The Controversial “Train Whisperer” Who Turned Around Four North American Railroads

August 23, 2018

“A riveting, up-close profile of one of the most successful and controversial CEOs of the modern era. Railroader is a master class in sharp-elbowed management in a fabled industry. Part hard ass, part mentor, part preacher, Hunter Harrison goes from one railroad to another to another to another, turning them all around and creating conflict everywhere he went. You won’t be able to put this book down.”—Ali Velshi, Anchor, MSNBC and Business Correspondent, NBC News

Hunter Harrison revolutionized the rail industry and dramatically turned four publicly traded companies into cash machines. Starting as a laborer in the train yards of Memphis when he was a wayward teenager, Harrison rose through the ranks to run Illinois Central, Canadian National, Canadian Pacific, and CSX. Never accepting the status quo, Harrison not only renovated established railroads, he also forced an industry to shape up. As the preeminent proponent of Precision Scheduled Railroading, Harrison created approximately $50 billion in shareholder value. The four-time CEO—a rare feat in any industry—was intimidating, took no bullshit, and was not afraid to make enemies. At the same time, he was charming, a talent scout and coach to thousands, and a devoted father and husband.

Veteran broadcast journalist Howard Green dives into the life of this exceptional CEO in all of his contradictions, in his highly anticipated book to be released this fall, Railroader: The Unfiltered Genius and Controversy of Four-Time CEO Hunter Harrison. Green’s distinctly personal biography is deeply researched and based on conversations with Harrison over several years. It includes candid stories from Harrison’s family and colleagues—those who admired him and those who criticized him. Green’s access and decades of experience give him the unparalleled ability to tell the story of this uncompromising leader who both inspired and infuriated.

Railroader presents both a fascinating business story with global resonance and a very personal tale of a life fully lived in a ‘no-holds barred’ fashion to the very end. It is a brilliant profile of an enigmatic, somewhat obsessed, railroad mercenary, who turned his industry on its head, with new benchmarks for future generations of leaders. Lots of juicy learnings throughout.”
—Calin Rovinescu, president & CEO, Air Canada

Howard Green was a broadcast journalist for thirty-three years, best known as the founding anchor at Canada’s Business News Network, where he hosted the flagship interview program, Headline with Howard Green. During his almost fifteen years at BNN, he conducted more than 14,000 interviews, many with leading CEOs and the biggest names in business and politics including Sir Richard Branson and Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan. Green also spent eighteen years as a correspondent, producer, and director for a variety of networks, including the CBC and PBS, and was a two-time Emmy nominee and winner of Canada’s top television prize for his documentary work. In 2013, Green became a bestselling author with the release of his first book, Banking on America: How TD Bank Rose to the Top and Took on the USA. His second title, Distilled: A Memoir of Family, Seagram, Baseball and Philanthropy, co-authored with Charles Bronfman, was also an instant Globe and Mail and Toronto Star bestseller and finalist for the National Business Book Award. Howard Green lives in Toronto.

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