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Joe Wilson and the Creation of Xerox

Charles D. Ellis
with a Foreword by Joel M. Podolny and an Introduction by Anne M. Mulcahy

Retail Price: $27.95
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Format: Hardcover, 396pp.
ISBN: 9780471998358
Publisher: Wiley
Pub. Date: September 1, 2006

Average Customer Review:
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Item No: 9780471998358

Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

Joe Wilson was that rare business leader who, like Henry Ford before him or Bill Gates since, literally changed the world in which he lived. Wilson's company, Xerox Corporation, introduced the first one-piece, plain paper photocopier in 1959, dramatically altering the way in which business was done and becoming so culturally ingrained that the term for photocopying is "Xeroxing."

Yet Wilson was much more than just one of the twentieth century's most talented and accomplished business executives. Decades before a sense of social responsibility was considered vital to the success of a corporation, Joe Wilson was a driving force behind gender and racial equality, labor-management harmony, and the need for big business to understand and address the failures of our overall society.

Joe Wilson and the Creation of Xerox is the first book to tell the story of this deeply principled and talented leader. Written by Charles Ellis, the globally renowned business strategist and author of the investment classic Winning the Loser's Game, this inspirational and vastly entertaining book details:
  • The determination and entrepreneurial drive of Joe Wilson as he transformed the brilliant invention of Chester Carlson from near-certain oblivion to ubiquitous xerography
  • The early growth years of Xerox—then called Haloid—and the programs Joe Wilson put in place to hire the most promising employees and seamlessly "retire" those who didn't share his vision and work ethic
  • The many years of uncertainty and near-defeat through which Wilson led the team he was recruiting to create the company and the great products that drove Xerox's profits consistently upward at a faster rate for a longer number of years than any other company
  • The legendary 914 copier, and how Wilson and other company executives bet their futures and fortunes on the unproven product that would soon make Xerox a household name
  • Wilson's hands-on work with minority leaders to provide education and opportunity to young African- Americans during the racially explosive 1960s
  • The transition years, and how Joe Wilson carefully relinquished control of Xerox while remaining intimately involved in both its day-to-day and long-term growth
In a business world in which intense competition is the norm, with old-fashioned integrity often the first casualty, Joe Wilson's life and legacy have established a gold standard of leadership ethics and excellence. Joe Wilson and the Creation of Xerox tells Wilson's story, from struggling college graduate to esteemed business leader, and provides a success template that will be valuable for business leaders of every type, in every industry.


"Charley Ellis has written a magnificent portrait, capturing the indomitable spirit of Joe Wilson and his instinctive understanding of the need for and commercial usefulness of a transforming imaging technology. Joe Wilson and his extraordinary team, which I had the good fortune to first meet in 1960, epitomized the wonderful observation of George Bernard Shaw who said, 'Some look at things that are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were and ask why not?'
Xerox and xerography are not only a part of our vocabulary, but part of our everyday life. Charley Ellis gives the reader a poignant understanding of just how this happened through the life, adventures, critical business decisions, and dreams of Joseph Wilson and a cadre of remarkable individuals.
This book will surely join the library of memorable biographies that capture the building of America into a risk-tolerant, technologically sophisticated, idea-oriented society that thrives by understanding what Charles Darwin really said: 'Survival will be neither to the strongest of the species, nor to the most intelligent, but to those most adaptable to change.'"
—Frederick Frank, Vice Chairman, Lehman Brothers Inc.

Transforming family-owned Haloid Corp., which struggled in the shadow of hometown behemoth Eastman Kodak, into the globally recognized Xerox is an amazing accomplishment. But as Ellis's biography of Joe Wilson attests, Wilson's achievements ranged more widely and went much deeper than many gave him credit for. Ellis, author of 11 books and former financial industry consultant offers a heartfelt, if not artful, telling of the CEO's life story. He contends that Wilson embodied all of the qualities that leadership management books celebrate: integrity, foresight and the ability to inspire people to perform. He credits these attributes to helping Wilson so spectacularly realize his vision for his company; its employees; his alma mater, the University of Rochester; and the city and people of Rochester, N.Y. Ellis's telling starts off slow and is initially quite repetitive. But once Xerox is finally born, after years of setbacks, the story picks up. The real purpose for the detailed buildup appears toward the end, when credit for the last 20-odd years of corporate strife and ultimate success is given to the wrong person, Wilson's best friend and the company's corporate counsel. At that point, it becomes clear why Ellis was compelled to write this book so long after the company's rise and its true founder's demise.
—Publishers Weekly, Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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About the Author

Charles D. Ellis is a recognized expert on business management. For thirty years, he was managing partner of Greenwich Associates, the leading worldwide strategy consultant to the financial services industry, which he founded and where he developed close working relationships with senior executives at most of the major investment firms in North America, Asia, and Europe. His other activities include teaching the Investment Management course at both Yale School of Management and Harvard Business School; chairing CFA Institute, the investment professionals' organization; serving as a Director of Vanguard; advising some of the world's largest investing institutions; and chairing the investment committees at the Whitehead Institute and Yale University. He is one of ten individuals recognized by the investment profession for lifetime leadership. Among his eleven prior books is Capital: The Story of Long-Term Investment Excellence.

Table of Contents
Introduction by Anne M. Mulcahy, Chairman and CEO of Xerox Corporationix
Foreword by Joel Podolny, Dean, Yale School of Managementxv
1Early Years PDF1
3The Thirties19
4Years of Struggle29
5Chet Carlson39
7Contact—Just Barely57
8Sol Linowitz67
9Toward Xerox79
10The University97
11Worst of Times, Best of Times111
12Joe Wilson131
13IBM, RCA, and GE135
14Gathering Strength in Finance147
15Building the Organization157
16Going International177
17Going It Alone191
19The 914209
21Getting on Message239
22Xerox: Zoom-Zoom259
24Challenges of Success275
25Minister Florence289
27Public Service315
28Winding Down325
29No Longer CEO337
30At the Rockefellers’353
Joe Wilson: In His Own Words371

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