Drama or dramamine?

Harvey Schachter, the Globe and Mail reviewer, started off talking about my book in a positive way, calling it “well-researched and intelligent” but then veered elsewhere saying it lacked drama.

Fortunately, other commentators have praised the book. Joe Martin, Director of Canadian Business History at the Rotman School, has said the chapter on succession “is the best I have ever seen on corporate succession in a Canadian context.” Tom D’Aquino, CEO of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, said: “This work makes for an important addition to business history in Canada.”

As for drama, I would have thought the first-time telling of Manulife’s failed attempt to merge with CIBC would have satisfied Mr. Schachter. Or the inside details on Dominic D’Alessandro’s valiant efforts last fall to arouse Ottawa’s interest in his plight during the global meltdown. The descriptions of D’Alessandro by his own colleagues (one of them called him “scary”) should have intrigued any reviewer. They certainly were the most honest comments about a CEO I’ve ever heard and recorded in my twelve books over twenty-five years.

But reviewers are a breed apart. They like, they don’t like. Who can predict? Even after all these years, not I.

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