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[Review] Out-Executing The Competition

The world of financial services can be convoluted one, and it's incredibly rare to have leaders who continually thrive in such a complex - and some say, toxic - environment. But Irv Rothman, author of "Out-Executing the Competition: Building and Growing a Financial Services Company in Any Economy", is one such person. Rothman, after all, is the president and CEO of HP Financial Services, and has spent over 40 years in the trenches, many of those as a leader. It's no surprise then that many of those lessons in his book "Out-Executing the Competition" revolve around leadership, although there's also plenty about business strategy, business transformation and the need for communication. You'll find out how Rothman help lead the transformation that enabled AT&T Capital to become the second-largest leasing company in the U.S., build Compaq Financial Services (CFS) from its inception in 1997 into a global force with over $3.7 billion in assets, and how he created HP Financial Services by combining two disparate captive finance companies after the merger of HP and Compaq. The business lessons within, however don't come in point form - the book is pretty much an autobiography so more often than not Rothman waxes lyrical about his experiences in long prose. Keen readers would need to unearth for themselves any nuggets of wisdom from "Out-Executing the Competition". What do I like about the book is that Rothman gives some backroom insight into the companies he's held leadership positions in - you may just learn a little more about HP's merger with Compaq (yes, Carly Fiorina is mentioned), as well as his experience at AT&T. I also find it illuminating that Rothman, even as a very busy professional in an extremely demanding capacity, makes it a point to spend as much time with his family as he possibly can (even to the extent of rescheduling appointments so he can watch his children at games or performances). Props to the man. The book's title may suggest that lessons within apply to running a financial services company, but in truth they would apply to any kind of business or industry. Just make sure you have enough time to masticate over the prose.

Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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