Joe Wilson and the Creation of Xerox

Joe Wilson and the Creation of Xerox


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"Charley Ellis has written a magnificent portrait, capturing the indomitable spirit of Joe Wilson and his instinctive understanding of the need for and commercial usefulness of a transforming imaging technology. Joe Wilson and his extraordinary team, which I had the good fortune to first meet in 1960, epitomized the wonderful observation of George Bernard Shaw who said, 'Some look at things that are, and ask why' I dream of things that never were and ask why not?'

Xerox and xerography are not only a part of our vocabulary, but part of our everyday life. Charley Ellis gives the reader a poignant understanding of just how this happened through the life, adventures, critical business decisions, and dreams of Joseph Wilson and a cadre of remarkable individuals.

This book will surely join the library of memorable biographies that capture the building of America into a risk-tolerant, technologically sophisticated, idea-oriented society that thrives by understanding what Charles Darwin really said:

'Survival will be neither to the strongest of the species, nor to the most intelligent, but to those most adaptable to change.'"
—Frederick Frank, Vice Chairman, Lehman Brothers Inc.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780471998358
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 09/01/2006
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 6.32(w) x 9.32(h) x 1.42(d)

About the Author

CHARLES D. ELLIS is a recognized expert on business management. For thirty years, he was managing partner of Greenwich Associates, the leading worldwide strategy consultant to the financial services industry, which he founded and where he developed close working relationships with senior executives at most of the major investment firms in North America, Asia, and Europe. His other activities include teaching the Investment Management course at both Yale School of Management and Harvard Business School; chairing CFA Institute, the investment professionals' organization; serving as a Director of Vanguard; advising some of the world's largest investing institutions; and chairing the investment committees at the Whitehead Institute and Yale University. He is one of ten individuals recognized by the investment profession for lifetime leadership. Among his eleven prior books is Capital: The Story of Long-Term Investment Excellence (Wiley).

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Table of Contents

by Anne M. Mulcahy, Chairman and CEO of Xerox Corporation ix

by Joel Podolny, Dean, Yale School of Management xv

1 Early Years 1

2 Peggy 13

3 The Thirties 19

4 Years of Struggle 29

5 Chet Carlson 39

6 Battelle 51

7 Contact—Just Barely 57

8 Sol Linowitz 67

9 Toward Xerox 79

10 The University 97

11 Worst of Times, Best of Times 111

12 Joe Wilson 131

13 IBM, RCA, and GE 135

14 Gathering Strength in Finance 147

15 Building the Organization 157

16 Going International 177

17 Going It Alone 191

18 5¢ 199

19 The 914 209

20 Go! 225

21 Getting on Message 239

22 Xerox: Zoom-Zoom 259

23 Fuji-Xerox 267

24 Challenges of Success 275

25 Minister Florence 289

26 LIFE 301

27 Public Service 315

28 Winding Down 325

29 No Longer CEO 337

30 At the Rockefellers’ 353

Afterword 359

Joe Wilson: In His Own Words 371

Acknowledgments 377

Index 381

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"If you run a business and aspire to make it great, you owe it to yourself to read Joe Wilson and the Creation of Xerox by Charles D. Ellis ($28, John Wiley & Sons, 2006) . . . . the book rewards the reader with dramatic accounts of how one great leader managed to influence change rather than just react to it . . . The author, Charley Ellis, is retired head of the consulting firm Greenwich Associates and serves as a Yale trustee and a director of the Vanguard funds. He knows a lot about business leadership, having consulted for and worked with many of the best practitioners. Among all of the business leaders he's known, and he's known hundreds, he puts Joe Wilson—whom he never met—over them all. The lessons here are clear and shining—both the good and the bad."
—James Michaels, Forbes

"When the creator of Xerox described the inventor of xerography as an "unreasonable man," he meant it as a compliment of the highest order. Business-management consultant and investment-management professor Charles D. Ellis notes that, after inventor Chester Carlson's death in 1968, Joe Wilson regularly lauded Carlson for his vital contributions to xerography and Xerox. Once, writes Ellis, Wilson alluded to an observation by George Bernard Shaw: "All progress depends on the unreasonable man... because reasonable men accept the world as it is, while unreasonable men persist in adapting the world to them. Chester Carlson was splendidly unreasonable." Readers of this splendid biography will come away convinced that Wilson was even more unreasonable, in that positive sense, than Carlson. The unreasonable Carlson pursued the idea of "electrophotography" for decades, despite setbacks and discouragement from the scientific and business worlds. But, as Ellis makes clear, it was the even more unreasonable Wilson who took the risks with Carlson's idea that ultimately paid off in Xerox Corp."
—Cecil Johnson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

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Joe Wilson and the Creation of Xerox 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This notable biography recounts the remarkable story of Joe Wilson, a shy entrepreneur who overcame tremendous technological and business challenges to develop an entirely new photographic process and create the Xerox Corporation. Wilson was a powerful but quiet leader who motivated employees, family members, business associates and his community to achieve the impossible. Charles D. Ellis presents a comprehensive portrait of the man and his times, highlighting the roles of luck and perseverance. He tells how Wilson built a revolutionary machine even before he had a market and, in that process, pioneered a new technology and transformed his grandfather¿s small company into Xerox. The story is slow at times, but we highly recommend Ellis's inspirational business profile to those who enjoy stories of legendary business leaders and the companies they built.