A corporate “clean-up” consultant tells the story of his colorful career.
In his nonfiction debut, self-described “operational turnaround expert” Aversa recounts his experiences during the darkest days of companies in crisis. He initially offers a thumbnail sketch of his life as the child of Italian immigrants in Canada and, specifically, of his time as an exchange student in Soviet-era Moscow. However, the majority of his book is taken up by an account of the many times that he’s consulted for companies that were out of money, overwhelmed, and unsure of which way to turn; he also holds forth on the broader lessons that he learned from those encounters. As such, Aversa’s book effectively serves as a forensic manual on why companies fail. Such failures, he writes, are never dramatic, overnight developments; they’re always the result of a series of poor decisions over time: suppliers who continue to ship products even though payments are late; bankers who renew credit lines even though a client’s numbers are weak; lawyers and accountants who soft-pedal advice in order to retain clients; and managers who convince themselves that things will simply somehow get better despite setbacks. By the time Aversa gets a call, he says, a situation “can be anything from a fever-pitched brawl over shrinking assets to a stale pile of waste.” The author’s reflections on these imperiled companies are uniformly engaging, and his vast experience in his field lends his straight-talking lessons extra weight. “You’re not that smart. Get an independent assessment,” he warns in one such lesson. “If you’re facing trouble for an extended period of time, it’s probably a result of your leadership decisions.” Business managers and owners are likely to find this sort of tough advice invaluable, and in his book, he lays out some of his best advice to them.
An immensely readable account by a man whom companies call when all else fails.
Link to Kirkus Reviews: here.