A new biography of Thomas Watson, Sr. shows how the legendary founder of IBM braved the Great Depression and multiple recessions that followed by adhering to the maxim: The only thing you can be sure of is perpetual change.
Author Peter Greulich begins his book on the day after Black Tuesday, Oct. 29, 1929. He documents Watson's leadership, compassion and understanding of the economic struggles facing his country, his company and his employees. Using Watson's exact words from speeches, writings, presentations and interview materials, the author documents Watson's heart and soul on display during these difficult times.
The book takes readers through Christmas of 1933 when the Great Depression has just passed its deepest economic trough and industrial production is on the rise. Greulich describes how Watson navigated his company through difficult social and economic waters as companies were sinking all around.
Greulich said he believes that readers should look toward a corporation that has survived multiple recessions for guidance through today's newest economic struggle. Released during IBM's Centennial Anniversary, he hopes that The World's Greatest Salesman causes readers to think about the condition of businesses today.
Watson believed that he had set in stone the basis of The IBM Basic Beliefs and that: The principles of this business are fixed. They are lasting principles. These were the foundational beliefs that would stand for almost 100 years. They defined IBM's culture and became its economic engine.
I started on this journey after thirty years as an IBM employee to understand Tom Watson, Sr., Greulich says. I knew his words that founded 'The IBM,' as he called it, would be timeless words of wisdom applicable to any business or government agency and under any economic conditions. Now every person can read and experience his words and use them as a touchstone to judge today's leaders.