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The Real Thing: Truth and Power at the Coca-Cola Company

Customer Reviews:

A jumble of stories

By D. H. Richards "ninthwavestore" - March 23, 2004

First of all, I have to recommend a far superior history of coke's first 100 years, Mark Pendergrast's "For God, Country and Coca-Cola..." Pendergrast's well researched (over researched?) book neatly and clearly tells the story of how the company started and ended up in the late 80s.In some ways Hays book is a sequel. At its best it tells the story of what happened to the giant syrup manufacturer after 1990. But the main problem with the book is Hays insistence on a non-linear style that works poorly when presenting history. She often starts a story and then stop--moving on to pick up another thread. Sometimes she comes back to finish the first thread, often she just mentions it in passing in another thread. The result is a convoluted, hard to follow story of Coke in the 1990s. Perhaps it is a refreshing change from the straight forward "and then this happened" approach, but it makes for difficult reading. Hays does a good job researching, she obviously spoke with many key... read more

Outdated on arrival

By Gaetan Lion - March 8, 2004

New York Times reporter Constance Hays is an excellent business journalist, but her book is already so dated that it is no more than a mundane history book. Unfortunately, it pretends to be a contemporary analysis of The Coca Cola Company's management practices. And, in this regard it just fails. The book spends a long time on the origin of this all American company. It also develops well the very successful 16 year tenure of Roberto Goizeta from 1981 until his surprising death in 1997. It does a good job of covering the miserable and short tenure of Douglas Ivester from 1997 to 1999. He made so many mistakes within such a short time, that he was forced out before he could do any more damage. Unfortunately, Hays hardly covers the valiant efforts of Daft, CEO from 1999 until February 2004 to turnaround the company. Thus, her criticism of Coke's management leadership is already two CEOs and nearly four years behind as the book just hits the stores. For this explicit... read more

A Rigorous Analysis of Real Crises

By Robert Morris - March 15, 2004

Many of those who are already familiar with the long and colorful history of the Coca-Cola Company may share my own curiosity about the problems it has struggled with in recent years. What happened? A question of greater interest to me, what caused all the problems after a century of increasingly greater sales and profits? In this volume, Hays provides a brief but sufficient review of the company's history through 1980 before focussing the bulk of her attention on Robert C. Goizueta's 17 years as CEO until his unexpected death in 1997, and then on M. Douglas Ivester who succeeded Goizueta for only two years until being forced out. In certain respects, Hays resembles a cultural anthropologist as she rigorously analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of the two CEOs as they struggled (with mixed success) to sustain the Coca-Cola Company's market dominance, both domestically and internationally. As she presents her material, I was convinced that many of the problems they faced and some of... read more

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