Tuesday, January 24, 2006


I think I met a few people like Eugene O'Kelley back when I practiced in big firm public accounting. I neither understood nor liked them. They were people who went from staff accountant to partner in six or seven years, after, say, landing two or three Fortune 500 accounts. They didn't spend weeks of their life in futile boredom working for an inept or evil senior accountant. They skipped all of their vacations, were always at the office, but never seemed unable to cope at any level. They were rare, and the rest of us in the field offices only saw them flash by on their way to fame and fortune in New York and Washington.

It's a demanding life:

I worked all the time. I worked weekends. I worked late into many nights. I missed virtually every school function for my younger daughter. My annual travel schedule averaged, conservatively, 150,000 miles. For the first 10 years of my marriage, when I was climbing the ladder at KPMG, Corinne and I rarely went on vacation. After that, vacations were mostlly rolled into the corporate outings I was required to attend... Over the course of my last decade with the firm, I did manage to squeeze in workday lunches with my wife.


His calendar is full for the next eighteen months.

And then he finds out that it all ends in 100 days.

The book starts: "I was blessed. I was told I have three months to live."

After the first two chapters, it looks like O'Kelley tried to apply the focused, can-do attitude he applied to his career to his final months. I look forward to seeing what he learned and how he coped with going from being a master of the universe to a man facing the abyss.

(I am reading a review copy of "Chasing Daylight" by Eugene O'Kelley, the late CEO of KPMG. I am posting my impressions as I read. My initial post is here.)

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