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New HP chief's way with words

Turnaround wizard also writes business management books...if you're into that kind of thing.

Hewlett-Packard may have tapped Mark Hurd as its new chief executive for the turnaround he led at NCR, but that's just one of the man's talents. He also writes business management books. Hurd's book

Hurd, who resigned from NCR on Tuesday to fill HP's top post, is co-author of "The Value Factor: How Global Leaders Use Information for Growth and Competitive Advantage," along with NCR Chairman Lars Nyberg. The subject of the slim 127-page volume, published last year by Bloomberg Press, is "how companies transform information into a competitive asset," according to the book's synopsis.

With chapters like "Supplier, Partner and Operational Logistics" and "Risk Management," the book would probably put the average reader straight to sleep. Even for corporate types, its advice--"Envision the future of your industry and get there first"--is on the dry side.

"It's a book of staggering blandness, but in fairness, no more than thousands like it: the CEO's management manual," notes The Register in a review of the book.

If Hurd's personality turns out to lack sizzle, too, it may be just what HP ordered. The company is looking for calm, steady leadership after the tumultous reign of former CEO Carly Fiorina. HP ousted her earlier this year after her contentious merger with Compaq Computer proved a disappointment.

Throughout their book, Hurd and Nyberg applaud HP rival Dell for its efficient, customer-centric business model, noting, "Dell's business model shows us where we need to be if we want to stay competitive."

The book makes no mention of HP, but does highlight several other technology companies including Belgium's Belgacom, SBC Communications and Sabre Holdings' Travelocity--all customers of Teradata, the data warehousing unit of NCR.