Missionary: Two books examine GE’s fall from grace

Lights Out: Pride, Illusion, and the Fall of General Electric

Written by Thomas Greta and Ted Mann

Mariner Books, $17.99, 361 pages

The Man Who Shattered Capitalism, How Jack Welch Ruined the Heart of America and Crushed America’s Only Company–and How to Undo His Legacy

Written by David Gillies

Simon & Schuster, $28.00, 264 pages

August 1, 2022, © Leham News: Two recent books on General Electric and its most prominent CEO, Jack Welch, offer a different focus and great insight.

by Scott Hamilton

One, Turn off the lights, It is a detailed account of the era of Welch and those who followed him. This book goes into much more detail than Gelles’ book, which is more of Welch’s autobiography than a history of the company – although there is clearly a cross-pollination of both.

Gillis, reporter for the newspaper The New York Times , He gets into some discussions about Boeing and the people influenced by Welch who came to lead Boeing, notably Jim McNerney and David Calhoun. But don’t expect Gillis’ book to delve into how Welch’s tutelage over McNerney and Calhoun affected Boeing. The discussion is superficial. This is, after all, a Welch-focused book.

damn picture

Gillis paints a compelling picture of how those CEOs who left GE to become CEOs of other companies are doing by destroying shareholder value (the motto of GE) in their new positions. Ironically, Gillis, for all his criticism of McNerney, points out that when it comes to shareholder value, McNerney has increased its value at Boeing unlike other Welsh’s.

Turn off the lights, On the other hand, Boeing is hardly mentioned, and McNerney is mentioned only in passing. Calhoun is mentioned only once. But the story of General Electric is more detailed in Turn off the lights What is stated in Giles’ book. This might be to be expected when you realize that the authors are business journalists for The Wall Street Journal, While Gelles’ work is for a general audience.

Gillis’ story is more personal about Welch, going back to his childhood and giving us a closer look at what his character looked like. It makes a good case about how boards of directors have not only looked for GE CEOs to run their companies, but other companies have emulated GE’s business model. Turn off the lights It is more than a company story.


Gillies writes about culture at General Electric and how it permeated other companies, including a superficial review of the influence on Boeing. Turn off the lights It doesn’t specifically make this connection, especially since Boeing is a metaphorical footnote. But by reading either or both of the books, GE’s cultural and business practices are so familiar to what appeared in Boeing that GE’s practices were first introduced by Harry Stonekefer, also a graduate of GE, beginning in 1997 and followed by McInerney and even later General Electric CEO Dennis Muilenburg. This is not a compliment.

A more detailed look at GE culture comes from an old book, Lessons from the TitansAnd the Co-author: Scott Davis, Director, Melius Research. Davis recounts how General Electric tried to fire him for writing a negative research note while he was working for Morgan Stanley. It’s something Boeing tried out in 2007 or 2008 with a new reporter for it International flight before he moved on because Boeing was upset by his earlier reports of the difficulties of developing the 787. The cultural similarities between General Electric and Boeing that are recounted in the three books are stark.

Turn off the lights And Welch’s book is well worth reading. Turn off the lights A little bit of toil. Gillies leaves you wanting more. it’s your choice.

air wars

my book, Air wars, global fight between Airbus and Boeing, It tells the story of 33 years of rivalry between the two rivals and the effect that has had on both John Leahy during the 33 years. The book is a semi-biography of Leahy and a follow-up of sorts to the 1982 book, sports game Which at that time was considered the final date of the competition between Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, Lockheed and Airbus, which at that time was only 12 years old.

air wars It is rated 4.5 out of five by readers on Amazon and 4.3 on Goodreads. The book was also ranked among the top 10 reads of 2021, including by the prestigious Royal Flying Society.

Royal Aeronautical Society

Named in Top 10 Space Books for Christmas Picks, 2021

Puget Sound Business Magazine

(Seattle area) #1 on the 2021 Space Books Christmas list.


#1 on her list of the best aerospace e-books to read in 2022.

Chris Sloan, Airchive

A worthy successor to ‘The Sporty Game’, the 1982 book by John Newhouse, which at the time was considered the definitive book about the competition between Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, and emerging Airbus.

Jim Sheehan, Aviation Industry Consultant

There is plenty of model and OEM information out there that is sure to become a must-read for anyone wanting to understand the past 50 years or so of commercial aviation.

I loved all the quotes and stories.

Dan Catchpole, aviation writer

Air Wars is a peek behind the veil of global competition between Boeing and Airbus and, in part, a biography of Airbus’ chief salesman, John Leahy, the man who forced Boeing’s hand to re-engine the 737. And journalist Scott Hamilton takes readers through the twists and turns of the… A decades-long battle between the two companies.

Dan Reed, aviation writer

Using John Leahy’s long and formidable career as a way to tell readers about the 51-year battle between Airbus and Boeing is an interesting and inspiring choice by the author.

air wars Available in paperback and e-book form Amazon And in a paperback in Company: Barnes & Noble.