Review: Out-Executing The Competition, by Irv Rothman

The Life: Irv Rothman may not be a household name like Mr Buffett et al, but within the corporate world he's no small player. His new book, Out-Executing The Competition, reveals how the president and chief executive of Hewlett Packard Financial Services carved a path through corporate America.

Out-Executing the Competition: Building and Growing a Financial Services Company in Any Economy by Irving H. Rothman
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Readers seeking pearls of wisdom to get ahead in business have often favoured books focusing on billionaires such as Warren Buffett, Steve Jobs and Sir Richard Branson.

But as the appetite for business books swells, a growing wave of titles by successful, if less well known, executives are hitting the market.

Irv Rothman's book, Out-Executing The Competition, is one such. Rothman may not be a household name like Mr Buffett but within the corporate world he is no small player.

The president and chief executive of Hewlett-Packard Financial Services, the leasing and asset management arm of the technology company, Rothman oversees a multibillion-dollar global operation with more than 1,200 employees.

Part autobiography, part how-to guide, Out-Executing The Competition is the illuminating, if unsensational, tale of how Rothman carved a path through corporate America, despite coming from "somewhat humble" beginnings in a blue-collar neighbourhood in New Jersey.

Along the way, he throws the reader enough brass-tacks advice to apply to their own company without sending them to sleep with technical jargon.

But those hoping for some sort of secret formula about how to transform themselves and their business are likely to be disappointed.

Hard work, graft and more graft are needed to get ahead, he firmly believes. This is a man, after all, who rises at 5am twice a week to train in a boxing ring. Other mornings he's lifting weights in the gym.

"Discipline, focus and dedication derive as much from our personal pursuits as from our activities in the corner office," he writes.

Still, Rothman's belt-and-braces approach to management may have more relevance to executives and middle managers than musings about famous business bigwigs starting their empires from scratch.