“I had the privilege of working closely with Marvin and McKinsey for many years. This book makes Marvin come to life and perpetuates him as a role model.” –Peter Drucker

McKinsey's Marvin Bower

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Vision, Leadership & the Creation of Management Consulting

Here is the authoritative and untold story of Marvin Bower, the visionary who transformed McKinsey from a fledgling accounting and engineering practice into the world’s premier management consulting firm. In the process, he became recognized as the father of management consulting. The biography of Marvin Bower, a leader's leader, provides lessons as valuable today as they were in 1933 when he first joined James O. McKinsey.

Elizabeth Haas Edersheim’s McKinsey’s Marvin Bower reveals the insight, integrity, and business acumen of the “grey eminence” who led McKinsey, inspired hundreds of leaders, and was one of the century’s most successful entrepreneurs. This book takes the reader on a fascinating journey which details Marvin Bower’s personal beliefs, foresight, and professional involvement in virtually every major change in the scope and fabric of 20th century business. Outspoken yet humble, visionary yet practical, Bower built an institution – McKinsey & Co. – equipped and designed to provide critical advice to top business and government leaders.

Woven throughout the book are anecdotes shared by the legion of business titans he influenced, among them Thomas Watson, Lou Gerstner, and David Ogilvy. These and other examples illustrate how Marvin Bower:

  • helped senior management teams create unique cultures and organize their companies for growth
  • placed the interests of clients before the firm itself
  • pioneered a business culture that elevated the personal and corporate values of integrity, and respect above all else
  • lived his belief that every business leader has a responsibility to help increase the strength and character-building contributions of our private-enterprise system, and contribute to their communities
  • elevated the standing of business schools as a primary recruiting ground for business.

Publisher: Wiley
Publication Date: April 2004
ISBN: 0-471-652857


About the author:

Elizabeth Haas Edersheim spent two years working with Marvin Bower on his biography and memoirs. Interviewing more than 100 colleagues, clients, family members, and friends, she completed the manuscript shortly before his death in January 2003.

From 1979 through 1988, she was with McKinsey where she became one of the first female partners and had the privilege of working with Marvin Bower. She founded and spent the next 13 years with New York Consulting Partners. She holds a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and has provided expert testimony to Congress in the areas of industrial policy, labor policy, and small business networks.