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Beat The System: 11 Secrets to Building an Entrepreneurial Culture in a Bureaucratic World Hardcover – October 19, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (October 19, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470175494
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470175491
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,392,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Does bureaucratic inertia have your business locked in a losing status quo? Are you being held back by gray suits who won't allow innovation and creativity at work? Do you want to build a business that isn't slowed down by the concrete shoes of bureaucratic indecision or stifled by unimaginative groupthink? If so, maybe it's time to beat the system!

In this insurgent guide to business success, Robert MacDonald shows professionals, business leaders, and entrepreneurs how to smash the bureaucracy that smothers the innovative, entrepreneurial spirit essential to long-term business success. Whether you own a small business, run a large corporation, or work for someone else, Beat the System provides proven, real-world advice for building an entrepreneurial culture in your entire organization, your department, or even in your individual position.

When MacDonald founded LifeUSA, people thought he was a madman for trying to compete against giant, entrenched competition in the stagnant life insurance industry. But with a willingness to challenge the status quo and question the rules of the system, he grew LifeUSA into a hugely successful player in an industry that was actually shrinking at the time. Now, he shares the eleven entrepreneurial secrets he used to defeat bigger and stronger competitors.

We live in a bureaucratic world, but fighting the status quo is a business strategy that works. Beat the System outlines a proven plan for creating a business culture that creates, innovates, and moves fast enough to overtake even the most entrenched competition. Whether you're starting a new business or simply trying to advance your career, you really can succeed wildly if you have the right weapons to storm the battlements of bureaucracy.

Nobody said it would be easy; fighting the forces of darkness never is. But with these smart, entrepreneurial strategies, total unconditional victory will be yours—but only if you play by your own rules. Beat the System is a practical, worldly guide to developing your own entrepreneurial, revolutionary spirit and building that spirit into every brick of your organization.

It's time to take a stand and call out the agents of oppression: "Mr. Bureaucrat, tear down this wall!"

From the Back Cover

Praise for

Beat The System

"The equivalent of an MBA all in one great book! MacDonald's entrepreneurship provides intellectual energy to transform dreams into reality."
—Ken Dahlberg, entrepreneur extraordinaire and decorated World War II Flying Ace, founder, Dahlberg Hearing, Miracle Ear, and Carefree Capital, Inc.

"This is a gloves-off call to action, from America's most authoritative expert on the idea and action known as entrepreneurship. MacDonald not only knows what to do, he coaches and exhorts you to do it, and do it well!"
—John Klymshyn, bestselling author of The Ultimate Sales Managers' Guide and How to Sell Without Being a Jerk!

"MacDonald gives his readers permission to beat the system and then identifies what it takes to create that entrepreneurial culture, honestly, through creativity and innovation. His practical approach provides guidance for anyone looking to reinvent themselves."
—Sally J. Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc.

"If you've ever dreamed of owning your own business, or just breaking away from the corporate drones that surround you, MacDonald gives you the perfect road map. His eleven secrets come from his own experience as a successful entrepreneur in a bureaucratic world, so you know they work. A great read!"
—Warren Greshes, author of The Best Damn Sales Book Ever

"In America we are constantly bombarded by messages that say: This is the land of opportunity! Go for it! Live your dreams! And yet the system is designed to take the wind out of our sails and keep us stuck exactly where we are. In his terrific new book, MacDonald reveals how to take your job or your business exactly where you want it to go. If you ever feel like the system is keeping you down—buy this book and read it now!"
—Joe Calloway, author of Work Like You're Showing Off!

"Caution: Using the lessons from this book will turn your slow, unresponsive company into a nimble, focused, and ferocious competitor. MacDonald provides a hands-on guide for building a culture that delivers results year in and year out."
—Randy G. Pennington, author of Results Rule!


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Walter H. Bock on November 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
If you like books where successful entrepreneurs lay out their philosophy, then Beat the System: 11 Secrets to Building an Entrepreneurial Culture in a Bureaucratic World by Robert W. MacDonald will be an enjoyable read. If you're looking for the "secrets" promised in the title or if you're looking for some stunning new leadership insight, you'll be disappointed.

This book gives you one person's thoughts about based on how that person succeeded in one situation and industry. If you're in insurance, you will probably get more value from the book than a reader in manufacturing. But there's value for both of you. Success leaves clues and there are clues here.

The author's core belief is that entrepreneurship and bureaucracy are mortal enemies. He believes that entrepreneurship is a lifestyle. In that context, he lays out eleven principles for acting like an entrepreneur. He calls them "secrets."

Here are MacDonald's 11 Secrets

Build parallel interests.
Be an architect of the future.
Be decisive, multifaceted and ethical to a fault.
Know the risk--measure the reward.
Communication--be a shower and not a teller.
Power to the people.
Become a trust builder.
Sharing wealth increases wealth.
Be constant, consistent, and concise.
Treat important people like important people.
Do simple things--simply do them.

There's lots of good advice here. Most of it seems targeted to people who are working in large companies. There's specific advice, for example, about how to propose a daring action.

There are also "Bonus Secrets" that fill up later chapters. These will be especially valuable for you if you're starting up a business.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As I read this book, I was again reminded of a GE annual meeting during which Jack Welch explained why he admires entrepreneurial companies: "For one, they communicate better. Without the din and prattle of bureaucracy, people listen as well as talk; and since there are fewer of them they generally know and understand each other. Second, small companies move faster. They know the penalties for hesitation in the marketplace. Third, in small companies, with fewer layers and less camouflage, the leaders show up very clearly on the screen. Their performance and its impact are clear to everyone. And, finally, smaller companies waste less. They spend less time in endless reviews and approvals and politics and paper drills. They have fewer people; therefore they can only do the important things. Their people are free to direct their energy and attention toward the marketplace rather than fighting bureaucracy."

By implication, Welch describes the "system" to which the title of Robert MacDonald's book refers, one whose bureaucracy manifests what James O'Toole has aptly characterized as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom." Anyone who thinks it is easy to "beat" that system has underestimated the resistance that change initiatives inevitably encounter. For individuals as well as for organizations, MacDonald suggests that it is imperative "to recognize the system for what it is and how it seeks to control and limit your future."

He introduces and then devotes a separate chapter to each of eleven "secrets," none of which is a head-snapping revelation and all of which are best revealed within his narrative, in context.
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I Can relate with the issues covered in the book. Simple, practical examples (case studies). Invaluable "lessons" for modern day.
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