or run a Fortune 500 company."

The four basic mus
Amber Lea
Aug 10, 2018 rated it liked it
It's hard to give this book a fair rating, because I have the 2001 edition and it didn't teach me anything, but I see how it could be a valuable book to the right person.

This actually wasn't what I expected it to be. I knew it was going to be about what a CEO does and the mindset they would want their employees to have, but it is very much a business 101 book, and it goes as far as to ask you to do some math. But the book spends a lot of time talking to you as if you ARE a CEO. I personally had
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it

Nice compact and succinct resource for anyone in a profit-based organization. Best quote, "Don't let your formal education or the size of your company obscure the simplicity of your business" (p. 29). For Charan, this boils down to six things: cash generation, margin, velocity, return on assets, growth and customers. Charan also introduces the idea of Social Operating Mechanisms which are the ways a leadership team collaborates around execution, decision-making, leading/managing cha
Jun 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ram Charan - the author - used a very simple language and illustrative way to let readers understand the following things:
1. Three basic parts of money-making in business: cash generation, return on assets (a combination of margin and velocity), and growth.
2. Wealth is more than making money. Price-earnings multiples -P-E ratio is crucial to stakeholders which the CEO must focus on.
3. The right people in the right jobs
4. Develop people and communication mechanisms.
Taylor Walburg
Jul 17, 2017 rated it liked it
In some respects, I felt as if I was reading the highlights of my MBA program. Foundational content on understanding how every business operates. Written in 2001, many of his examples are outdated, but the principles still ring true. The flow of the book felt choppy halfway through, but a good read overall if looking to understand the language of business.
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Financial Intelligence: A Manager's Guide to Knowing What the Numbers Really Mean
  • Growing a Business
  • The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action
  • Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution
  • The Great Game of Business: Unlocking the Power and Profitability of Open-Book Management
  • Competing for the Future
  • How to Become a Rainmaker: The Rules for Getting and Keeping Customers and Clients
  • More Than You Know: Finding Financial Wisdom in Unconventional Places
  • Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done
  • On Becoming a Leader
  • Out of the Crisis
  • Re-Imagine!: Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age
  • The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action
  • The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence, and Persuasion through the Art of Storytelling
  • The Leadership Moment: Nine True Stories of Triumph and Disaster and Their Lessons for Us All
  • The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization
  • Chasing Daylight: How My Forthcoming Death Transformed by Life
  • Thriving on Chaos: Handbook for a Management Revolution
See similar books…

Related Articles

Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman know the radical life-changing power of a good friendship. The two launched their hit podcast Call Your Girlfriend ...
9 likes · 0 comments
“Over the years I’ve asked many of them what was the greatest mistake they ever made in the area of people. The most common answer? “Waiting too long” to remove a direct report who was not matched to the job.” 0 likes
More quotes…