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

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  2,291 ratings  ·  141 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)
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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
Rohit Tandekar
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is the title that intrigued me the most when I read it in the reference section of another business book. An eagle-eyed view of what is expected from an employee in the company by the person at the apex, the CEO, was something I was eager to find out.

And the book surely didn't disappoint. This quick read simplifies the expectations of a CEO from his top talent and it draws analogies between a complex, hierarchical MNC and a humble, street vendor. The rules of business and money making essent
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.
Heather Knoelk
Feb 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is a good quick hit on important skills that a leader needs across all aspects of business from operations to financials and managing people.
Manik Koul
Jul 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Margin & Velocity.
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
Faudhiath Kangesa
Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a short but detailed book that basically explains in layman language on how to focus on the going concern of any organization that you are working for whether it is a NGO, government institution, non profit or business enterprise.

No matter what department you work in, your contribution matters. We should all work with business acumen in place. Broaden our mindsets and think of the bigger picture that is larger than our departments. No matter what position you hold, you stand a chance to
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.
Nov 17, 2016 rated it did not like it
Presented as an advanced book, but covers very simple topics (P/E, margin, velocity of business). Seemed like the author threw in example after example in order to extend the page count rather than trying to efficiently communicate the point. 90% of the information could be conveyed in a two-page flyer.

Would be valuable for people that have zero business background.
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. ...more
Amanda Tang
Aug 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An easy read I would highly recommend to those wanting to grasp the fundamental business basics of their companies. It’s time to ask ourselves if we can do more for our companies and this book helps you get started.
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. ...more
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!
Mohamed Essaid Abdelmalek
Must read book.
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