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 / Fourth Quarter 1996 / Issue 5(originally published by Booz & Company)


"Corporate Comeback: The Story of Renewal and Transformation at National Semiconductor" by Robert H. Miles

According to Mr. Miles, it took National two years to move from being a "troubled company to a viable one." It almost surely did not go as smoothly as Mr. Miles recounts it in "Corporate Comeback." Like preachers who don't let their knowledge that people can fall from grace intrude on their faith, consultants with the vision thing like — and probably need — to keep their eyes trained on ideals and the arc of progress rather than on the petty gore of day-by-day change.

National found itself Mr. Amelio, a visionary who could inspire others to "walk the talk" of transformation, and Mr. Amelio brought in consultants like Mr. Miles, who could help teach the troops how to walk the talk. O.K., maybe the story of how they did that is a tiny bit riveting. In any case, it's well worth the read.

Barbara Presley Noble, the former At Work and Business Book Review columnist for The New York Times, has an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University and was a Knight-Bagehot fellow in business and economic journalism at Columbia.
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