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Learning from the Links: Mastering Management Using Lessons from Golf Hardcover – June 15, 2002


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Golf is often viewed as a perfect metaphor for life, but management strategist and lifelong devotee David Hurst sees an even more profound connection to business. In Learning from the Links, he explores the relationship to explain how a real understanding of the game can ultimately prove beneficial in the workplace. With a true disciple's grasp of the physical and mental intricacies involved in playing any round, and an experienced consultant's eye toward the physical and mental intricacies involved in leading any corporation, Hurst offers a unique look at the "complex systems" in both activities and the consequences of adapting knowledge from one to improve performance in the other. "Golf," he writes, "is a replica of the systemic way in which we may exercise control over the trajectories of our own lives as well as those of our organizations." In 18 chapters designed to roughly mirror the play on a regulation course, he lays out a provocative theory for turning this notion into action with the help of graphic anecdotes from golf, germane examples from business, and compelling findings from experts in such disparate fields as homeostasis and artificial intelligence. Perhaps only a passionate golfer can really appreciate his evocative descriptions of holes like the spectacular par-4 18th at Harbor Town on Hilton Head, but anyone should find it worth the time to spend a round pondering Hurst's thoughtful concepts and their implications. --Howard Rothman

From Publishers Weekly

The Free Press is onto something. Earlier this month, it published Management Lessons from the ER, drawing a correlation between business and medical decisions. Now comes a book about the connection between management and golf. Speaker and consultant Hurst presents a dense yet informative guide to bridging the gap between ideas and action. Observing golf and management as complex systems, he demonstrates how performances in both activities can decline suddenly, and that, when seeking a solution, managers and golfers shouldn't settle for a "one swing fits all" approach. Rather, they should pay attention to detail, hone technique through disciplined practice and experiment with multiple ways of achieving acceptable outcomes. Heavy on theory, Hurst's book will appeal to a serious readership.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1st edition (June 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684865017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684865010
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,780,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David K. Hurst a speaker, educator and writer on management. As a reflective practitioner, he has a unique niche in the field. He spent twenty-five years working in corporations in several countries in a series of organizational "train wrecks" as the Western World began its radical transition from the industrial era to the age of knowledge and information. He extracted from his experience some highly innovative ideas about leadership, the management of change and the dynamics of organizations that promote creativity and learning.

He has honed these ideas for twenty years as an educator to managers and organizations around the globe. The New Ecology of Leadership: Business Mastery in a Chaotic World is his most ambitious and comprehensive book to date. It is a successor to Crisis & Renewal: Meeting the Challenge of Organizational Change.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Roderick White on June 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
What do golf and management have in common? David Hurst in his latest book identifies the similarities between these 2 complex dynamic systems. Those who have read Hurst first book, Crisis & Renewal, will detect a common theme. That book described the parallels between the life cycles of natural ecosystems and those of organizations. Both books make systems thinking accessible to managers by employing analogues: ecology in the first book and golf in this latest effort. Since more managers are golfers than amateur ecologists Learning from the Links will no doubt have a broader appeal.
Hurst mission is to make complex systems theory (a close relative of chaos theory) accessible to managers; accessible in ways that affect their thinking and their actions. This is no small task. One can easily fall into the trap of being overly theoretical and academic, or going to the other extreme and dumbing-down the theory so much that its insights and relevance are lost. Hurst does neither. He uses the golf analogy to very effectively draw out actionable insights from complex systems theory for managers. Stories relating the experiences of golfers and managers are used to illustrate the points, but the book is not a series of anecdotes. The stories are artfully crafted to convey the messages in the underlying theory while at the same time making the book an enjoyable read.
Should managers who are not golfers read this book? Being an unaccomplished golfer I think not. The golf analogy is a core element and allows the reader to related, at a visceral level, to the messages in the book. The possible exception would be prospective readers who are not golfers but have an abiding interest in systems theory. Those looking for simplistic solutions to complex problems will not find them in this book. It is for the serious reader who wants a richer appreciation of the systemic relationships that result in exceptional performance, both on the golf course and in business.
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