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*A Book Review*

The HP Way

By David Packard

by Michael C. Gray

© 2001 by Michael C. Gray

January 26, 2001


With the passing of Bill Hewlett last week, I think it's appropriate to recommend that you read this book.

Many business observers, including Tom Peters, have paid tribute to and described the company "Bill and Dave" built, but here you have their story from "the horse's mouth."

These two partners became "giants" by being real people, unconsumed by their accomplishments and unspoiled by their wealth. They provided a wonderful example about how to do business as a responsible adult, and provided the cornerstone for the high technology industry in Silicon Valley.

Their company environment is a collegial one. Employees are valued and treated with respect and dignity - treated like partners instead of subordinates. When the company faces a difficult time, the "team" faces it together. Instead of layoffs, everyone takes a cut in pay and hours. Employees are encouraged to think and contribute new ideas for new products and corporate improvements.

Hewlett Packard is proud of a tradition of listening to customers to bring useful new products to the marketplace.

Bill and Dave also encouraged a tradition of community service by HP employees, and gave examples through their own service and generosity. David Packard served as deputy Secretary of Defense in 1969, 1970 and 1971. He was also on the Board of Trustees of Stanford University for many years. He was instrumental in forming the Community Foundation of San Jose and a founder of the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Both Bill Hewlett and David Packard left substantial portions of their fortunes to charitable foundations that continue contributing to our community today.

With all of their activities, Bill and Dave had rewarding personal lives and enjoyed outdoor activities, including hunting, fishing, and ranching.

Years ago, I was putting together a personal development program for the San Jose Junior Chamber of Commerce. I invited David Packard to speak to our group. I was impressed that he took the time to write back and express his regrets and decline. My former partner invited him to an estate planning seminar and he again took the time to write a response.

Bill Hewlett and David Packard left a giant mark with their innovations, decency, humanity, and concern for others. Read about it in The HP Way. Then "Go and do likewise."

Buy it on Amazon: The HP Way: How Bill Hewlett and I Built Our Company (Collins Business Essentials).

For our new reviews of business and self-improvement books, subscribe to our newsletter, Michael Gray, CPA's Tax & Business Insight!

Get Hewlett Packard's business philosophy straight from the horse's mouth in this book by David Packard.


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Michael Gray, CPA
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San Jose, California 95128
(408) 918-3162
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