The CEO Next Door Book Summary - The CEO Next Door Book explained in key points
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Elena Botelho and Kim Powell

The Four Behaviors That Transform Ordinary People Into World-Class Leaders

4.3 (194 ratings)
17 mins

Brief summary

The CEO Next Door by Elena Botelho and Kim Powell shares insights gathered from studying thousands of successful CEOs. The book reveals the common traits and habits of top CEOs and provides practical advice for aspiring leaders.

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    The CEO Next Door
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    CEOs aren’t born, they’re made.

    Many of us believe that CEOs are somehow special and entirely different from the average employee. Furthermore, we believe that wealthy parents or exceptional intelligence is necessary to run a large company. However, the ghSMART project, which the authors were involved in, surveyed over 2,600 CEOs and what they found contradicts these beliefs.

    The majority of CEOs are just regular people who have developed leadership qualities over the course of their career.

    More than 70 percent of the CEOs surveyed claimed that they had no intention of becoming a CEO when they first started working.

    Let’s take Don Slager, for example. At the time of writing, Slager is the CEO of Republic Services, a $9 billion company and one of the top-500 wealthiest companies in the United States as rated by Fortune magazine. He never went to college but was ranked the number one CEO in the United States by the website Glassdoor. In fact, he started out as a garbageman for the company. By working his way up the ranks, Slager eventually became the head of one of the most well-known companies in the American waste-services industry. It was his knowledge of and familiarity with the general public, as well as the insights he’d gained from working in all areas of the company, that made Slager the best candidate for CEO.

    What’s more, the survey showed that you don’t need to be a genius to become a CEO.

    Indeed, those who put forth complicated ideas or use long words are typically viewed as bad CEOs. Moreover, they’re less likely to be hired at all. To give you some stats – only seven percent of CEOs graduated from an Ivy League school. Though Fortune 500 companies usually have Ivy League graduates among their leaders, the smaller, less-known firms don’t. But Ivy League schools aside, consider this: like Don Slager, eight percent of CEOs have never attended any college, so, clearly, lacking a formal higher-level education is no hindrance.

    You also don’t need to be an exceptionally outspoken person to be a CEO. Egoistic people make the worst CEOs since they’re too focused on their individual success. And, in fact, 30 percent of CEOs are introverts.

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    What is The CEO Next Door about?

    The CEO Next Door (2017) takes a look at what separates a good CEO from a great one. Backed up by extensive research headed by the authors, it proposes that ordinary people can become leaders of large, successful companies, and details the steps involved in climbing that corporate ladder.

    The CEO Next Door Review

    The CEO Next Door (2018) is a comprehensive guide to becoming a successful CEO, based on an in-depth study of over 2,600 leaders. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers practical tips and strategies for aspiring CEOs, helping them navigate their way to the top.
    • By debunking common myths about what it takes to be a CEO, it provides a fresh perspective on leadership and success.
    • With its insightful stories and interviews with top executives, the book offers valuable lessons and an inside look into the world of CEOs.

    Best quote from The CEO Next Door

    Top CEOs spend as much as 40 percent of their time hunting future trends.

    —Elena Botelho and Kim Powell
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    Who should read The CEO Next Door?

    • Anyone with aspirations to become a CEO
    • Leaders who want to improve their management skills
    • Entrepreneurs looking for advice on how to run a business

    About the Author

    Elena Botelho and Kim Powell both have backgrounds in business, which led them to work on ghSMART, the biggest-ever study on the personality and mentality of world business leaders. Botelho and Powell also advise leading CEOs and senior executives.

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    The CEO Next Door FAQs 

    What is the main message of The CEO Next Door?

    The main message of The CEO Next Door is that great leaders are made, not born.

    How long does it take to read The CEO Next Door?

    The reading time for The CEO Next Door varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The CEO Next Door a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The CEO Next Door is worth reading for its insights and practical tips on leadership and success.

    Who is the author of The CEO Next Door?

    The authors of The CEO Next Door are Elena Botelho and Kim Powell.

    What to read after The CEO Next Door?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The CEO Next Door, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Think Like an Entrepreneur, Act Like a CEO by Beverly E. Jones
    • The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
    • Leadershift by John C. Maxwell
    • The Diary of a CEO by Steven Bartlett
    • Think Like Zuck by Ekaterina Walter
    • Becoming the Boss by Lindsey Pollak
    • Leadership Is Language by David Marquet
    • The Anxious Generation by Jonathan Haidt
    • The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch
    • High Output Management by Andrew S. Grove