In Their Time, written by Harvard Business School professor Anthony Mayo and Nitin Nohria, is a book about American business leaders of the last century. Professors Mayo and Nohria recognize three different types of leaders: entrepreneurs (create new businesses), managers (expert at taking advantage of every opportunity), and leaders (reinvent industries and see new opportunities in them). They discuss how these three types of business leaders exceled in their ability to seize opportunities that existed in their time. The book recognizes not only well known leaders of our time like Sam Walton and Jack Welch, but many lesser known leaders who were important in their day and age.
What I like about the book is its acknowledgement of “contextual intelligence”, the ability to make sense of the unique context in which we live and to create or discover new business opportunities based on that understanding. Professors Mayo and Nohria assert that this contextual intelligence distinguishes great business leaders from also-rans. The book is organized by decades beginning in the 1900 through the end of the century, presenting a fascinating history of the last 100 years from a business perspective.