It’s not well remembered, but the planned 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics were scandal-ridden and in complete disarray until Romney took over as CEO in early 1999. In this management primer, he makes his rescue job seem very simple: he came in, displayed a positive attitude and hired competent, committed people, and the result was a successful Olympics that few had thought possible. That same attitude is displayed throughout this book, as Romney is quick to credit those around him for the games’ success.
He’s thorough as he details how he revamped the budget, kept costs down and marketed the games to sponsors. His self-deprecating honesty is refreshing and appealing. As he writes after emphasizing the importance of selling the games: “I know there are people out there who love to sell, but it is far from my favorite thing.” He’s also honest about his criticism of the Salt Lake City leaders who were tainted by their efforts to buy votes from International Olympic Committee members to get the city the games.
The same traits that make Romney, now the governor of Massachusetts, an unobtrusive leader don’t always serve the book; some readers will want to see more sparks fly. But those looking for a training manual in how to run a high-profile organization will be rewarded.
Book Review by Publishers Weekly
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