In many circles, the book was anxiously awaited. It was anxiously awaited by Tom, too. He assumed the book would be a hatchet job—and that one of the hatchets would be imbedded in his back.
He need not have worried. The book: The Firm: The Story of McKinsey and Its Secret Influence on American Business, by Duff McDonald. It produces as many positives about McKinsey as negatives. But Tom and In Search of Excellence are treated in glowing terms. "I was stunned," he told us. There are numerous references to Tom and Bob Waterman, but the brief excerpt below is indicative:
"Though his tenure was relatively short and he left under contentious circumstances, Peters is the most famous consultant McKinsey has ever produced. His influence on the firm was enormous and helped raise its profile beyond Bower's wildest dreams. ... Peters helped rebrand McKinsey as a group of thinkers, while at the same time revealing some less-than-great qualities of McKinsey, such as its utter incapacity to deal with a star in its midst."