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It's All About Who You Hire, How They Lead...and Other Essential Advice from a Self-Made Leader

ISBN: 978-1-118-37988-2
224 pages
November 2012, Jossey-Bass


American business leader, entrepreneur, and noted philanthropist Morton Mandel shares lessons he gleaned from co-founding and leading, along with his brothers Jack and Joe, Premier Industrial Corporation, a major industrial parts and electronic components manufacturer and distributor. Now for readers everywhere who are interested in studying leadership development, It’s All About Who describes Mandel’s approach to finding, recruiting and cultivating “A” players.

In his book, Mandel shares his fine-tuned set of practices to develop leaders that have proven to deliver dramatically better results. Containing sixteen core sections, “It’s All About Who” covers key strategic topics from “Building a Rich, Deep, and Ethical Culture” to “Killing Yourself for Your Customer” to “Using Business Ideas in the Social Sector.”

What makes Mandel unique is his selflessness in pursuing a life of purpose. Mandel has lived in two worlds: the world of profit and the world of social impact. Even as chairman and CEO of a New York Stock Exchange company for more than three decades, he spent as much as a third of his time in the social sector.

Mandel has personally founded more than a dozen non-profit organizations. His deep-seated passion is evident in the mission of his Foundation:  “To invest in people with the values, ability and passion to change the world.” 

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Table of Contents

Editor's note by Warren Bennis xiii

Foreword by John A. Byrne xv

Prologue xxi

1 It's All About Who 1

2 The ABC's of People 11

3 Building a Rich, Deep, and Ethical Culture 21

4 What Happens When You Ignore Culture, People, and Values 33

5 What I Learned from Peter Drucker 51

6 Killing Yourself for Your Customer 69

7 Principles Make a Difference 79

8 Factbooks: Key to Personal Discipline 89

9 Why We Swung Our Acquisitions Bat to Hit Singles, Not Home Runs 95

10 Lighting Candles 103

11 A Gospel of Wealth 115

12 Using Business Ideas in the Social Sector 121

13 An Olive Tree 129

14 Yes, I Can! 137

15 Some Beacons to Steer By 147

16 If I Could Do It Over Again . . . 157

Appendix 163

Acknowledgments 173

The authors 179

Index 181

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Author Information

Morton Mandel is a self-made billionaire, entrepreneur and philanthropist. With his brothers, Jack and Joseph, he cofounded Premier Industrial Corporation in 1940, eventually merging it with Farnell Electronics in a $3 billion transaction. The brothers established the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation, which funds numerous social leadership initiatives all over the world.

Mort was named by Peter Drucker as one of three impressive CEOs alongside Jack Welch and Andy Grove.  He learned how to start and build enduring institutions from the ground up.  His financial success and passion allowed him to partner with non-profits of all kinds with a laser-like focus on developing professional leadership, able to truly transform people’s lives. He has personally founded more than a dozen non-profit organizations.  His deep-seated passion is evident in the mission of his Foundation:  “To invest in people with the values, ability, and passion to change the world.” 

Mort has fine-tuned a set of practices that have been proven to deliver dramatically better results.  In his book, It’s All About Who…, he shows how important it is to find, recruit, and cultivate “A” players for leadership roles.  This can lead to better strategies, better execution, and greater client satisfaction.  Further, he believes that personal values matter – honesty, decency, respect, and generosity are essential elements in a life worth living.

John A. Byrne, the former executive editor of BusinessWeek and editor in chief of Fast Company magazine, is the author or coauthor of ten other business books, including two New York Times best sellers. With legendary General Electric Co. CEO Jack Welch, he wrote Jack: Straight from the Gut, one of the most successful business books in history.

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Press Release

November 29, 2012
Hiring New Talent in 2013? Don’t Settle!

When companies have the right people, something magical happens. Smart strategy, strong culture and perfect execution tend to follow. While most people know this instinctively, they do not make the commitment needed to build a team with only the best people. Whether it’s a need to fill a position quickly or an unwillingness to pay up for the best talent, many companies end up settling. What remains are many B or even C level players in so many important positions.

Mort Mandel, a CEO whom Peter Drucker esteemed in the same category as Jack Welch and Andy Grove, has spent the past seven decades mixing business and philanthropy, to the great enhancement of both. In his new book by himself and John Byrne:  It’s All About Who You Hire, How They Lead…and Other Essential Advice from a Self-Made Leader(Jossey-Bass; 978-1-118-37988-2; December 2012), the authors show how leaders can create lives of both meaning and profitability. This seminal book:  

  • Contains Mort Mandel's fascinating story (including his work with Peter Drucker, and the painful sale of Mandel's company) 
  • Provides both inspiration and lessons on the leadership skills such as building culture, customer relationships and execution that are necessary to achieve crossover success
  • Shows how running a business and a nonprofit made Mandel a better entrepreneur and a self-made billionaire

It’s All About Who You Hire, How They Lead…and Other Essential Advice from a Self-Made Leaderis filled with lessons learned from how Mort Mandel built a $3 billion company from scratch, yet also managed to spend up to a third of his time in the social sector, building and supporting nonprofit organizations.


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