The Corner Office

Indispensable and unexpected lessons from CEOs on how to lead and succeed.

What does it take to reach the top in business and to inspire others? Adam Bryant decided to answer this and other questions by sitting down with more than seventy CEOs and asking them how they do their jobs and the most important lessons they learned as they rose through the ranks. Over the course of extraordinary interviews, they shared memorable stories and eye-opening insights.

From his interviews, Adam has crafted an original work that reveals the keys to success, including the five essential personality traits that all high performers exhibit—qualities that the CEOs themselves value most and that separate the rising stars from their colleagues. Adam also demystifies the art of leadership and shows how executives at the top of their game get the most out of others.

Leadership is not a one-size-fits-all skill, and these CEOs offer different perspectives that will help anyone who seeks to be a more effective leader and employee. For aspiring executives—of all ages—The Corner Office offers a path to future success.

Praise for The Corner Office

“Bryant, deputy national editor of the New York Times and writer of the “Corner Office” feature in the paper’s Sunday Business section, offers compelling advice for the aspiring executive. With interviews with more than 70 CEOs and other top executives at companies of all sizes, he compiles insights on such questions as what does it take to lead an organization? what are the keys to achieving the highest levels of success? Business luminaries like the CEO of Disney, the COO of Qwest Communications, the CEO of Continental Airlines, a vice chairman at Wal-Mart, and the founder of Zappos speak thoughtfully about team creation, keeping the mission on target, management, employee relationships, the importance of feedback, and the creation of an efficient corporate culture. The conversational format makes these valuable lessons easy to comprehend and digest, and readers are left with a new understanding of leadership—why it’s important, how these experts have worked to attain it, and how they can do the same.”
Publishers Weekly

“In his debut, New York Times Sunday business columnist Bryant explores the qualities that separate successful CEOs from the rest of the pack. In a series of interviews, the leaders of industry speak off-the-cuff about what it takes to make it to the top, and the lessons they learned after arriving. The author includes the advice and observations of 75 CEOs and corporate executives, including Timberland’s Jeffrey Swartz, Harvard University’s Drew Gilpin Faust and Yahoo’s Carol Bartz. Leaving behind spreadsheets and bottom-line issues, Bryant’s interviewees focus on the personal attributes that brought them to their current positions. As each speaks about the qualities they look for in others, a window opens onto how they see themselves and their roles. There are plenty of career-planning tips up front, but most interesting are the later sections of the book, which detail the day-to-day experiences, surprises and coping strategies that make up the business lives of a unique and extraordinary group. Almost universally unanticipated by these CEOs is how their every move effects their employees, like how the way they dress can result in imitation or how a momentary facial expression may lead to a flurry of assumptions. The corner offices Bryant visits are filled with people who have learned the importance of the smallest details of communication. An interesting view of life in the most coveted corporate suites, seen through the eyes of those who occupy them.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Adam Bryant’s The Corner Office is a great service—practical, well-written, chock full of insight and wisdom. Reading this book is like joining a dinner table with some of the best leaders in America, listening in as a master conversationalist leads a spirited discussion you cannot forget. A wonderful creation!”
—Jim Collins, author of Good to Great and co-author of Built to Last

The Corner Office is a modern management masterpiece. Adam Bryant distills and weaves together hundreds of gems from some of the most successful and intriguing executives on the planet. The result is one of the most delightful, readable, and useful business books I have read in years.”
—Robert Sutton, Professor of Management Science and Engineering, Stanford University, and bestselling author of Good Boss, Bad Boss

“This is the first and perhaps only book I would recommend to any aspiring or sitting leader for its wise and practical distillation of lessons for exemplary leadership. It is the best, most reliable GPS/road map, currently available, for successful leadership.”
—Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Business, University of Southern California, and author of Still Surprised: A Memoir of a Life in Leadership

The Corner Office is delightful, engaging, illuminating, wise, down-to-earth, and above all, fresh. Adam Bryant’s fascinating new ideas and memorable lessons will shake up the thinking of even the most jaded managers and inspire all leaders to find creative new approaches.”
—Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School professor and bestselling author of Confidence and SuperCorp

“Everybody needs a mentor or two. But this book gives you more than seventy of them—all at the top of their games, all dispensing hard-won advice on business, management, and professional satisfaction. Nearly every page of The Corner Office has a nugget of wisdom that can improve your leadership and enrich your life.”
—Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind

The Corner Office is a terrific book—thoughtful, useful, and fun to read to boot. Its lessons will help every manager understand work differently—and quickly come at it with new ideas and practices.”
—Suzy Welch, coauthor of the bestseller Winning (with Jack Welch) and author of the bestseller 10-10-10: A Life-Transforming Idea