Welcome back! It has been such a long time since I read and reviewed a new book that I’m thrilled to get back into the groove by writing a book review of Winners Dream: A Journey from Corner Store to Corner Office, the memoir of Bill McDermott with Joanne Gordon.
Nonfiction/ Biographies of Business Professionals/ Motivational Business Management
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Synopsis of Winners Dream: A Journey from Corner Store to Corner Office:
A leadership and career manifesto told through the narrative of one of today’s most inspiring, admired, and successful global leaders.
In Winners Dream, Bill McDermott—the CEO of the world’s largest business software company, SAP—chronicles how relentless optimism, hard work, and disciplined execution embolden people and equip organizations to achieve audacious goals.
Growing up in working-class Long Island, a sixteen-year-old Bill traded three hourly wage jobs to buy a small deli, which he ran by instinctively applying ideas that would be the seeds for his future success. After paying for and graduating college, Bill talked his way into a job selling copiers door-to-door for Xerox, where he went on to rank number one in every sales position he held and eventually became the company’s youngest-ever corporate officer. Eventually, Bill left Xerox and in 2002 became the unlikely president of SAP’s flailing American business unit. There, he injected enthusiasm and accountability into the demoralized culture by scaling his deli, sales, and management strategies. In 2010, Bill was named co-CEO, and in May 2014 became SAP’s sole, and first non-European, CEO.
Colorful and fast-paced, Bill’s anecdotes contain effective takeaways: gutsy career moves; empathetic sales strategies; incentives that yield exceptional team performance; and proof of the competitive advantages of optimism and hard work. At the heart of Bill’s story is a blueprint for success and the knowledge that the real dream is the journey, not a preconceived destination.
My Take on Winners Dream:
I struggled at first, as I expected this book to be less memoir-like and more of a guide to success like The Oz Principle. IDK why, perhaps the “A global CEO’s life lessons in sales, motivation, and leadership” just felt like the book would be more focused on how to achieve success and not so much on the stories that shaped this man’s life in particular. That’s what happens when you grab a book at random from a book trade.
While this is a classic tale of rags to riches and starts with a lot of stories from his childhood that shaped who he is today, there were a lot of great nuggets of wisdom throughout that one can use to guide one’s own journey of success. Each chapter starts with a quote from a famous person that sets the tone for the chapter. I appreciated a lot of his childhood experiences and can relate to the struggles. The messages of optimism he experienced with his mom are fantastic. His shared experiences with his first jobs are relatable to an older generation. The drive to improve is a message that really resonated with me.
I am curious how much of the greatness of this book is because a certain generation can relate to it and anyone in sales/ marketing for more than 10 years would be able to relate. I cannot help but wonder if a younger generation could glean much from it and what they would get. Definitely encouraging Little Man to read this next and see what he gets from it as he is in his senior year of high school and at a different level.
My favorite message in the book is that you have to enjoy the journey to success and keep adapting and adjusting your goals as you go through life. That really struck a chord as I am going through my own priority shifts.
Have you read Winners Dream? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. If not, go ahead and take a peek inside and see what you think.
Until next time,