Well, this little tell-all could be quite the read. The book Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo, out Jan. 6, reveals quite a bit about the CEO’s decision-making and management styles, including her refusal to hire Gwyneth Paltrow because she didn’t have a college degree.
The New York Times has published a long sneak peek from the book earlier this week, including this gem:
Even though the actress Gwyneth Paltrow had created a best-selling cookbook and popular lifestyle blog, Mayer, who habitually asked deputies where they attended college, balked at hiring her as a contributing editor for Yahoo Food. According to one executive, Mayer disapproved of the fact that Paltrow did not graduate college.
As Business Insider‘s chief correspondent and the book’s author Nicholas Carlson points out: “When it comes to making technology products, Mayer is obsessed with using data and metrics to back up her decisions. But when it comes to staffing up Yahoo’s various media properties, she tends to go with her gut.”
Mayer’s gut, as Carlson goes on to report, has included rejecting Paltrow, who heads a successful lifestyle website at Goop, authors cookbooks and more, to signing on Katie Couric for an expensive web series that almost no one watches.
Despite Couric’s star power, users didn’t click on her videos, no matter how prominently editors positioned them on the page. Mayer ignored those metrics, and in mid-2013, she named Couric Yahoo’s “global anchor” in a deal worth more than $5 million a year.
The New York Times piece is not very flattering or optimistic about Yahoo’s future, beginning with one successful hedge-fund manager and Forbes blogger Eric Jackson arguing in his post “that Yahoo no longer made sense as an independent entity. Instead, it might be a nice takeover target for one of the tech industry’s Big Four: Apple, Facebook, Amazon or Google.”