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Made To Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
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The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World with Kindness
iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It
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The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction
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My Forbidden Face by Latifa (Tragedy of women in Taliban's reign of terror)
Big Brands Big Trouble (Jack Trout studies common mistakes of big brands)
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My Pedagogic Creed (John Dewey's famous declaration concerning education)
Lexus and the Olive Tree (Anti-globalization is a search for the Sixties high)
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Against Method(Outline of an anarchistic theory of science)
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Rebel Code (A high-velocity chronicle of the open-source transformation taking place in the tech world)
The Attention Economy (An engrossing account of the human bandwidth deficiency facing employees in the internet economy)
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IBM and the Holocaust
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Tough Choices: A Memoir

By Carly Fiorina

In the end, the Board did not have the courage to face me. They did not thank me and they did not say good-bye. They did not explain their decision or their reasoning. They did not seek my opinion or my involvement in any aspect of the transition. Having asked me to come to Chicago for a meeting, they left me waiting in my hotel room for more than three hours. As I waited, I knew whatever came next would be a turning point. After I finally received the call to rejoin the meeting, I thought about each Board member as I rode the elevator down past those twenty four floors. I didn't know what to expect, but I assumed I would be facing them. I wasn't prepared for the empty conference room I entered. Only the two designated messengers and a lawyer remained in the room. The chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee said, "Carly, the Board has decided to make a change at the top. I'm very sorry." I knew he had opposed my ouster. And then the new chairman said they wanted my help in "positioning" the news. She said they thought I should describe this as my decision: I should say I thought it was "time to move on." I asked when they wanted to make the announcement. "Right away."

The meeting lasted less than three minutes. I asked for a few hours to think and I left the room.

I believe the truth is always the best answer, whatever the consequences. Less than two hours later I sent a message to the new chairman saying we should tell the truth: the Board had fired me. When the announcement was made, I simply said, "While I regret that the Board and I had differences over the execution of the strategy, I respect their decision. HP is a great company and I wish the people of HP all the best."

I had always known I might lose my job. I was playing a high-stakes game with powerful people and powerful interests, but I had not expected the end to come in this way. I knew we were on the verge of reaping tremendous benefits from all our hard work, and I thought the Board knew this too. I wanted so much to be able to gather my team one last time and tell them how proud I was of all we had accomplished together. My heart ached that I was not give an opportunity to say good-bye to the people of HP, whom I had grown to love.

I knew the announcement would be big news. I was a woman, and a bold one at that, and things had always been different for me. All the criticisms that had ever been leveled against me would be recycled and thrown back in my face with new delight: "She's too flashy." "She's just marketing fluff." "She's too controlling." "She's a publicity hound." "The merger was her idea and it was the wrong thing to do." "She's imperious, vindictive and employees didn't like her." The coverage would go on and on, and the critiques would not be balanced against the facts or my contributions or the positive changes that had been made. It would be ugly and it would be personal.

I knew all this as I steeled myself for the public announcement on February 9, 2005. The reality of the coverage was even worse than I had imagined. It hurt me, but it hurt my family and friends more. I felt lonely, but no lonelier than I'd felt for the past six years. I was deeply sad that fellow Board members I had known and trusted would not pay me the simple respect of looking me in the eye and telling me the truth. I felt betrayed when I considered that some Board members, having spoken outside the boardroom, had broken their duty of confidence to one another and to me.

I felt all these things, but after a lifetime of fears I was not afraid. I had done what I thought was right. I had given everything I had to something I believed in. I had made mistakes, but I had made a difference. I was at peace with my choices and their consequences. My soul was still my own.

About the Author

Cara Carleton "Carly" Fiorina (born Cara Carleton Sneed; September 6, 1954 in Austin, Texas) is an American business executive, best known as former CEO and Chairman of the Board of Hewlett-Packard (HP). As HP's performance slowed, the Board of Directors became increasingly concerned. In early January 2005, the HP Board of Directors presented Fiorina with a four-page list of issues the board had with Fiorina's performanceA week after the meeting, the plan was leaked to the Wall Street Journal. The board proposed a plan to shift her authority to HP division heads, which Fiorina resisted.

On 9 February 2005, Carly Fiorina was dismissed as chairman and chief executive officer of HP.

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