The Naked CEO

I must admit, I found opening up to nine pages of promotional blurbs from a disparate array of luminaries including Jeffrey Archer and Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton, off-putting. Get over it, was my second thought, and read the god-damned book.

Alex Malley, author of The Naked CEO, might rank among the world's more virulent self-promoters but, he might have something to offer that's worth reading. He might even hit upon something that hasn't been said before in the 101 or more self-improvement books that have intruded upon my time over too many years in business-related journalism.

Malley is the CEO of CPA Australia. He's also, according to the book's promotion material, an award winning educator, the host of Australia's Nine Network's television programme The Bottom Line, a parent of seven and a LinkedIn Influencer – whatever that means. His book contains, according to its sub-title, “the truth you need to build a big life”. Hmmm!

The Naked CEO is 216 pages of homilies designed to provide instant, quick and easy-to-access career advice and encouragement, particularly to aspiring young executives yet to rub up against life's organisational realities. As the book's promotion material also suggests, this is a “graduation gift idea for parents”. This being the target audience, the title seems a tad misleading.

Don't get me wrong. There's some sound advice here, particularly for younger members of management ranks. Malley draws on his many years as an obviously successful teacher. He isn't one any more – he's now a CEO. But, he writes, “you never stop being a teacher”. It's a leader's core responsibility to teach, he adds, and he's right about that.

The book – packaged in five parts entitled Dare to dream; Create your own universe; It's all about people; Be the best person you can be; The leadership track – is designed as a career guide for young professionals. It's comprehensive in its coverage of most aspects of the management journey. There will, I suspect, be a few more-seasoned execs who'll dip in for a dose of easy-to-read reminders of how and why they got to be, as Reginald Perrin might say, where they are today. I've no doubt they will find them.



  • Reviewed by Reg Birchfield; writer on management, leadership and governance. [email protected]


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